One day in the visiting room of New York State’s Albion Correctional Facility, LaTrisa Hyman heard her friend and fellow prisoner shriek, “He proposed to me! He proposed to me!” Looking across the room, she saw her friend’s elated new fiancé, still on one knee, saying, “She said yes!” The bride-to-be was beaming. She had told Hyman, during previous walks in the recreation yard, that she was in love, but Hyman didn’t expect her engagement. Hyman and the other prisoners jumped up from their tables to rush over to the couple and congratulate them but sank back into their seats when the correctional officers guarding the room began yelling at them.
The officers needed to maintain order in the room, but their reaction may also have been colored by the identity of the man asking for the prisoner’s hand: He was one of their own—a correctional officer.