“Two days and a wakeup!” Kayla howls ecstatically into my ear during a November phone call from prison. “My babyyy! I’m gonna see my baby in two days!”
“You did it!” I say.
“Yeah,” Kayla sighs. She pauses for so long I think she has hung up, and a sudden nausea descends—I’m worried she’s about to announce that she’ll miss prison.
Instead, she says, “Don’t worry, My. This time I know it’s going to be hard.”
The sequence of these two thoughts—the reunion with Angelica, the recognition that release doesn’t erase the reality of incarceration—reminds me that mixed with most released prisoners’ joy is the knowledge that they’re actually transitioning to a different facet of the prison-industrial complex. Parole is a subtler but ...