“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome, lacking clothes and clothe you? When did we find you sick or in prison and go to see you?”
“When does he go to court?” The eyes of the deputy behind the clean white mesh searched the computer monitor. He is younger than me. “My father asked me to drop these clothes off for this man. I am not sure of his court date, but Dad wrote November 28 on the box.” The officer’s shoes squeak. Many keys on a ring rattle as he leans forward to take the box that I have wedged through the opening between the tall counter and the wall of wire above it, which separates us. An electronic lock is thrown in the room beyond the door behind the deputy. Heavy heels strike linoleum, keys bounce on a ring… eerie sounds… the Properties Deputy joins us. “Skerlock property was filed under Sherlock instead.” Both men snort. “Who needs the property of prisoner Skerlock?” One of the other three people waiting rushes forward, a worn letter in her fist. “Nothing is the easy way with this man”. She brushes back a lock of hair with the hand that clutches his letter. My deputy completes the search and inventory of the box: Shirt, tie, trousers, and cardboard belt. He scribbles notes on a receipt, then slides it through the opening between the counter and the wire fence. “Pick up the clothes within a week of the court date, if you want them. You will need that paper to claim them.” “Okay. Thanks”, I say. “Take it easy,
guys”, I say to the room. “Thank you. You too,” says the friend of the ‘hard-way-prisoner’. I turn to leave the 13xl0 foot windowless room by the only available exit, the elevator. Deputies work quietly to the rhythmic shake of keys. Back on the first floor of the Prisoner Processing Center, I walk fifteen feet down a freshly painted windowless hallway and out
the only door. My eyes are sensitive to the sun.
LORD, THANK YOU FOR WINDOWS. SOME PEOPLE THINK WE SHOULD PUT CHILDREN IN JAILS. PLEASE SOFTEN THEIR HEARTS. FORGIVE ME FOR THE TIMES THAT I WANT TO DO THINGS THE HARD WAY. THANK YOU FOR THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE ME ENOUGH TO HELP ME. BLESS PRISON GUARDS AND THE FAMILIES OF THOSE IMPRISONED, FOR THEY ARE IN PRISON TOO. DELIVER US FROM OUR CAPACITY TO DO EVIL. AMEN.
– Shared by Lezlie Daniel