26 May 2004

Pretty Prisons?

One of the biggest complaints about the state women's prison at Mitchellville has been addressed with the opening of a new visitors center that can accommodate 100 people.

The old visitors facility, about half as large, had long been described by inmate advocates as cramped, noisy and depressing. The conditions were particularly difficult for inmate mothers wanting to bond with their young children.

Because, goodness knows, we wouldn't want to make prison depressing or uncomfortable. They must be awful enlightened in Iowa; in Virginia I don't worry about jail visitation conditions - I usually worry about things like whether my client is getting necessary meds or if he's going to suffer heat stroke because his cell block is on top of a sun-baked, tar covered roof and I don't know if he's even got a fan on those nice 95 degree days.

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