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Yikes. But at least she was upfront about it. I immediately assumed she’s visiting a prisoner but could be teaching,lecturing, medical or something. Personally.I’d relax until proved otherwise but asking for more details about the reason for her trip would reveal more…
It sounds likely that she’s visiting someone in the prison and if that’s so then she will be very grateful for a nice, comfortable place to come back to after what for most people is definitely not a pleasant experience.
Alia, you sound much too nice a person to discriminate against a guest because they have a family member in prison … it happens to even the best families, you know!
While I agree with not disciminating against those visiting a prison (for whatever reasons) a line has to be drawn somewhere. We are hosts, not a social service agency. If you do get a chance to find out what’s going on with her maybe you can find out if there is any kind of community resource to help someone in her situation.
Update: So i did pre-approve her, and suggested many helpful ways she could do what she needed to do but we don’t have a car so can’t offer anything but a tiny cheap space to sleep. And her pre-approval ran out, so i’m assuming she found somewhere else (possibly closer and/or cheaper, as we are convenient to Manhattan but not Rikers).
Honestly, once i knew it was Rikers i felt better. Her initial query was so brief (and inaccurate) that was most of my hesitation. (And also the thing where, If she did turn out to be violent or whatever, everyone/a jury would say “but yooooou let her into your home with young chiiiiiildren. Yoooou took terrible risks and are a terrible mom” so i really did need some assurances.