Want to live in the comfort of a five star jail? Do not commit a petty crime but do something big like embezzling public funds or fraud etc. so that you get into one of these jails and live in their comfort from out of the ill-gotten gains !

Read the following story via Marginal Revolution

“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.

Many of the self-pay jails operate like secret velvet-roped nightclubs of the corrections world. You have to be in the know to even apply for entry, and even if the court approves your sentence there, jail administrators can operate like bouncers, rejecting anyone they wish.

“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.

Five star jail

“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.

Many of the overnighters are granted work furlough, enabling them to do most of their time on the job, returning to the jail simply to go to bed (often following a strip search, which granted is not so five-star).

The clients usually share a cell, but otherwise mix little with the ordinary nonpaying inmates, who tend to be people arrested and awaiting arraignment, or federal prisoners on trial or awaiting deportation and simply passing through.

The pay-to-stay programs have existed for years, but recently attracted some attention when prosecutors balked at a jail in Fullerton that they said would offer computer and cellphone use to George Jaramillo, a former Orange County assistant sheriff who pleaded no contest to perjury and misuse of public funds, including the unauthorized use of a county helicopter. Mr. Jaramillo was booked into the self-pay program in Montebello, near Los Angeles, instead.

“I have never run into this,” said Ken Kerle, managing editor of the publication American Jail Association and author of two books on jails. “But the rest of the country doesn’t have Hollywood either. Most of the people who go to jail are economically disadvantaged, often mentally ill, with alcohol and drug problems and are functionally illiterate. They don’t have $80 a day for jail.”

The California prison system, severely overcrowded, teeming with violence and infectious diseases and so dysfunctional that much of it is under court supervision, is one that anyone with the slightest means would most likely pay to avoid.

“The benefits are that you are isolated and you don’t have to expose yourself to the traditional county system,” said Christine Parker, a spokeswoman for CSI, a national provider of jails that runs three in Orange County with pay-to-stay programs. “You can avoid gang issues. You are restricted in terms of the number of people you are encountering and they are a similar persuasion such as you.”

The story is ,on the whole,very interesting .But the side story of Mr.George Jaramillo is even more newsworthy.
Mr.George Jaramillo is an example worthy of emulation.You embezzle public moneys ,abuse public office and helicopter and then plead guilty to perjury and misuse of office and then ask for the five star jail stay the cost of which will be met from out of the riches you have amassed at the expense of the public. After all a public servant deserves to remain in comfort ! The irony in the story is striking. Here is a public servant who has embezzled public moneys and committed acts of perjury which are punishable with the severest of the prison sentence and seizure of the ill-gotten wealth.If he were really afraid of the long arm of law catching up with him he would not plead guilty,as he has done.Instead he would try to prove that he has not abused his office and not embezzled public funds. Actually he readily admits to the charges and readily accepts punishment because he knows the punishment is not a big deal because he will remain in five star comfort and the state will ,by default, foot the bill- because effectively it is the money stolen from the public treasury that is going to fund his five star comfort !

A point about irony.In the whole story the inequity of the jail system which advocates a discriminatory treatment based upon the financial condition of the accused comes out effectively not because the report talks about such inequity openly but because there is an all-pervading irony throughout the story which cannot be missed. The reporting is as though such a system is a desirable thing while the undercurrent is one of a strong disapproval.

“Marginal Revolution”

Advertisements