The New York Times reported this week you can serve jail time in California via a “Pay to Stay Upgrade” if you have enough money and if your crime is relatively minor. Convicted drunk drivers are welcome. For $82.00 USD a day you can buy a private room in a “jail facility” with a regular door and the “right to bring an iPod or computer or cellphone:”
“It seems to be to be a little unfair,” said Mike Jackson, the training manager of the National Sheriff’s Association. “Two people come in, have the same offense, and the guy who has money gets to pay to stay and the other doesn’t.The system is supposed to be equitable.” But cities argue that the paying inmates generate cash, often hundreds of thousands of dollars a year — enabling them to better afford their other taxpayer-financed operations — and are generally easy to deal with.
How do you feel about the privilege of being able to pay your way out of doing hard time? If it fair and equitable that if you are indigent or poor and cannot afford $2,500.00 USD a month to serve your time in relative luxury that you are remanded into the pits of prison or the curse of the county jail?
Are you offended by the slogan — “Bad Things Happen to Good People” — created in the 1990’s by the Pasadena jail to help sell the “for pay” jail program? Does that slogan suggest you’re only a “good person” if you have enough money to pay your way out of traditional incarceration?
I would love to know the Racial breakdown of the for-pay jail system — somehow I get an inkling that we will see a large disparity between Whites and Blacks involved in the program. Should incarceration programs be revenue-generating industries — or is there an inconsolable indifference between the interests of prisoner rehabilitation and city commerce rotating in the urban core?