VOICES FROM THE CHILDREN: TAKING BABY STEPS IN PRISON

Portrait of Xitlally Lupian in the Community Works West exhibit "The Sentence Unseen: Portraits in Resilience at Alcatraz. (Courtesy of Ruth Morgan)

Portrait of Xitlally Lupian in the Community Works West exhibit “The Sentence Unseen: Portraits in Resilience at Alcatraz. (Courtesy of Ruth Morgan)

Xitlally Lupian took her very first steps in the visiting area at Corcoran State Prison.  When she was little, her mother explained her father’s absence as a “big people time out” for breaking the rules.

Now, she is 16 and her father is still serving a 38-year, nine-month sentence for gun-related felonies.  He has been in prison since she was eight months old.  Still, the soft-spoken teen from Oakland is determined to maintain her relationship with her father despite all the obstacles. He’s now in Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, a seven-hour haul by car.  Xitlally says that currently he is in solitary and can’t make phone calls.  Unfortunately,family visits are rare because it costs a lot of money for gas and to stay in a motel near the prison.  It has been three weeks since Xitlally saw her father through a thick plate glass window where she talked to him on a static-filled prison phone. Before that, she hadn’t seen him in three years.
“I should be able to see my dad,” she says. “It shouldn’t have to be that much of a struggle to see my father.”
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International, based in America

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