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Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007, 04:55 pm
futurebird: Now we have gated communities in jail too.

“Our sales pitch at the time was, ‘Bad things happen to good people,’ ” said Janet Givens, a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Police Department.

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.

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 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.”

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

Get this: if you have the money you can pay to stay in a safer and cleaner cell where you have more privileges than other inmates. I'm so shocked and angry to find out that this could go on in a country that claims to treat people equally.

Great. Now we have gated communities in jail too.

just had to add this, it's too absurd for words:
Still, no doubt about it, the self-pay jails are not to be confused with Canyon Ranch...Lockdown can occur for hours at a time, and just feet away other prisoners sit with their faces pressed against cell windows, looking menacing.
OMG! Angry poor people are LOOKING AT ME! Oh nos!

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)

sorry. i don't feel particularly articulate, just angry, shocked and not really shocked at the same time.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)


Tue, May. 8th, 2007 08:12 pm (UTC)

just about sums it up for me too

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 09:09 pm (UTC)

Jails are big business.

You posted this right on time...I have a writing assignment on California jails. I think I'm going to use this article along with "The Prison-Industrial Complex" by Eric Schlosser.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC)

i was just wondering if sodexho-marriot is involved.
i wonder if the same prisons have poor inmates doing booking.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC)

This is actually a reversion to the way prisons worked in the 19th century.

Do you happen to know if it was Schlosser who first said that prisons are to state politics what the military is to national politics? I've been quoting whoever it was for some time now and I'd like to attribute it correctly.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)

I know. It creeped me out. I thought that this kind of thing happned "off the books" but I had no idea it was so... formalised. How can this be legal?

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 02:11 am (UTC)

I have never heard that quote before but, I can definitely see the parallels.

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 01:01 pm (UTC)

It's striking to read that comparison, because libertarians are fond of saying that "war is the health of the state" -- of course they mean nation-state and purely in it's oppressive sense. It certainly makes sense that prisons serve essentially the same purpose in that sense.

You don't seem to be saying exactly the same thing, but the comparison makes perfect sense from a race or class anlaysis perspective as well.

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC)

Yeah. It wouldn't have occurred to me to make that comparison, but it is entirely apt.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)

This is kind one of the scariest things I've heard in some time.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)

"a similar persuasion..." how completely appalling. it's funny how this makes me think of a recent fight in Michigan to guarantee prisoners cells that don't reach temperatures over 90 (I think 90, something near there if I'm wrong) degrees in the summer time because prisoners in the Jackson prison system here were literally dying from exposure to 100+ degree days in their stuffy and sweltering cells. I wonder if you can buy AC too. I just love how these things are so often presented by those who mastermind them with little to no consideration for the classist and racist implications. I think the gated community comparison is dead on. it's appalling to think of the potentially widened racial divide that this could create between non-violent offenders of color, particularly non-violent drug offenders who frankly probably shouldn't be in the system, and white non-violent offenders who are serving time for "white collar crime" and "good kids" who've been busted for drug or DUI charges that will go away. as if those f*ckers didn't get the country club version of incarceration as it is. equality in the eyes of the law, this ain't.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)

One would think that the ability to use your wealth to make your life easier wouldn't extend in to prison. Were the crimes committed by the "clients" any less "bad" than those committed by other inmates without the means to pay? In truth they were probably worse crimes, since it's much harder to get arrested and convicted of doing anything if you have money. So it's a safe bet most of the "clients" broke the law and did something pretty wrong? Why should they get a softened punsihment?

It's just embarrassing that this is happening in such a matter-of-fact kind of a way--

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)

it brings a whole new level to the phrase "business as usual," that's for sure.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 09:49 pm (UTC)

Man, I thought that The Onion was kidding.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)

Generally, the law-makers - legislators - in America come from which social classes and backgrounds?

I'm convinced that the wealthy make the laws to primarily serve the wealthy. Or am I being cynical?

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)

not cynical so much as realistic

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 10:53 pm (UTC)

nice icon

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC)

hey thanks! and back atcha!

I'm going to see them next week AND in NYC in August to whoop on the Yanks. I can hardly wait!!!

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)

police- the armed guards of capitalism? never!

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)

I don't know that I'd use the word "cynical." That society is organized for the benefit of the wealthy is a tautology; that's what it means to be wealthy.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)

WHAT!? *head explodes*

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)

“Our sales pitch at the time was, ‘Bad things happen to good people,’ ” said Janet Givens, a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Police Department

because clearly being a good person=having money

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 10:53 pm (UTC)

well duh!

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)

and we wouldn't want those "good people" being forced to mix with those not of their "persuasion."

they can't even come out and say what they're doing without simultaneously acknowledging what an appalling farce it is; so instead, we get code words.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC)

Yes, exactly.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 11:01 pm (UTC)

I guess committing a CRIME is just something that can "happen" to a person if you are rich enough. It's not like you actually did it. Or maybe the "bad thing" thats "happened" was somehow being caught and being held accountable for you actions like those 'people of a lower order' in the bad jail cells down the hall.

Sat, Apr. 28th, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)

yes, won't someone please think of the oppressed rich people? We can't possibly expect them to go to jail where they might actually have to :::GASP!::: come into contact with poor people.

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)


Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 03:22 am (UTC)

Remember rich people don't commit crimes...they make mistakes. Minor mistakes that they should not be held accountable for.

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)

Well, one of the problems with this society is that there are too damn many things that shouldn't be crimes in the first place, so in fact something like a majority of people in jail/prison don't really belong there in my opinion.

Of course most of those are poor (with non-whites way overrepresented even controlling for wealth). If you're white and of means and end up in prison, it's much more likely that you've actually done something *wrong*.

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 03:48 am (UTC)

Huh, i was so angry that I read that wrong. I thought "wow, she's admitting that the prison system brutalises (the bad thing) low income POC on petty charges (the good people)."

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)

I wonder if the FOX crowd will get up in arms about this. They're the ones always whinging about how prisoners get too many "luxuries," like food, tv, exercise, and running water as it is-- for FREE.

Oh, wait. In FOX-ville, there is no such thing as White collar crime or White criminals. Unless they're Muslim, perhaps. What was I thinking...
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Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 03:25 am (UTC)
imfallingup: Re: So, that settles it...

but the gays can marry there! it must be better!

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 04:11 am (UTC)
silverspar: Re: So, that settles it...


Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
michaelsullivan: Re: So, that settles it...

What do you mean? Canadians racist? Classist? Never! That sort of thing just doesn't happen in a country with such *NICE* people!

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 02:55 pm (UTC)
hooper_x: Re: So, that settles it...

Yeah, they just hate a DIFFERENT minority group there.

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Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC)
hooper_x: Re: So, that settles it...

oh, mine was basically sarcasm as well, so you know. perhaps we created a recursive loop. like a double-negative.


Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 03:27 am (UTC)

ugh. i lived near pasadena for a while. i kept saying it was a scary place, and no one believed me...
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Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 05:23 am (UTC)

I don't like killing. Can't I just bake cookies for your death squad to refresh themselves with once the day's work is done ?

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 05:47 am (UTC)

I'll bring beer.

Wed, May. 2nd, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC)

I've looked at your page. I'm hiring you to provide the music and movies as well. I will pay handsomely with the ill-gotten booty from Shoroxe's hoard.

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)

That's so freaking crazy! People are in jail for punishment, not to have a good time! All prisoners should be treated the same. They're turning jails into gated communities and fraternity houses! Once again, our country finds a way to separate the privileged from those who aren't. What a freaking crock.

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)

Mm, priveligilicious!

Seriously, though, the only way I could get behind this is if there was some kind of trade involved, like "do a week in the regular lockup or do a week and a half in fancy lockup." SOME kind of way to even things out a bit. Yeah, you get your laptop and all, but you also have to stay longer. (even then, I'd probably be willing to pay the extra, because dude, jail with a laptop? I'd finally beat three or four games I've been putting off for a while. look out, baldur's gate, here i come!)

-hx, making people stay longer if they're in fancy jail means they have to pay the jail more, too, so everybody wins!

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)

Not a bad idea, but it still piss me off that the poor non-violent offenders don't have ANY option.

Sun, Apr. 29th, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)

Oh, most def. That being said, this seems to be limited to a handful of jails in southern Cali, which isn't exactly the most traditionally-minded place.

I don't really see this taking hold most other places, honestly; especially not in facilities that are still operated by the state. I could be wrong, though.

-hx, especially in areas where sheriffs and other officials use being TOUGH ON CRIME!!! as a big campaigning point. having special "easy" jails isn't the kind of thing that gets you TOUGH ON CRIME!!! points.