I visited my brother at Graterford SCI on Thursday with my dad.
That particular institution makes county jail look like the goddamn Ritz Carlton.
For a prison that houses 4,000 (!) inmates, you'd think there'd be enough manpower to make the visitation cubicle a little more...humane?
I'm not exaggerating when I say I felt like I stepped into a third world country from the moment we walked through the doors.
Every surface is dirty and in shambles; everywhere you look, something is broken, damaged, and falling apart.
All I can do is thank god that he is only there for the classification process and hope hope hope that things begin to look up when he is finally placed at his "home prison."
(I know, right?)
The visit was unnerving and definitely left me...rattled.
I mean, the facility itself was kind of shocking (I was prepared for bad), but it was my brother's tone and demeanor that really got to me.
I hate to see him so frustrated and bitter.
Since his incarceration in October, I've been so proud of the way he has carried himself forward every single day (getting a job, earning respect from the COs and fellow inmates, staying involved with his son in every possible way despite the very limited opportunities to do so, keeping in touch with his family and friends, still influencing his band, and mostly just keeping an incredibly positive attitude).
This transition is undoubtedly taking a toll on him and I'm sure it is part of the process, just another piece of the big picture, but it's unnerving nonetheless.
He won't be able to see his son until the next move (to yet another state facility for more classification/processing), which could still be another month or even two.
Phone privileges are virtually non-existent (something like 8 phones per 400 inmates, with a pretty small window with which to make calls).
On the upside, he's rocking some pretty fresh prison-issue leather boots (and fashioned some makeshift shower shoes from the insoles) and he'll be purchasing an AM/FM radio from commissary this week.
What he really needs is a guitar...
That day seriously can't come soon enough.