2019年12月18日 星期三

Race/Related: Family and Incarceration (Part 2)

A weeklong special holiday edition with The Marshall Project.
Throughout this week, Race/Related is partnering with The Marshall Project, a nonprofit newsroom covering the U.S. criminal justice system, to present a special series on family and incarceration during the holidays. You can subscribe to its weekly newsletter on Life Inside here.
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By beatrix lockwood and nicole lewis

From the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, the incarceration rate in the United States quadrupled. Hundreds of new prisons were constructed, mostly in poor, rural, predominantly white areas. Those who were incarcerated, however, often came from areas of urban poverty and were disproportionately black and Latino.

The “prison boom” promised economic revitalization, but the practice of incarcerating people in these faraway facilities also made it difficult for family members to maintain relationships with their loved ones who are behind bars.

We spoke with some of them about these challenges.

Denise Rock said she traveled 125 miles every weekend to visit her husband at the Desoto Correctional Institution in Florida. She sometimes arrives as early as 3:30 a.m. to be among the first in line when the doors open at 8 a.m. She stays for the full six hours and spends the night at a nearby campground. “I have seen the positive effects of my presence there,” she said. “Being able to visit keeps him grounded in the real world.”

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When her son was locked up in a remote prison, Cecelia Whitfield started giving rides to families from the Indianapolis area who were also visiting their incarcerated relatives there. The demand was so high that she later bought a van and a bus so more people could ride along. There was no way to reach the prison through public transportation.

Ms. Whitfield’s son has been released, but the car pool she started decades ago is still going strong, expanding into a statewide ride-share service that helps economically disadvantaged people visit their incarcerated family members.

This article is about the many miles these women have traveled — on buses, trains, cars, taxis, and planes — to keep their families close.

Further Reading

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