I came across this article about Selene Saavedra Roman, a young woman who worked as a flight attendant for the American airline Mesa, who was detained for six weeks upon the return of her flight from Mexico because she is the child of undocumented immigrants. She is one of the many ‘Dreamers’, recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status, that the Trump administration is cracking down on.
What struck me was this description by her husband David Watkins (whom she married in 2017) of his visits to her during her period of imprisonment.
Watkins told reporters he had been in touch with his wife in the mornings and each night by phone, and had seen her for one hour once a week through “two inches of glass”.
Recently I have been watching various films and TV mini-series set in the UK and Australia and I noticed that prisoners and their visitors seem to be able to meet frequently in what looks like a coffee shop or cafeteria setting, each inmate and their visitors sitting at little tables with no barriers between them. There are guards watching to make sure there is no touching and the prisoners wear regulation clothing but otherwise you would never guess that they were in a prison, even though the inmates were accused of serious crimes even including murder.
In the US, it seems like it does not matter if the supposed offense is of the most non-threatening variety, as was the case with Roman, they are treated as if they are violent and dangerous people. It is part of the dehumanizing process that the US legal and prison system seems to apply at every opportunity.