So the boss lady takes her Crim Pro class on a jail tour every year. I had the pleasure of riding along and boy was I surprised.
So... in County Jail....
1. All the men are colored coded in uniforms. Green is for the light offenders, blue for medium and orange is for the high risk guys.
2. Inmates get 3 hours of outside time...A WEEK.
(Period. Oh, and the orange guys are confined to a cage even outside!)
3. Otherwise they eat their meals, hang out, read, and even use the restroom in a cell shared by 4 others.
(In years prior they've had up to 8 in a single cell...with only 6 beds inside)
4. Homosexuals have their own living quarters.
(They are the only ones that have access to a TV 24/7)
5. The temperature is not to exceed 70 degrees.
(No windows, just good old recycled air)
6. Inmates do have full access to healthcare.
(AIDS cocktails, dental, etc...)
7. They get 3 meals a day, deputies admit the food is crap but one meal is served hot.
8. Every time we walked by the inmates had to face the wall.
9. The average stay is 42 days.
(Just until they are sentenced usually.)
10. It was the most uncomfortable feeling I have ever had.
It really was such a fascinating experience. I know people really hype up the conditions in jail, but honestly, it is not as good as some would like you to believe. The men are treated like dogs. Deputies bark orders and they follow.
The jail I visited is the largest one in the "free world" (no pun intended). And while so many of them looked like criminals, tattoos and all, others looked like normal people. Someone you could easily see at the mall or an amusement park or wherever.
I couldn't help but think how sad it is.