Thursday, August 1, 2013

California adds another 'pay-to-stay' jail

A detention center in Fremont, California is the most recent jail to implement "pay-to-stay."  Inmates with money can pay to stay in a newer, less-crowded facility than the regular county jail, reported Time.

For $155 per night — about the cost of a three-star hotel — both men and women convicted of misdemeanors can bunk in a special area of the Fremont Detention Center instead. While the new lodging option was intended to boost revenue and reduce overcrowding in county jails nearby, critics say the alternative confinement program is really just a jail for the rich.

With shared showers, foam mattresses, and few amenities other than high-definition television sets, the jail is no hotel. But for those looking to avoid a stay in the larger prisons— which houses as many as 4000 inmates, many of whom have gang affiliations — it might seem like one.

The “pay-to-stay” program is an attempt to curb the spiraling costs of the state penitentiary system. An estimated 119,000 people are currently incarcerated in California’s notoriously overcrowded jails, which are currently 150% overcapacity.

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