I’ve been to prison a number of times to conduct interviews behind bars. It has always been a big deal. That’s partly because I had to list every single thing that I brought into the prison. But it’s also because of the very fact that I was going into an institution to visit – in all three cases – someone convicted of murder.
In each instance the buildings were grey and impersonal – cold with the hollow sounds of doors slamming, keys jangling and guards everywhere. It was intimidating going into that environment as a grown woman. I can only imagine what it must be like to do so as a child.
And yet millions of little ones up and down this country do have to see one of their parents in facilities like that. If they’re lucky they can touch them but sometimes a glass screen separates them and they can only communicate via a handset. I don’t blame the parent or relative on the outside for not wanting to put a child through that ordeal. But an Indiana judge does and he has just left a 7-year-old girl temporarily without both parents by flinging one in jail for not taking her to visit the other.