HUDSON, Colo. -- Mary Madore and Maggie Crank aren't related, but they consider one another family.
"The first time we talked, it was like we had known each other forever. It was really something else," Crank said.
Both women lived in Alaska for 30 years, but they met for the first time in Arizona just a few years ago.
"We did not know each other... Interesting, huh? We had to come to Arizona to meet," Crank said with a laugh.
The two met through their sons, who were inmates at the Red Rock Correctional Facility in Eloy, Ariz.
"My son was in prison with her son, and her son Edward said to my son Matthew, ‘I haven't seen my mom in three years,'" Madore said.
"Matt says, 'that's no problem, she can come and stay with my mom, my mom will bring her over here to the prison. My mom's got a car'" Madore said.
In 2003, the Alaska Department of Corrections was forced to send hundreds of inmates to the medium-security facility in Arizona because of overcrowding in Alaska prisons.
Madore and Crank are two of only about a dozen who moved from the Last Frontier to the desert to be close to their loved ones.
"I don't know how many people realize, but when a loved one goes to prison, it isn't just that person that's in prison. The family is basically in prison with 'em," Madore said.
They live about 10 minutes away from the Red Rock prison, close enough to see their sons almost every day.
"It was a blessing ‘cause I could hold her hand, give her a hug and a kiss. It was nice," said inmate Edward Page, Crank's son.
"It felt good. To just feel the love of my family, to be able to see them," said Matthew Pease-Madore, Madore's son.
Now Madore and Crank can't see their sons when they want to.
All the inmates at Red Rock were recently moved to the Hudson Correctional Facility in Colorado, about 30 miles northeast of Denver.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009