I had a very memorable meal today. I ate lunch at Central Prison in Raleigh. I must've been expecting gruel or something because it was surprisingly more edible than I'd imagined. We had barbecue chicken, collards, fried potatoes, carrots and iceberg lettuce salad. It needed a lot of salt and pepper. I would say that it was one notch above school cafeteria food. At least it well-balanced.
Why I was at the big house today is a long story, but suffice it to say that I'm involved with a group in Raleigh that got a tour and a lesson or two about drugs, race, poverty, and mental illness.
The inmates joked to us about the food, but their biggest complaint is not being able to hug loved ones who come to visit. They also want the outside world to know that what we see on TV and the movies is not real. Real prison life is more mundane, very structured, and very boring.
I was shocked to see how young so many of the inmates are. Many are kids, barely 20. How do we prevent kids from ending up on death row or life w/o parole?