One of the indignities of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety is the way that they so often refuse to accommodate basic humanitarian needs, such as notifying family members when an incarcerated person is gravely sick, permitting an incarcerated individual to have a final visit with a family member who is ill, or permitting an incarcerated individual briefly leave prison to attend a loved one’s funeral.

Silvia Lucas is a terminally ill mom who wanted a last hug with her son, Yaair Uresti Lucas. Yaair is currently on Central Prison’s Unit One, the grimmest solitary confinement unit in the State, in a status currently named “Restrictive Housing For Control Purposes.” On this status, the prison does not permit visitation. 

Last week, Advocate Cierra Cobb did informal advocacy to obtain permission from the warden for a video conference between the mom and son so that they could say goodbye to each other.

These are the heartbreaking stories that take place every day with families with loved ones behind the wall. The humanity of incarcerated people and their families must be seen, recognized, and respected.