Pay-to-Stay Jail: How People With Money Get Better Cells

I have two friends in jail right now, so reading the LA Times article Jaramillo opts for $75-per-night jail accommodations, which explains exactly how people with money can get better “accommodations” in jail, leaves me both fascinated and outraged. According to the article, cities started opening up their jails for pay-to-stay upgrades ten years ago, and some jails have higher rates than others, such as the Torrence, CA jail that charges up to $171 a day. The “make your reservations now” tone from the jails at the end of the article is particularly nauseating, Snip:

Pay to stay can be summer camp compared with state prison. A criminal who can afford to pay for his jail stay enjoys privileges that make his punishment more bearable.
For starters, Jaramillo may be able to bring his cellphone and a laptop computer. A screenwriter who paid to do his brief sentence in Fullerton was able to finish his screenplay on his laptop, said jailer Efren Ragay.
Jail officials said Jaramillo will have trusty status, as do all pay-to-stay inmates, and he will be allowed to roam outside the building but not off the unfenced grounds. They are not concerned about him walking away, because that would earn him a transfer to the type of lockup he is trying to avoid. While in custody, he will have to wear an orange smock with the letters “FPD” at all times.
Jaramillo will also be allowed family visits in a patio in front of the police station, where he can enjoy restaurant meals that visitors can bring him. Otherwise it is frozen dinners from the microwave. The cost to be the city’s guest is $75 per day. Usually, the entire sum is payable in advance, but because of Jaramillo’s longer sentence he will probably be able to pay in installments, said Lt. John Petropulos.


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