Notes from the Class War: Corrections Edition

April 29th, 2007  |  Published in etc  |  2 Comments

For $82 a Day, Booking a Cell in a 5-Star Jail – New York Times:

Anyone convicted of a crime knows a debt to society often must be paid in jail. But a slice of Californians willing to supplement that debt with cash (no personal checks, please) are finding that the time can be almost bearable.

For offenders whose crimes are usually relatively minor (carjackers should not bother) and whose bank accounts remain lofty, a dozen or so city jails across the state offer pay-to-stay upgrades. Theirs are a clean, quiet, if not exactly recherché alternative to the standard county jails, where the walls are bars, the fellow inmates are hardened and privileges are few.

“I am aware that this is considered to be a five-star Hilton,” said Nicole Brockett, 22, who was recently booked into one of the jails, here in Orange County about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles, and paid $82 a day to complete a 21-day sentence for a drunken driving conviction.

Ms. Brockett, who in her oversize orange T-shirt and flip-flops looked more like a contestant on “The Real World” than an inmate, shopped around for the best accommodations,

“It’s clean here,” she said, perched in a jail day room on the sort of couch found in a hospital emergency room. “It’s safe and everyone here is really nice. I haven’t had a problem with any of the other girls. They give me shampoo.”

For roughly $75 to $127 a day, these convicts — who are known in the self-pay parlance as “clients” — get a small cell behind a regular door, distance of some amplitude from violent offenders and, in some cases, the right to bring an iPod or computer on which to compose a novel, or perhaps a song.

I’m not okay with this.


  1. Ed Heil says:

    April 29th, 2007 at 8:59 pm (#)


    “Lawyer: Inmate Died After Being Left Alone, Covered In Feces”

    How the other half lives.

    You know, I don’t have a problem that there are prisons where people are treated like humans. I have a problem with what happens in the others.

  2. Michael Burton says:

    April 30th, 2007 at 8:46 am (#)

    Ya, I’d like to lodge my vote for “This Sucks” as well. You literally have a captured audience so you don’t need to compete on price. But how do you compete? Services… This trend, mark my words, in five years will lead to some fantastically gross situations.

Leave a Response

© Michael Hall, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.