While other youngsters around the country spent Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day touring law firms and sales offices, 13-year-old Branden Brittain joined his father at the Lancaster, Calif., state prison and learned how to make a crude knife using only a cigarette lighter and a Styrofoam cup.
Branden was among 20 or so children of prison personnel who spent a few hours Thursday learning about the challenges and dangers their parents face every day at work.
They learned about the homemade prison wine called “pruno,” and sampled a prison-made lunch. They also signed a form explaining that they shouldn’t expect negotiations if they were taken hostage.
The children, ranging in age from 12 to mid-teens, laughed uneasily about the form and at first seemed a little overwhelmed by the desert prison. But by day’s end, they had asked a series of questions worthy of a state Senate hearing:
How are inmates punished if they attack someone? Where do they get all that contraband? And what’s your annual budget?