What’s that you say? That your cell is cramped and your neighbors are noisy? That you have a view of nothing and that you’re bored silly? If those are your beefs and you’re incarcerated in the Bay area of California, here is some good news.
No, you are not being granted an early release. You can, however, move up and out — to tonier quarters at the jail in Fremont.
It will cost you more than a handful of smokes, though. The charge is 155 a night. Station WTKR in Hampton Roads, Va., quotes Lt. Mark Devine, of the Fremont Police Dept., as quipping, “You do get cable TV, but you don’t get a warm cookie on your bed.”
The price also includes access to game tables, and the TV is not just cable: It’s widescreen, with a remote. And yes, it’s HD. But that’s about it. This is still jail. You sleep on a standard-issue prison mattress, you share a shower with other inmates, and, no, you don’t get room service or fresh linens daily.
Says Devine, “The only other thing you’re really paying for is the smallness and the quietness of the facility.”
WTKR explains that the $10-million facility was originally built to house minimum-security inmates from the county jail, but the plans fell through, leaving Fremont with a brand new, sparkling, unused jail. So the city decided to try to recoup its losses by renting out the space at a rate not uncommon for night at a three-star hotel. Says Devine:
We are the trustees of a large facility that was paid for with taxpayer money. Now we need to be good stewards of that investment and maximize its use and efficiency for the taxpayers.
There is a cost to government. And that cost, where appropriate, should be borne by the people using the program or facility or what not.
Would that the “stewards” of our federal government had as much as of a conscience about wasting taxpayers’ money as this California policeman!
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