I arrive at the same time as volunteer Wende Ballew, executive director of Reforming Arts,and this is a relief. I don’t like this next part. We go out the door behind the sergeant into a narrow courtyard, bisected by an unapologetic metal cage. It is small and square, and the bars are thick. It looks like something from a 1950s zoo.
An unseen human hand presses a button, and the cage door buzzes. We open it and go inside. There is an identical door on the other side. It is locked, and it stays locked until the first door clangs shut behind us. It only takes two or three seconds for us to cross the cage, and then, to my relief, the second door buzzes and lets us both out of the cage and into prison. It’s like an airlock system, meant to let people cross securely from one environment to another. Those seconds in the cage are how I know, every week, that I am leaving the world.