Dixon, Illinois is an pretty historic place. It’s where Illinois’ most famous resident, Abraham Lincoln, decided to join the Blackhawk War. It was also the boyhood home to another man, Ronald Reagan, who went on to become president.
To criminal defense attorneys and the loved ones of their clients, it’s also home to other people: prisoners at the Dixon Correctional Center.
Two weeks ago I found myself driving by the Lincoln and Reagan historical markers towards the dilapidated, run-down, and generally monotone prison. The place is pretty depressing, but I had the privilege of meeting a client there.
And, I didn’t put “privilege” in quotes for a reason. I’m not being sarcastic (for once). Every person with an opinion- one way or another- on mandatory minimums, how our justice system works, and what should happen in prison should have the opportunity to visit prisoners. It’s not as though I would expect it would change your mind either way. It adds legitimacy to your opinions, though.
I’ve been there many times before. As always, the procedure to go through security was different than the last time I was there. When I finally got through, I took a seat at my assigned table and waited for my client. And waited. And waited. I waited in that large visiting room for an hour. I’m still not sure what took so long, but that’s life in the prison.