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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Small but welcome changes

Back from my latest marathon slog across the pond to visit my husband. A weekend in Texas is really enough for anyone, but he's worth it. This time I picked up a stinking cold on the way over and then added to it with around 10 mosquito bites from spending just 20 minutes in my friend's garden on Friday. I react badly to them, but thankfully none were on my face this time!

It being the Easter weekend, I had hoped that the visit room would be quiet and I was right. Saturday there were still 3 or 4 empty tables when I left, and on Sunday there was barely half the room full. That was good because we didn't have to raise our voices to be heard, and the guards were in a relaxed mood as well - probably because they were not rushed off their feet. Talking of feet, I was complimented on my socks by the guards who were doing the body searches. Pity I couldn't give them one of my business cards though as we're not allowed to take anything like that in with us.

A good addition to the visit room were colouring sets (a sheet of paper with a black and white drawing on and a few crayons) and a small book case for the kids to use. In 10 years I've never seen that provided by TDCJ, and it was great to see it there this weekend. And it's not just for kids; there was a young man with Downs Syndrome there on Saturday and he happily took a colouring set back to their table. That was lovely to see.

I felt a little bad that my husband was missing pork chops for his lunch. One of the other visitors was waiting on the table next to us for the inmate to come through, and after a while the guard came over and said that the inmate had already gone to lunch then the visit call went through, and that as it was pork chops they didn't want to make him leave the chow hall so he would be a little longer in arriving. That was nice that the guards let the visitors know - and that the guy got to eat his lunch first!

We had a good talk on both days. We had nothing that needed sorting out between us, but things that have happened in the family recently took up a bit of our time. That's OK though, as it's so much easier to do that in real time than via letters that still take on average 10 days to get to their destination.

Perhaps in a few more years TDCJ will have taken another step towards the modern age and will permit inmates to have tablets and perhaps video visits. Other states manage it without any security issues.

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