In Licking County Wealthy People Don’t Commit Crime

The Father’s Day NBC Evening News ran a short segment by Tammy Leitner about pay to stay jails in California. Turns out that if the incarcerated is wealthy, they can upgrade to jail time with amenities like access to store offerings, phone, cable TV, even an ocean view location like trendy Seal Beach Jail (a new twist on Father Knows Best – Father Stays Best!). Your local accommodating jail is not just for misdemeanors anymore. The LA Times reports close to 5% are in for a felony conviction. For a hefty fee, this captured clientele can get an upgrade (eat your hearts out Trivago). NBC was not really presenting news but rather “upgrading” what has been news since 2007, with Analysis also considering it in past posts. In an upgrade of its own 2013 report, the ACLU in 2015 reported IN Jail, In Debt: Ohio’s Pay-To-Stay Fees. “Our statewide investigation analyzes policies at 75 facilities representing 74 counties across Ohio. More than half of jails, 40 of the 75, charge people for their incarceration through a booking fee, a daily fee, or both. Ohioans are getting billed up to $66.09 a day to be in jail.” Earlier this year the Marshall Project in collaboration with the LA Times did a joint investigation that was reported variously (from which NBC created Father’s Day fill). NPR’s Robert Siegel interviewed Alysia Santo, “a staff reporter for the nonprofit news organization the Marshall Project,” (3-9-17). From the transcript: Santo “The most expensive is Hermosa Beach, and that’s $251 a night. And then the cheapest is La Verne, which is $25 a night. More typically they’re between a hundred and $150.” “And in that jail, he was allowed to bring his own bedding. He was allowed to bring his computer and work on musical recordings while he was spending the time there. It also – the judge had said he needed to finish that sentence within one year, and he took two years to finish it. So he kind of scheduled his time over a matter of two years and did two-day increments until it was completed.” “It is. I mean a lot of what we cover at the Marshall Project is looking at the ways that money influences people’s outcomes in the criminal justice system. And some of those ways are no secret. You know, you can buy a better attorney. You know, you can pay your bail. So there are many ways that money comes into play. I think, though, pay-to-stay – what seems outrageous to a lot of people is that it’s so explicit that you really can purchase a more comfortable experience for a nightly fee. It’s very similar to many things in criminal justice. It’s just more in-your-face about it.” With so much being “in-your-face” these days, Analysis finds there may be something in all this that Licking County’s beleaguered commissioners could cash in on, literally. No, not a room with a view between the bars at Buckeye Lake (there are already plenty of those), but rather the historic old jail, which hardly generates any income during its very seasonal and limited Halloween Haunted Hoochie days. It would be the perfect pokey, overlooking Newark’s much desired “destination” location as well as the area’s hottest prime real estate for young urban hipsters. Offering concierge service, the upgraded county lock up could provide the discretionary jailbird with farm market fresh offerings as well as artisan soda and food truck cuisine; all while enjoying the incredible view of the newly refurbished justice center! What could be more rehabilitative than knowing that your upgraded stay is not only helping to pay off your debt to society but also helping to pay for the recent courthouse upgrade? Additionally, detention center guests, er, inmates could “work off” some of their hospitality accommodation charge by volunteering to act as, well, prisoners during the Halloween Hoochie celebration. Analysis finds this would be a win-win for all. It could even lead to a yearly downtown reunion celebration like the local university has for its alumni. What’s that you say? In Licking County wealthy people don’t commit…

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