It’s a sobering experience to walk into fortress-like San Quentin State Prison. ID’s get checked and double-checked. Phones and purses get left behind. You sign a visitor’s log. A guard stamps your wrist to identify you as a guest.
All of this happens under the watchful eyes of Lt. Sam Robinson, the public information officer at the prison. Heavy metal gates clank solidly behind you. And you walk out into a courtyard with carefully-tended rose bushes, the health services building, cell blocks, even California’s death row.