By Monisha Martins
Maple Ridge News
March 31, 2009
With his left arm wrapped in dirty cotton bandage, Réné Escamilla is the last prisoner to limp into the visitor’s area.
It is crowded with overturned tables, a hastily cleaned whiteboard and has a view of a small concrete-walled prison yard.
Réné hobbles slowly, breaking into a grin when he sees his wife.
Marta frowns as he lowers himself, carefully, into a chair.
“Why the beard?,” she asks in Spanish, her voice drowning in the cacophony of a crowded visitor’s room at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge.
Sitting flush against a L-shaped wooden barrier, behind yellowed Plexiglas, the 34-year-old El Salvadorean with scruffy stubble on his chin asks Marta to hold up his baby.
Leylani, at the time just three months old, has the tiny hand and delicate, fragile face that’s typical of premature babies. She’s lost in her yellow woolly cardigan and pink blanket.