In early March, Michelle Tran drove 1,500 miles from her home in Wichita, Kansas, to visit her husband Thai at California’s Avenal State Prison.
It’s a trek that Tran makes every 45 to 60 days. She typically spends a week in California so that she can visit her husband for two weekends. During the week, she visits family in Fresno and drives to Los Angeles to check on Thai’s mother, who is battling Stage IV cancer.
That first weekend, the couple sat at the small round tables in the prison’s visiting room. They were able to hold hands, hug, kiss and eat snacks from the prison’s vending machines. On Sunday, Tran ended their visit after two hours to drive to Sacramento for a Drop LWOP rally urging lawmakers to change laws and end sentences of life without the possibility of parole. The couple planned to say their goodbyes during her visit the following weekend.