Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Visit with Tommy Silverstein ADX

First Tom wants to thank everyone that helped us to get to this dream moment.
Tom was allowed to call me May 15th, to tell me they approved me for 18,19,20
So my cousin who drove me; we left the 16th. Whew! Talk about last minute!!

ADX was very easy to find, set behind 3 other prisons. I could see the water tower of ADX from my motel room.* see image below
From the gate to the entry desk pleasant, professional staff. I am still in shock I was approved, because prisoners are usually restricted to family and those they knew before prison
Upon entering filling out the paper work, through metal detector and a slight swipe of my clothing
with a wand to detect any explosive residue, ultraviolet stamp on back of the hand; there were no hiccups, issues or problems. When the officer at desk called down to tell them I was there for "approved" visit. Hearing it, the word "Approved"
The lobby of ADX was like entering an upscale lodge, clean, shiny.
Visits are listed as 8:30am to 3pm but you may get about 4 hours.
I had to wait a bit for an escort to visiting room, going through heavy electronic door, then 37 steps down stairs to next huge electronic steel door, where the stamp on hand is inspected. the huge door slides open to a 75 step walk to another steel door, once unlocked and opened, we were led into a spacious clean shiny room to the right the guard office that has glass you can not see into,4 closed windowless rooms for legal visits.  There are cameras everywhere, too many to count.
The far side of room there were 10 booths I was told I'd be at the #8 window. After a 2 hour wait; Tom was brought to me
shackled but thankfully the tight shackles that left marks on his wrists were removed, no leg shackles. But a woman there visiting her son had to visit her son shackled and watch his hands swell.
Meeting Tom I was so surprised how tall he is; I knew he is 6'2". But seeing him fill up his side of the glass was very surprising.
 He had to dial a series of numbers on the phone on his side of glass to ring the one on my side.
Tom's side of the glass
Tom's resilient demeanor was amazing and his easy smile and infectious laugh, inspired me.
On 2nd visit he got down on one knee and proposed to me; he said he wanted to do it right. Oh my God, I was blown away. He asked me 5 years ago on the phone.
The process for visiting was repeated 2 more times I visited 3 days in a row.
We never ran out of conversation just time. He was told there were certain things he was not allowed to discuss with me. One being the book he is writing.
Tom talked about his desire to further his education I had no idea there is no longer funding for prisoners to study.
The whole place shined so brightly trying to see him was a bit hard from the glare on the window, which was smudged by our fingers against the glass. Looking all the world like a history teacher, pushing his glasses up on his nose. to see the phone and enter code.
Front entrance
 Sadly for other prisoners; there were few visitors. In the 3 days there were only 4 other people there as visitors.
I would like to say if anyone has a loved one there please go visit them, Florence is a lovely town. My accommodations were 1/2 a mile from the prison at the Super 8 which actually sits on the same road. as the prison.
My last day we waved good bye Tom tears sneaking out of his brown eyes mustered a smile and blew kisses. I waited until I was in car before I broke down.
Again the most important thing Tommy wanted us to convey is our humble thanks to all who helped us be together. That includes Warden Fox, Tom's unit manager and counselor.
view from my room ADX is behind those far buildings

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