I met an inmate and the U.S. Judicial system on the same day.  What I find interesting is that when a criminal is on death row, they are treated totally different than when they are first accused of a crime.  I went to see an inmate at California State Prison where he was incarcerated before his trial started and when I was there, I had to talk him through a glass partition. There were rigid rules that he was not to have any privileges of any kind — no refreshments, no contact or anything during these visits.  BUT, when he was found guilty and on death row, it wasn’t nearly as strict.   You could sit with the prisoner in a visiting cell, buy him treats from a vending machine and talk freely with him. They would ever let the guard take a picture of you with the prisoner.  Of course, you had to pay for the polaroid shot.  How strange is that?


About valerieleeworks

Author of The Jade Rubies and A Long Way to Death Row, from many years of candid interviews with Charles Chi-tat Ng
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2 Responses to Caged

  1. Emi Ashida says:

    I had no idea of the rigid rules when interacting with someone if (s)he is accused of a crime. That sure is odd considering the rules are more relaxed than when dealing with an inmate. I once toured the 2 Folsom prisons and interviewed the correctional officers. The officers at “new” Folsom prison painted a picture to us that the inmates were animalistic.

    • Hey EMi — How are you doing? I meant to respond to this earlier but been going off on all directions and not accomplishing as much as I want. Hope to get Charles Ng’s book out this Fall. It’s getting close. Hope you liked Jade Rubies —

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