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Only Allowed One Ring

My friend Mitali and I went to visit Jorge in prison again, this time, much farther away. As I explained before, the visitor appointment system leaves something to be desired. But we finally got appointments and got to bring Jorge’s Abuela also.

The trip down was long. Very long, and very dull, driving down I-5 with nothing to see. Abuela only speaks Spanish, even after over 35 years in this country, so Mitali and I were trying to speak Spanish, which requires a lot more concentration for both of us than speaking English! Probably because of this, we missed the exit.

Unfortunately for us, I-5 didn’t have another exit for almost 20 miles. Fortunately for us, we were running early. But when we pulled up to the guard gate and weren’t sure which yard to ask for, I think we all got a little nervous. I remembered writing “D” on his letters and asked for D yard, which turned out to be correct.


Getting in to see him was more difficult than before as well. They took an inventory of all our jewelry for us to carry with us, to make sure we didn't give anything to an inmate. There were limits. For example, I could only wear one ring. Fortunately, Abuela was not wearing any, so she wore one of my rings for the entire visit so I could get in. I'm not sure what danger that second silver ring posed, but the limit was one.

There was a much longer walkway than in the other prison, but it wasn't raining this time, so we walked for what seemed like a very long time to get to the building with the visiting facilities. Once we got there, we handed our jewelry inventories and IDs to another guard, and sat and waited. And waited, and waited. We had an appointment and they knew when we signed in and were checked at the first processing center that we were coming, but they don't.

I get the feeling that inconvenience for families is not something that anyone in prison administration cares about.

As we waited, I could see Abuela looking every time a door opened. Finally Jorge came in and walked over to us. When they hugged, I was so glad we had brought her and so ashamed that I hadn't thought of it, but that Jorge had to ask me.

Talking to him was wonderful, and Mitali and I talked to him about his cellmate (he doesn't get any visitors, not any, ever. Apparently he's a pretty positive person), and writing, and more. We left after an hour to let his Abuela have time with him.

She was a whole different person on the way home. She didn't seem to mind the drive, or her tiredness, or spilling soda on her jacket. She was so happy to have seen Jorge. I imagine that it's quite the roller coaster - being happy to see him and then missing him and worrying about him, but at least they got to have time together.



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