Per Minnesota’s 2911 rule:
“Contraband” means an item possessed by an inmate or found within the facility that is prohibited by statute or facility policy. This includes items that are authorized but in excess of allowable limits.
Specifically, contraband can be something that’s brought into the facility by an inmate or something found and possessed by an inmate that they’re not allowed to have. Contraband can also be anything that’s issued to an inmate that is altered from it’s original state or, as stated above, an excessive accumulation of any item issued to an inmate.
Contraband is a constant concern for Corrections Officers and a problem that can potentially be deadly. The above definition is how the Minnesota 2911 rule defines contraband but in real life terms, the contraband we have to deal with on a daily basis can take many forms:
- Controlled substances (drugs)
- Cell phones
- Food & Beverages
- Clean urine
Yes, you read that last one right: clean urine. Inmates that are serving a sentence and are granted work release privileges by the court and the jail are required to submit to a urine analysis upon checking into jail and periodically throughout their sentence to make sure they’re not using controlled substances while out of the facility at their place of employment. We’ve had people check in to jail carrying and trying to conceal clean urine so that they can pass a urine test. That’s pretty crazy right? What amazes me is that there are people willing to jeopardize their lively hood and extend their confinement just to get high. Addiction is a sad and frightening thing and I could go on and on about it but this is a post about contraband and the personal politics of addiction is beyond the purview of this discussion.
So how do we prevent the introduction of contraband to our facility? We can’t completely eliminate the possibility but we do what we can by thoroughly searching inmates as they enter our building. The first step is a clothed pat search. For a new arrest, an initial, cursory pat search is usually performed by the arresting officer prior to transporting the individual to the jail. Upon entry to the jail, however, a much more thorough pat search will be performed. This is a vital first step for keeping contraband out of our building and it can also be a potentially dangerous step for CO’s. We use nitrile exam gloves for searching people because we want to be able to feel anything that could turn out to be a weapon or other contraband but we don’t want to come into direct contact with bodily fluids, parasitic infestations (lice, scabies), etc. The problem is that some arrestees conceal “sharps” in and on various parts of thier bodies: needles, knives, hooks and other items that could poke or cut through the glove and penetrate our skin. CO’s are trained on how to prevent this as well as how to prevent infection and the spread of blood borne pathogens.
The next step is to “change them out”. This means strip searching the person and giving them jail clothing to wear while they’re in the facility. Strip searches are an uncomfortable process for everyone involved but we perform the search thoroughly and in as professional manner as possible. The process is essentially the same for work release inmates as well as Sentence To Serve work crews.
Constant vigilance is another tool we use to control contraband. Despite our best efforts at keeping contraband out, prohibited items do get in. Just as often, however, contraband we find turns out to be items inmates have acquired after being booked into jail. CO’s are constantly on the look out for inmates grabbing things they’re not allowed to have, things that normally wouldn’t cause a problem but in the hands of an inmate can cause issues.
We also periodically perform “Shake-Downs” throughout the facility. This is where we physically search a portion of the jail. It’s kind of like what you see on TV where Corrections Officers go through a housing unit searching through and removing all the contents of a inmate’s cell. We’re not as destructive as what you see on TV as we feel we can thoroughly search a cell without making a huge mess. Shake-downs are an integral part of keeping control of contraband and maintaining a safe facility for staff and inmates alike.
Something we might take from inmates during shake-downs but which may seem odd to people not involved in our profession, is excess food that inmates save from meal times. Bread, fruit, water, a vessel to brew in, and time are all that’s necessary to make “hootch”. Hootch is a fermented concoction that looks and smells absolutely disgusting but does contain alcohol and is therefor a highly sought after item to certain inmates. Obviously we try very hard to keep inmates from making hootch. The last thing we want in a housing unit is a bunch of intoxicated inmates.
Controlling contraband is a constant battle. Inmates have twenty four hours a day, seven days a week to think of ways to obtain and conceal contraband items. We don’t (we have lives outside of jail) but we do take the challenge seriously and are always on the lookout for contraband.
To learn more about the Hubbard County Detention Center including what we do when we find contraband please subscribe to our blog at http://www.hubbardcountyjail.org and you’ll be notified each time I post an update.
As promised in my last post here are some more common questions asked about our jail. Also as promised I’ve populated the FAQ page with the questions from my previous post as well as those in this post. Enjoy!
Q. Can I drop mail, shampoo, stamps, etc., off at the jail for an inmate?
A. No. The only items allowed to be dropped off for an inmate are:
* Prescription medication
* Clothing for STS crew members or for inmates upon release
* Prescription eyewear
The jail will not accept anything else for inmates. Please also understand that you may not bring legal or other paperwork down to the jail for an inmate to sign. You must send these items through the U.S. postal service and the inmate will be required to purchase and envelope to send it back to you.
Q. Does the jail take thirty percent of any deposits made to an inmates account?
A. Yes and No. If the inmate doesn’t owe the jail any money from the current or past incarcerations, 100 percent of any funds deposited after booking will be credited to their account and they can do with it as they please. If, however, the inmate owes the jail money we will take the thirty percent and apply it toward their liens.
When an inmate is assessed a fee it is charged to their account. If the inmate has funds to apply to the fee, the system will automatically attempt to collect the entire amount, or whatever is available.
We strongly believe that offenders need to help pay the cost of their incarceration(s). Building and operating a jail is not a cheap prospect and we wouldn’t have to do either if everyone in our community always made good choices. The reality is that there will always be those among us that choose to selfishly engage in criminal activity. It used to be that other than court fines, criminal offenders mostly avoided financial consequences associated with their stay in jail. That changed in 2011 when the County Commissioners approved the jail to start charging Pay To Stay fees and to seek reimbursement from offenders for any medical and dental expenses incurred by the jail on an inmates behalf.
Statutorily, we could take one hundred percent of any funds deposited on an inmates account while they’re incarcerated in our facility.1 If we chose that course of action, however, we would likely not recover much of what is owed as very few people would want to put money on any inmates account if they knew it would all be applied to what the inmate owed. We therefore decided that by taking thirty percent of deposits we would be able to recover some of the money owed the jail and at the same time encourage inmates to purchase items from the canteen system, phone cards etc. Remember from a previous post that commissions made from these sales funds our inmate programs.
Q. What happens to accounts that aren’t paid in full by the time the inmate is released?
A. Upon release, inmates are provided an invoice for the current balance due2. The total balance is due within 30 days unless a payment plan is set up. If the invoice isn’t paid within 30 days we will submit it to collections up to and including recovery through the State Of Minnesota’s Revenue Recapture program.
Q. What do you feed inmates?
A. Breakfast, lunch and dinner of course!
* Breakfast consists of cereal, milk, juice, fruit and a breakfast bar.
* Lunch is our “hot”3 meal and consists of a main entrée (tater-tot hot-dish, Salisbury steak, chicken curry, etc.), fruit or vegetable, bread, biscuit or roll, juice and desert.
* Dinner consists of sandwiches, sides like jello, salad, chips, etc., juice and desert.
Our menu has to meet Minnesota Department of Corrections nutritional standards. These standards dictate quantity, nutritional content and daily caloric intake.
Q. What fees do you charge inmates?
A. Depending on the situation the following fees are assessed to inmates:
* $15 Booking Fee
* $1 Hygiene Fee
* $5 Vending Card deposit (returned when the inmate is booked out if the card is returned and undamaged)
* $0.25 photo copy/fax
* $10 Nurse visit/sick call
* $0.50 Over the counter medication per dose fee
* $5 Bottled Over the count medication fee
* $3 Jail hair clippers rental fee
* $5 Reading glasses deposit (returned when the inmate is booked out if the glasses are returned and undamaged)
* $15 Work release urine test fee
* $25 Court ordered urine test fee with additional $15 for each substance tested
* $10 per day Pay To Stay fee (assessed upon sentencing)
* $20 per day Work Release fee
* $46 per day Out-Of-County boarding fee for offenders sentenced in another county that wish to serve in Hubbard.
Please note that under no circumstances are indigent inmates denied medical services or necessary hygiene items because of their inability to pay.
- we do take one hundred percent of any funds an inmate has with them at booking if the inmate owes money from previous stays or from the current incarceration ↩
- Medical or dental bills recieved after the inmate is released will be added to the account and a new invoice will be mailed to the inmate. ↩
- The Minnesota Department of Corrections mandates that we provide at least one hot meal per day. ↩
I get asked many questions throughout the day by inmates, family, friends and the general public. Most questions I get from inmates could easily be answered if they would just read their Inmate Handbook (yes we have a handbook) and I’ve tried to address many questions that family and friends might have, over at the official Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center web page.
Still,there are many other questions that come up fairly often that aren’t answered on that site so I thought I’d go through some of the more common ones in this post and perhaps a future post or two. I’ll roll these into a dedicated FAQ page as well so you will always be able to find answers to the most common questions I get asked. I’d also like to encourage readers to send me questions that aren’t answered here. If you’re wondering something about the Hubbard County Detention Center most likely there are other folks wondering the same thing.
Q. Can I send an inmate mail?
A. Absolutely but there are some rules to follow. Other than the address and return address do not write or draw anything on the outside of the envelop or it will be immediately placed into the inmate’s property and not delivered. We will accept and deliver letters that conform to the previous sentence as well plain greeting cards. Cards covered with glitter, strings and other doodads including all musical and recordable cards will not be delivered. Don’t put stickers on the envelopes or on the letters or cards themselves as they will not be delivered either. Mail that smells of perfume, has lipstick or other unidentifiable substances or stains on the envelope or its contents will also not be delivered.
You can send money to inmates through the mail but it is advisable not to send cash. Money orders are acceptable but we don’t accept personal checks.
You can also email inmates. You must set up an account at inmatecanteen.com and the charge is $0.25 per email. Once you do and if an inmate has money in their trust account to pay for a return email, they can reply to you.
Q. Can I speak to an inmate over the phone?
A. Yes but you can’t call them directly. You can leave short, 10-15 second voice mail messages by dialing 218-732-8273. The automated voice mail system will give you instructions on how to leave your inmate a voice mail message. When not in lockdown, inmates can call you directly from jail using phones in the housing units if you have a telephone that will accept collect calls or the inmate has purchased a phone card. You can set your phone up to accept collect calls by visiting http://www.reliancetelephone.com. You can also buy phone cards for your inmate directly from that website. It is your responsibility to get phone card numbers that you purchased online to your inmate not ours so don’t call asking us to deliver it because we won’t.
Keep in mind that all incoming and outgoing calls are recorded1.
Q. Do inmates receive appropriate medical care?
A. Yes. Medical issues are handled just like they would be if the inmate wasn’t in jail. If the issue is something that can be addressed during normal clinic hours the inmate may be taken to the clinic to see their regular physician. If not they may be taken to the emergency room by a deputy or by ambulance depending on the circumstances.
Inmates are finically responsible for all associated costs but are never denied medical care because of an inability to pay. If an inmate has medical insurance, clinic and hospital charges will be run through that first and the balance will be charged to the inmate. All medical and dental bills are charged to the inmate’s trust account as we receive them from the provider. Upon release the inmate will receive an invoice which is payable in thirty days or it gets turned over to collections.
Q. Can inmates go to the doctor when ever they want?
A. Inmates requesting to see a physician will first be screened by jail nursing staff. If the nurse feels the inmate needs to be further evaluated or treated by a physician they will make arrangements with jail staff to see that an appointment is made.
Q. Can inmates chose what physician they see.
A. Sometimes but not always. We take inmates to Essentia Clinic in Park Rapids. If the inmate’s physician practices medicine there, we can normally accommodate them. If the inmate’s primary physician is located at another clinic, the jail is not obligated to transport the inmate to that clinic just to see a particular physician.
Q. You said that inmates will first be screened by jail nursing staff. Does that mean they might not get to go to the doctor?
A. Not surprisingly, most inmate health issues are preexisting conditions that the inmate neglected to address while not incarcerated. Since many inmates are repeat offenders and know how to work the system, as soon as they come to jail they want to have every medical and dental issue that they neglected to address while on the outside, taken care of while they’re in custody. Also not surprisingly most inmates will not voluntarily pay the medical and dental bills they incur while incarcerated in our jail. That means that the jail, and by extension, the taxpayers of Hubbard County, will eventually end up footing the bill. This adds up to a substantial medical and dental bill at the end of the year. In an effort to keep that bill as low as possible trained nursing staff will screen inmates to determine if they actually need to see a doctor or dentist.
As I previously stated all emergency medical issues are immediately addressed by transporting the inmate to the emergency room by ambulance or by squad car.
Q. Can I donate books, magazines and puzzles to the jail?
A. No. The main reason is that it is a security issue. People on the outside can and do try to smuggle contraband into the facility in donated items. The other reason we don’t accept donated items is that experience has taught us that the books, magazines and puzzles that well intentioned folks typically want to donate aren’t in the best of shape. They tend to be musty, moldy, torn up and damaged or smell like cigarette smoke. In the past when we did accept donations from the public, most of the donations just ended up in the dumpster or recycling bin.
If you want to donate books and magazines to the jail we’ve set up an account at inmatecantee.com under the name Hubbard County Jail Programs that you can directly donate cash to and we’ll use that money to buy books and magazines. You can also make direct cash donations to that same account using the kiosk in the lobby of the Detention Center.
Q. Do inmates have access to vending machines?
A. Yes. In 2010 we contracted with Turnkey Corrections (inmate canteen.com) to provide vending and canteen items to our inmates. Statutorily, we are required to operate a canteen system in the jail and until 2010 we operated the canteen ourselves. It was a labor intensive and time consuming operation and one that we thought would be better served by someone other than trained corrections officers.
As the Programs Coordinator during the last three years I can say that Turnkey has been a great partner and has freed up a significant amount of time that I was able to devote to more important inmate programming activities. Also, canteen sales generate commissions that are used to pay licensed teachers and instructors to come into the jail to provide inmates an array of educational services: GED prep and testing, Adult Basic Life Skills classes, Parenting Classes, Cognitive Skills classes, etc.
Canteen commissions, along with phone card commissions have enabled us to purchase computers for our Programs room for inmates to use to look for employment, access the State Registrar’s site to research statutes and criminal code and to partake in various self-directed educational courses covering a wide variety of topics: parenting, basic and intermediate grammar, writing skills, employment search tools and resources, job interviewing skills, alcohol and substance abuse.
Lastly, canteen services and in particular vending machines, are an important inmate management tool. Inmates tend to be better behaved knowing that a consequence of poor behavior will be the loss of vending machine and canteen access. Put another way, inmate access to canteen and vending services makes for a safer and more secure facility.
That’s it for this round of questions and make sure to subscribe to our blog for future updates. Also, send me your questions and I’ll try to answer them in future posts.
- All calls to the inmate voice mail system and those made from the phones in the housing units are recorded other than those to attorneys. ↩
Come on down to the Sheriff’s Office for our annual Night To Unite on August 7th. from 5:00-7:00PM. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with law enforcement officers and check out some of the equipment and tools we use everyday to keep the citizens of Hubbard County safe. Members of the Posse Unit, Boat & Water Patrol, SWAT/ERU Team, Explorers Program, ATV Patrol, K-9 Unit, Sentence to Serve, Corrections and Communications will be on hand to answer questions or just visit. Park Rapids Police, North Ambulance and the Park Rapids Fire department will also be on hand.
There will be a K-9 demonstration, drunk goggles demo, a dunk tank and food will be served as well.
Hope to see you there!
The first full week in May has been designated National Correctional Officers Week and like my post for National Public Safety Telecommunications Week I’m just going to link to my post from last year. Not because I’m lazy, well maybe a little because of that, but mostly because I don’t think I can say it any better than I did last year.
It’s a tough, dangerous, thankless job and I count myself lucky to work with the folks that I do. Thanks to my fellow correctional officers! I appreciate the work that you do.
With all the talk lately about whats going to go on the second floor of the Law Enforcement Center I thought I’d take the opportunity to debunk a common misconception. The jail as it was built was never meant to house inmates in the second floor space where Social Services (or some other agency) will ultimately reside. I’m not sure where that came from but one look at the space and you can tell that it is not, nor was it ever intended for the secure detention of inmates. I was working in the old jail during the design phase of the new facility but wasn’t in on any of those discussion so I can only imagine that this notion might have come from one of the early, preliminary building designs.
The second floor as it exists today was clearly designed for office space. Jail construction typically doesn’t include large windows, for obvious reasons, which this space has lots of. Nor does jail construction typically include open, exposed ceilings like you see in the photo.
Take a look at the Maximum Classification housing unit photos in the Jail Tour and you can see that the type of construction on the second floor is nothing like how an actual jail is built. In our facility the housing units have skylights in the day rooms but don’t include any windows at all (the two recreation rooms do have windows). You’ll also see that the ceilings in the jail are concrete beam construction and totally different than the exposed steel construction over the second floor space. Granted the 2nd floor is unfinished space and the photos of the jail were taken after completion but the difference is still pretty obvious. Lastly, drywall isn’t used in a jail, again for obvious reasons. In the above photo, however, you can see lots of drywall. Clearly this space was never intended for jail space.
Two of the housing units in our jail do have a second tier mezzanine complete with finished and inmate ready cells and perhaps thats where the misconceptions come from.
Another thing I hear quite often is that we built too big of a jail and now we don’t have enough inmates to fill it. The implication and misconception here being that the planners over estimated our local need. My understanding is that the jail was built for the future and the decision was made to build big enough in 2005 so that the county wouldn’t have to face the overcrowding issue every few years. We now have a jail that will meet our needs for the foreseeable future. For more info on the whole design and building process see my History Of The New Law Enforcement Center post from last August.
There may also have been hope that surrounding counties that were in the same predicament as Hubbard in terms of over crowding, would want to house their excess population in our jail and for a while after we first opened that was in fact what happened. Crow Wing County then opened their new facility in Brainerd and shortly thereafter the new Tri County Correctional facility opened in Crookston. In the space of just a couple years an area that had a shortage of jail space now had an adequate supply.
I hesitate to quote myself but I’m going to close this post with this (from my 2011 Year In Review post):
Corrections and jail facilities are infrastructure and are no different then the highway department or a municipal public works department. You can’t have law enforcement with out jails and you can’t have a civil society where citizens are free to engage, without fear, in the daily activities of a free and open free-market democracy without law enforcement and jails.
National Public Safety Telecommunications Week is April 8th – 14th so it’s the time of year again when we honor the dispatchers that work hard at keeping us all safe. I can say without hesitation that the dispatchers I work with are some of the finest people I’ve ever known. They are amazing people that do amazing work.
Instead of trying to rewrite my blog post from 2011, which I thought was pretty good, I’m just going to link to my post from last year. It’s worth reading again.
Thank you Vicki, Michelle, Pam, Heather, Kara, Karol, Emily, Alycia, Sharon, Ashlan and Jon.
Lest ye think I’m some sort of statistician I’m not, but since I brought up stats in my last post I thought I’d run with that theme, run a few reports and see what the jail population is doing in comparison to last year. In terms of Average Daily Population (ADP) we are up substantially from 2011 in January and February. If my iPhone  did the math correctly, our January 2012 ADP was up 46 percent and our February ADP was up 35 percent. The March 2012 ADP was up a modest 20 percent.
1st Qtr. 2011 ADP vs 1st Qtr. 2012 ADP:
The increases in ADP
is are due partially to an increase in arrests and partially to the HCDC housing inmates from other counties. We seem to be housing substantially more for Becker County this year than last. I’ll leave it to you the readers of this blog to determine if thats good, bad or none of the above. I can tell you that the jail has been an incredibly busy place the last four or five months and those of us that work here aren’t surprised at all by those numbers. I can also tell you that we are working very hard just trying to keep up.
↩ I’m embarrassed  to say that without the help of a sweet iPhone app by the name of Soulver [iTunes App Store link], I have no doubt I would’ve made a mess of the math. I’m still not sure I did it correctly. If anyone wants to correct my math feel free do do so in the comments. You won’t hurt my feelings.
↩ Let this be a lesson children: pay attention to your math teacher (all your teachers for that matter) or you’ll end up like me having to go to jail five days a week.
Check out the stats underneath the photo of the Detention Center to the right. I can’t guarantee they’ll always be one hundred percent accurate because I’m not going to go into work on my days off just to find out how many inmates we have in custody. I will, however, try to remember to update them every day that I do work. I’m also going to investigate options to populate this data automatically so that I don’t have to remember anything.
I often get asked what it’s like being an inmate in the Hubbard County Detention Center. Having never been an inmate myself I can’t speak with first person knowledge but as someone that works in the jail I think I can provide some insight.
As a newly arrested inmate or someone that is reporting for a sentence your first stop will be Booking.
During the booking process you’ll be searched, changed into jail issued orange clothing, your property will be inventoried and bagged up and we will gather demographic data that you are required by law to provide.
First impressions are very important. If you treat us respectfully and cooperate during the booking process we will treat you respectfully and your stay at the HCDC will be much less unpleasant. If you choose to be disrespectful, act belligerently or assaultive toward us or if you’ve come into our facility under the influence of alcohol or drugs you will likely find yourself in one of the holding cells shown along the right hand side of the above photo. These are special jail cells designed to minimize the risk of injury to an inebriated inmate that a normal cell might present but they also serve as a more controlled housing unit allowing better management by staff of agitated, violent and out of control inmates. They are furnished with the basics but are not a fun place to be. Holding cells are monitored by camera 24 hours a day.
Newley arrested inmates will typically stay in a holding cell until they appear in court which is usually the next day. Court can choose to hold an inmate under sentence (for probation violations), release the inmate on their own recognizance, or set bail. If the inmate is held or bail is set Corrections Officers will classify  that person to determine their custody level which will in turn determine where they are housed. Once we’re sure the person is free of alcohol and/or mood altering chemicals the inmate will be moved to the appropriate housing unit. Sentenced inmates that are reporting to do their jail time will typically be classified and moved to the appropriate housing unit the same day. You may or may not have a cell mate with which you’ll have to share a 10 by 7 foot cell that includes 2 bunks, a toilet and and a sink. Hope you’re not modest.
Once placed in a housing unit your typical day starts with medication pass at 06:30 and then at approximately 07:00 all inmates are let out of lockdown to receive and eat breakfast. After breakfast you’ll be required to clean your individual cell as well as help clean the common day room. TV’s and phones aren’t turned on until the housing unit passes inspection by a Corrections Officer. After inspection you might make a court appearance, watch TV, make phone calls, use the recreation room and participate in programs and other activities until 11:00. You can also take advantage of Correctional Health Services during certain days of the week. At 11:00 all inmates are locked down into their individual cells.
At 12:00 lunch is served and inmates are let out of their individual cells. Meals are nothing to write home about but they aren’t too bad and do meet the nutritional requirements mandated by the Minnesota Department of Corrections .
Afternoons are similar to mornings: dayroom activities, programs and court appearances. Visits with attorneys, social services and clergy happen throughout the day. At 4:00 you’ll once again be locked down until supper. Supper is served at 5:00 and at 5:30 you are locked down for shift change. At 6:30 you are let out into your day room again and can take advantage of evening programs. You’ll be locked down again at 10:30 and stay locked in your individual cell until morning.
If you are sentenced your day would look a little different. Minnesota statute allows that a sentenced inmate “if required to labor, has labored with diligence and fidelity”. Sheriff Aukes strongly believes that an inmate convicted of a crime and sentenced to jail should work and give something back to our county. I can’t speak for everyone that works here but I certainly agree with this philosophy and I think most staff agree as well. You may be assigned to work in a number of different areas in the Detention Center as well as on Hubbard County’s Sentenced To Service crew. You’ll start work at anywhere from 7:30 to 8:30 and your work day will end at around 5:00. You may also be assigned to work in the Detention Center laundry and/or washing Sheriff’s Office vehicles and this work continues into the evening hours.
Corrections Officers inspect cells everyday to make sure inmates are keeping them clean and hygienic, aren’t damaging anything and to look for contraband. Contraband is anything not allowed in the jail but can also be items allowed in the jail that have been altered from their original state. Obvious items considered contraband are weapons that have been fashioned from jail issued property, “hootch” and items that have been smuggled in. Possessing too much of a jail approved item like sheets, towels, etc., is also considered contraband. Something as innocuous as a packet of pepper can be considered contraband if you are found to be hoarding it because in large quantities pepper can be used as a weapon.
In addition to the daily inspections Corrections Officers will “Shake down” a housing unit on a random but regular basis in order to find anything that inmates aren’t allowed to have. During a shake down inmates in the unit are moved to a different area of the jail, usually a recreation area or the library. Corrections Officers will then go through every cell as well as adjacent day rooms, searching for contraband and for damage to county property. If you are found to have contraband in your cells or in your possession you will face serious disciplinary consequences as well as additional criminal charges.
If you run afoul of Detention Center rules your day will look much different than what I’ve described above. Inmates found to have broken rules will be segregated from other inmates and spend 23 hours out of each day locked down in their individual cell. You will be allowed out of your cell for one hour per day to attend to daily hygiene, make phone calls and use the recreation room. Lock down is mentally and physically taxing and very unpleasant.
Some inmates won’t even see the main housing units. If you are arrested for a misdemeanor DWI for instance, you will spend the night in a holding cell and once the booking process, including fingerprints and mugshots, has been completed, you will most likely be released when you can provide a .00 breath sample on a PBT (Preliminary Breath Test).
That’s a quick and dirty look at what it’s like to be an inmate in our facility and I hope you found it informative. To some, the above might seem harsh and overly regimented. We do things the way we do because safety is our first priority. Some of the things we do and the way we operate the facility might seem odd but everything we do is an attempt to provide as safe an environment as possible for staff, volunteers and inmates. We take our safety and that of the inmates in our custody very seriously.
To others, the above may not seem harsh enough. Once again, we operate this way because it has been proven to be the safest way to operate a detention facility. To those that fall into this second category I invite you to come spend some time in our facility. I say that in jest but do understand that we have room for you if you do decide to make poor decisions. It’s all about choices after all. Most of us never make the poor choices that ultimately result in jail time. For those that do, rest assured that we’re open 24 hours a day 365 days per year and have room for you.
↩ I plan to post about the classification process in a future post.
↩ Breakfast consists of cold cereal, fruit, juice and a breakfast bar. Lunch is a hot meal that usually consists of a main entree, a vegetable, bread and a desert. Supper is sandwiches, a cold salad, chips and a desert.
EDIT: A typical lunch of tatertot hotdish, vegetables, a roll and some bars. It’s served with a fortified juice.