I finally talked to the jail programmer at L's new jail. They apparently run a very tight ship. In order for me to see him "face-to-face" as his pastor I must jump through many hoops. She faxed me the eleven pages of forms and rules that I must complete and mail back. The first step is the criminal background check. If I pass that, she says, then I must come down of a Saturday and attend an orientation to teach me how to behave properly in the jail. I will also be interviewed to determine if I am of decent enough character to interact with "the inmate" and not be slipping him contraband, or taking things from him into the outside world. The rules they sent include a warning that I may be subject to a body search just in case I am even thinkin' about taking or leaving things. I have to agree that I will not call his family, or his lawyer or the judge on his case. I am not allowed to touch him other than to shake hands.
I told the programmer that I have passed background checks both for my church and my job. Doesn't matter. That I was approved to see him at this jail and had done so through two incarcerations for almost a year. Nope, no go. Clearly this is a higher hurdle to leap.
I just have this feeling that by the time I get through all of this he will be moved again! Which of course now could happen without my even knowing as we have no way to communicate. I was going to ask him to put me on his approved list of collect calls next time I saw him at the old place....but there was no next time. And he can't buy a calling card because when you move, as I understand it, your canteen money does not move with you, but stays in the old place. So I sent a card and told him I will come when I can, that we do remember him and pray for him, and God holds him still.
But I still think it's all a whole lot harder than it has to be!