California Allows Prisoners To Upgrade Their Cells For Money: Pay-To-Stay

Twenty-six small city jails in Los Angeles County and Orange County are allowing prisoners to pay for upgraded jail cells in a two-tiered justice system.

The Los Angeles Times and the Marshall Project found that pay-to-stay jails raked in almost $7 million from 2011 through 2015; some of the jails are privately run by corporations.

John Eum, a Los Angeles Police detective, said:

The whole criminal justice system is becoming more and more about: How much money do you have? Can you afford better attorneys? Can you afford to pay for a nicer place to stay?

To attract wealthier criminals, cities such as Santa Ana brag about their safer and cleaner jails having a “less intimidating environment.” 

The Los Angeles Times and the Marshall Project noted that “more than 3,500 people who served time in Southern California’s pay-to-stay programs from 2011 through 2015 found more than 160 participants who had been convicted of serious crimes including assault, robbery, domestic violence, battery, sexual assault, sexual abuse of children and possession of child pornography.”

In the Seal Beach jail in Los Angeles County, prisoners can pay $100 a night for “flat-screen TVs, a computer room and new beds.”

Some of the pay-to-stay inmates reportedly include “a hip-hop choreographer who had sex with an underage girl; a former Los Angeles police officer who stalked and threatened his ex-wife; and a college student who stabbed a man in the abdomen during a street scuffle.”

(Source: Los Angeles Times, Photo Credit:



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