Karla H. Edwards | An Update from the Detention Center

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

The latest from my November Adelanto Detention Center visit:

Two lists were provided by our volunteer organization for those of us going to visit the center in Adelanto. These listed people who would welcome a visit.  

One showed the women’s names and country of origin and the other, men’s names. I was surprised to see the many countries of origin. For example, the women’s list included El Salvador, Russia, Mexico, Jamaica, Cameroon, Brazil and Honduras. The men’s list included detainees from Cuba, Cameroon, Mexico and Sudan.

After turning over our driver’s license and obtaining a locker key at the front desk, we deposited all belongings in a locker (including rings, watches, and of course, cell phones) and went through the metal detector and two locked doors to reach the meeting room.

Neither of the two women I had chosen to visit (we have been writing back and forth for months and I consider them good friends) were in the room. One of the other volunteers was talking to a woman (who wasn’t on the list to receive a visit) instead of the one she was supposed to meet, so she was directed to the person she had been looking for. 

All this was lucky for me, since I could now talk with the woman the other volunteer had been sitting with. I will call her Carrie. Carrie had traveled from Cameroon and showed me, on a wall map, the countries she had traveled though to reach the United States. (I got permission from the guard for us to walk across the room to the map.)

I offered to send a book to her and I was surprised and impressed that she already knew the procedure: get the book approved by the center before it arrives, must be paperback and must be from Amazon or a book seller, such as Barnes & Noble. 

Carrie had faith that someone would show up and offer to send her a book so she was prepared by getting approval ahead of time.

My next visit was with a woman from Jamaica who I have been visiting since April 2019. We correspond on a regular basis and she maintains her faith and strength. I wrote to The Signal about her and referred to her as Emma (May 29 edition). Her situation is too complicated for me to write about since the workings of the privately owned detention centers are too complicated for me to outline. 

If curious, you can go online and look up Detention Centers 101.

Karla H. Edwards


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