The first inkling I had that it wasn’t going to be an ordinary day at work was the dress code; no tight or revealing clothing, no blue jeans, no blue shirts, no orange clothing, no jewelry, no cell phones.

For the first time, I thought of the possible mental state of the people I was visiting, and how little some of them would have to lose.

I had been in a car crash (not serious) the day before. I wasn’t expecting anything bad to happen to me inside the prison. But imagined that if it did it would be much the same kind of sudden violence coming out of nowhere.

I realized all my trousers that weren’t jeans were dressy. I thought of the absurdity of buying new clothes to visit a prison, and found a pair of (tight) brown corduroys. I dug in my boyfriend’s wardrobe and found an old black t-shirt that was long and baggy on me.

I asked him how I looked. He said brown and black was a bad color combination, but that I looked suitably dressed for the reception area for new prisoners.