by Karen Arellano
I was checked in along with two other women, and we walked together towards the family visiting rooms. We were each directed to a room, but while my neighbor was being checked in, I opened my gate and walked in. As the officer walked towards me, he asked me if my gate was open. I replied “yes,” and he said it wasn’t supposed to be open. I began to feel skeptical about my surroundings so I said, “Hold up, is there someone in there?” The officer laughed and assured me that no one else was in there as he locked me in.
It felt like a kennel for humans. I briefly wondered if this was what it felt like to be my dog, Junior.
This officer was nice. As I pushed my custodial cart along the path towards the visiting room door, I couldn’t help but notice everything that was wrong with the place. The sound of my cart made me feel sluggish, and in the spots where there was supposed to be grass, there was nothing but dirt.
I opened the door and left it wide open. I entered the place before putting my stuff inside to verify that there was no one else in the room. It was dirty, stained, unkempt, and I didn’t feel comfortable touching anything. To make the place look nicer I unpacked my supply box and neatly laid all the dried food on the table. At least it added color. I unpacked my clothes and neatly placed these on top of my cart so that the place felt a little more livable, a little more like home.
I was excited to show my dad movies I’d seen between 2018 and 2019. I couldn’t believe the prison had them. When I was finished setting everything up, I sat down on the “dining chair” that was directly facing the door. I waited with the door wide open until my dad was brought to me. When my dad was finally brought in, he walked over to me with the biggest smile. He hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek. He looked around with his big smile and excitedly said, “This place is nice!”
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Stock photo ID:1043441246