California convicts with cash can pony up for cushier cell arrangements in place of Los Angeles County lockup in what are being called “pay-to-stay” jails.
In accommodations that can run up to $250 a night, inmates have access to cable TV, movies, books and even the ability to leave during the day for work- so long as they are back in their cells by bedtime.
In a cushy way to avoid being stuck in the crime-ridden County jail, the living arrangements pale in comparison to the general population quarters that most inmates get to experience.
One suh “jail-resort” is located in Seal Beach, which runs about $100 a night- around the same price it would cost to stay at the local Motel 6 or Best Western.
“We’ve had lawyers, we’ve had doctors, we’ve had teachers, we’ve even had Catholic priests,” said Steve Bowles, a Seal Beach police commander.
However, some people feel the system creates a distinction between wealthy criminals and a poor underclass.
“Those who are wealthy are able to upgrade their facilities to stay at nicer jails than those who are poor who may have committed the same exact crime,” said Lauren-Brooke Eisen, senior counsel at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice.
While such ritzy facilities are generally reserved for people who commit non-violent and low-level crimes, recent studies show that just under five percent have committed more aggressive crimes, such as sexual assault.
“It’s an unfortunate reality,” sexual assault victim Caro Markin said, upon learning her rapist had managed to catch a cot at the Seal Beach facility. “If you have money, you can have this option.”
According to NBC News, judges have the final say on where inmates sit out their sentences.