Incarcerated: 1.5 years
Housed: Itaguí, Colombia
Orlando: I’ve been back and forth between New York and Colombia. Familia is everything. They’ve been helping me since I came to jail. Everything I have here is because of them. My mother, my cousins and my sisters are very important to me.
Diane: When you say help, what does that mean?
Orlando: Money. The system is different here. You have to pay for everything. For my soap, my towels, blankets… You have to pay for everything.
Diane: What about food?
Orlando: We pay for everything. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Diane: Is there any way to make money in here?
Diane: What’s the hardest thing about being here?
Orlando: We are like 355 guys, and the place is built to house 100. Every time I go to sleep, it’s impossible, because I’ve got like six or seven different guys on top of my bed, my pillow, kicking me, so it’s impossible to sleep.
Diane: How big is your cell?
Orlando: It’s a hallway- I sleep in the hallway.
Diane: What do you worry most about during the day?
Orlando: The guys fight for everything in here. If you get out of line, if you do something stupid, if you talk to somebody or try to help somebody it’s a problem. I’m not a young guy anymore.
Diane: What gives you motivation everyday?
Orlando: My daughter.
Diane: Tell me about her.
Orlando: She’s living with her boyfriend right now. She’s only 18 years old. I’m worried about drugs; there’s a lot of things outside that could change a lot of things for her, and I don’t know what her boyfriend is doing or if he works.
Diane: Where does she live?
Orlando: Thirty-five minutes from here.
Diane: Do you get to visit with her?
Orlando: No, she just got the cell ID, so I’m waiting for her.
Diane: Once you’re released, where will you go?
Orlando: My hometown about twenty minutes from here.
Diane: What do you miss the most about being outside apart from your family and your daughter?
Orlando: I miss my bike.
Diane: How is life in prison different than how you thought it was?
Orlando: Crazy. You find that in here people are crazy or trying to be crazy. Poor minded.
Diane: What have you learned about yourself in here?
Orlando: Patience. Tolerancia.