I published an essay with The Osborne Association as part of their #SeeUsSupportUs campaign.
This one’s about the degrading treatment one receives when visiting a loved one in prison. If you haven’t joined #SeeUsSupportUs already, please consider doing so to support families coping with having an incarcerated loved one.
Here’s the beginning of the essay:
I got the feeling nobody wanted to be at Clinton Correctional Facility in the summer of 2003. Not the guards. Not the incarcerated. Certainly not me. Yet my sister and I drove there for the weekend because we wanted to see our dad for the first time in years.
The Sunday of that visit, we arrived at 7:45am in hopes of getting in at 8:30—we had a seven-hour drive back to Buffalo and wanted to leave by noon. We received visitor pass #56.
There were no signs telling us where to go, where to wait, what to do. Just a room of silent women, some with children, some itching to go outside and smoke.
To read the rest, go to http://www.osborneny.org/news/voices-from-see-us-support-us-pamela-brunskill/.
1 thought on “Visiting Prison: The Endless Wait”
Hi Pam: A very sad article-very powerful. Glad to see that you can write about it. You recall your emotions so vividly–esp that greasy haired guard (ugh). I hope things have changed somewhat in the Criminal Justice system. I recall once hearing some story on NPR radio (that stayed with me-obviously) about a mother catching the DCS bus early from NYC and riding upstate to a prison to visit her son and what it was like. All I now remember is her feelings (love, courage, resignation) and the descriptions of the others on the bus,,..all mothers and some with young children and the ride was an all day RT.
I watched a couple of seasons of Orange is the New Black on Netflick and the scenes of the “visiting room” don’t seem to have changed much from your experiences.
Hope all is well with your family and your home in Williamsville.
I am trying to declutter and tackled the box of Chris’s Middle School items I saved. I have a few choice items of your “teacher comments” for you someday—when you taught English and the banter you and Chris wrote back and forth about the “reading lists”. Priceless. I don’t ever recall seeing it before—but I saved them for just this time. Chris actually argued with you over assignments and you heard him out –what a great learning experience he had way back when.
He is practicing at WNY Dental now (in his 3rd month-on their payroll) at the Seton and Delaware office. He is happy, very busy and says every so often he meets someone whom he knew when in school/working in HS! He reports he already was able to have the office buy some expensive equipment he used in residency that makes some procedures go easier!
Happy Halloween. Eileen Cassidy
PS: If ever you have an hour—lets meet for that coffee/tea .