Every once in awhile in this world there comes a news story that I really need to stop and say, “Did that really just happen?” This is one of those news stories. Apparently, in Freemont, California inmates are being offered the option to pay to stay in a nicer prison. According to the news story, “Under the new program, healthy, nonviolent offenders who don’t have a gang affiliation and have not been convicted of a sex crime can stay in one of Freemont’s cells for $155 per night, with a one-time $45 fee.” This whole thing seriously has me scratching my head.
I fully understand that jail brings in all the bottom feeders of the population. I also understand that some crimes are a bit different than other crimes. But I am fairly certain there is a system in place to ensure the wrong type of people are separated from the rest. But this new system puts in a problem that makes me think of Highschool all over again. The criminals with money get preferential treatment. I am sorry but a criminal is a criminal and they are in jail to be punished- the punishment should be based on the crime not on the wealth a person has.
This also begs the question. If a person robbed a bank- could they use the loot they acquired to upgrade their jail accommodation? How would that be controlled? This also makes me wonder what would the “nicer” jail cell have to offer. I came up with a top three list that I can imagine enticing a criminal to make the upgrade:
3) A bathroom with a door:
Alright criminals, sick of having to do your business with everyone watching you? Well upgrade to the Pay to Stay jail and you will be equipped with a bathroom that has a door so no one will peep on you again!
2) A Twin Sized Bed:
Sick of sleeping on a metal cot used by criminal after criminal? Upgrade to the Pay to Stay jail and you will get a fresh twin sized bed all to yourself!
1) Reputation as one of the better criminals:
We know having a criminal record can be a real stigma for the rest of your life. Well we cant expunge your record for you we can add a little flare. If you choose the Pay to Stay option we will make sure everyone knows you were one of the elite criminals and not one of the crowd.
All kidding aside my feelings are torn on this issue. How do you feel about criminals having the option to pay to improve their jail cell accommodations?