Holidays celebrated with family are a special time for all, returning each of us to times past with memories of times as youth with parents and friends. Good times.
Prisoners are no different, and holiday periods, Christmas in particular, bring emotional difficulties. Attorneys can and do try to meet with clients especially at this time of year, bringing at least some sense of solace to what can be seemingly interminable loss of liberty. Hopefully, family members visit as well, as lawyers are a poor substitute for meaningful family relationships.
Recently I met with a prisoner, within days of Christmas. He is a young man, with a calm demeanor. The meeting went well, lasting a couple of hours while reviewing various evidence in his case and discussing issues in the case. As we sat activity passed by us, easily visible through a plate glass window. Some prisoners were garbed in a classic white and black striped shirt, each secured tightly in shackles to their hands and feet. None seemed particularly dangerous as they passed, presumably they were clad in such garb as part of a punishment for perhaps talking back to a guard or something more serious.
Another passed, dressed in a green jump suit, he too in leg shackles, shuffling as fast as possible to keep up with guard who were accompanying him to another location within the jail. He was smiling as shuffling, apparently going to an improved location.
In the middle of all this another inmate appeared, without shackles, carrying a plastic bag filled with personal belongings. Free at last apparently, and about to be released. A Merry Christmas.