The visitation center is a large rectangular room with seating for approximately 200 people with stadium-style seating. There are three sitting areas in front of an elevated desk where the guards sit and monitor the room. The guard at the desk has his back to the wall and is on the left center as you enter. There is a vending machine alcove with microwaves on the far wall. No inmates are allowed in the vending machine area. On the right are glass windows and doors leading to a walled courtyard. The courtyard has two large picnic tables, two benches in sheltered shade and more benches in the sun. Obviously, the benches in the shade are at a premium. There are cameras everywhere.
TIP: I learned right away that the first thing visitors do is to buy food in the vending machines. So, you get the best selection while waiting for the inmate to arrive before others empty the machines. They don’t refill the machines every night. The food in the vending machines is better than what is served to the inmates. Inmates crave the vending machine food. Buying your food early also gives the frozen items time to defrost. Later you can heat up the food quicker when needed.
Heating up is another trick! For example, there is a fried breast of chicken with the bone in…really! Best way to cook this is to remove the bone while cold. Put the breast on paper towels for 45-60 seconds. If warm enough, then add the buns for an additional 10-15 seconds. Don’t put the bun in from the beginning since it will turn to stone if microwaved too long. One of Kevin’s other favorites is the chopped steak sandwich with A-1 sauce. Surprise!
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