Interviews,  United States of America

General Comments on my Visit to Him in a Correctional Facility

General observations

  • Visiting Him, we had to sign up 30 min before the visiting time slot. We got in the queue 2 minutes before the cut off with one person in front of us. By the time we were in front of the officer, it was 1 minute after the cut-off. We were denied and had to wait another hour until the next slot.
  • Once we were signed in, the same happened to two women. One arrived exactly on time and the other arrived 4 minutes late.
  • Four other people went in at the same time as we did. All were women of colour.
  • They had a very extensive list of clothing restrictions (including ripped jeans, skirts exceeding 2 inches above the knee, shorts, hooded clothing, open toed shoes, tank tops)
  • Underlined for me the impact on the family and especially on women.
  • Just thought about the pressure put on women who must work to support the family and the inmate both financially and emotionally. They also have to come visit while still working and taking care of kids. All of this while being subject to many external factors can cost them several hours of their day just by making them a minute late. No leniency for the family either.
  • Glass between us and Him during the conversation.
  • Had to put our belongings in a locker which cost 25 cents.

His experience
    • Lights are on all night; they are dimmed just a tiny bit for ‘lights off’. It throws off “our” natural clock.
    • There are 5 mandatory hours in cell per day. They are separated into slots of 1 hour.
    • Supposed to get 1 hour outside daily, but lucky if it’s 3 days a week and rarely as long as 1 hour.
    • It costs 10 cents per minute on the computer (starting it and opening apps included), and 21 cents per minute on the phone. Overall, it is cheaper to mail things. Everything is read and listened to.
    • Books can be sent to him but no hard copies and they can be denied for certain reasons.
    • Shares his cell with an older man. Have to get used to the lack of intimacy for everything.
    • Spends time reading, working out a lot, and sleeping. Sleeping makes time go faster.
  • “Design everything to break you and they make it hard for you to keep (up with) your relationships outside”.

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