Last Wednesday, my brother was transferred to state prison.
It's now been a week since we last spoke and in a letter I received from him yesterday, my brother said it could still be a few more weeks before we can talk or visit.
During his nearly six months in county prison, Rob was able to earn the respect and friendship of his fellow inmates; he helped create artwork and greeting cards for prisoners to send to their kids and families and he also worked a double shift, daily, in laundry (earning what amounts to, literally, pocket change for you and me). He found his place in the ranks and managed to hold his head high for the entire duration in county.
I hope...I hope I hope I hope this part of the process finds him safe and well.
From what I understand, this particular prison is rather prehistoric and the classification process sounds daunting.
Bill rode his bike out there yesterday during his lunch break, compelled to catch a glimpse of the compound (and I suppose, in his way, as a show of support to his brother in law) and told me it looks intense.
I mean, state prison.
Anyway, this blackout period without any communication has been rough (no doubt, most difficult for my nephew), as I've talked to Rob nearly every day (sometimes several times a day) for the past six months.
The letter was written on scraps from envelopes, as he doesn't have plain paper yet, and he said, "this sucks and it's filled with second-hand smoke. Luckily, I am getting my asthma inhaler soon."
Also, "8 phones for 800 inmates. Letters would really help because it's prehistoric in here. Tell everyone I am on to the next chapter and thankful for all the support thus far..."
How did it get this far?
So, here we are...
On to the next one.
New routines and procedures to learn and get used to.
New protocols, new rules, new phone accounts, new ID number, new address.
And I'm sure as soon as we get accustomed to this, he'll be moved yet again for the next step in classification, then finally on to his home prison.
Hopefully not terribly far away (though, likely...terribly far away).