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photo by Chris Nelson
Visitors entrance at the Yuba County Jail

by Chris Nelson

It was serendipity that I visited the man I did at the Yuba County Jail Monday in Marysville.

I got there four minutes too late to see the man I had planned to meet; the second name I had was a man who had been transferred elsewhere and the third candidate wasn’t available for a visit until later in the day. All three of those men had Latino surnames. The man I did get to visit was from Vietnam.

He was a pleasant, middle-aged man with glasses. I could barely hear him through the phone line — another prisoner had to help us get connected because we could not negotiate use of the phone. We were there, facing each other for an hour conversation in one of 13 designated seats in the basement of the Yuba County Jail, looking at each other through dirty glass along with a room full of women and kids — mostly Latinas — there to visit other men. read more