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Straight Talk The general Ex-Offender discussion forum. If you have done time, this forum is for you.

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  #1  
Old 12-08-2008, 08:41 PM
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Mitchell79 Mitchell79 is offline
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Question What's it like at County Jail?

What's it like serving time in County Jail? daily routine etc...just curious. I see everyone asking about what prison is like, but I dint see much on county jails. Preferably CA.

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  #2  
Old 12-09-2008, 04:45 AM
Mark2008 Mark2008 is offline
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Well, I've never been in jail in california. But, in general, I think it is better to be in a rural county than a big county. Like they profiled the LA County Jail on MSNBC's "Lockup". Just too darn many people to keep track of there.

I was in both a large county jail and a small one and the smaller ones are better, especially after the sheriff and deputies get to know you more and see you are not dangerous or an escape risk.

There isn't much to do in either. Sit around all day, read, watch TV (if you are lucky), maybe go outside to the yard and walk around at rec. You usually eat in your cell block and don't go outside that for much.

There are two basic kinds of cell blocks: dormitory style, where you have 20-30 bunk beds in one large room that is maybe half the size of a basketball court. Single cell, which consists of a series of smaller rooms (maybe 8x10), which are designed to house 1 or 2 inmates. Each cell has it's own toilet and sink. These usually have a day room where inmates eat, watch TV, play cards, chess, etc. Personally, I prefer the single cell because they give a little more privacy when I wanted to get away from the chaos of so many people. I would sleep a lot, read the newspaper, books or whatever else I could find, maybe play chess if anyone wanted to play, watch sports on TV and sleep some more. There are a few jobs available (janitor, etc.) for inmates, but not near as many jobs as people. So most inmates have precious little to do all day. A book was my best friend, but for those who can't read, it's rougher.

The biggest difference is that county jails are not designed to hold people for extended periods of time. They are designed for pre-trial detainees and people with short (less than a year) sentences. One of the problems now is that the system is so backlogged that some cases take more than a year to even get to trial. So if the person doesn't post bail, they have to sit there and wait. I've even known some inmates who accept a plea bargain just to speed up the process and move onto a state or federal facility.

Another problem with the county jails is the classification system, or lack thereof. You can have someone facing a capital murder charge right next to someone who is doing 3 days for public intoxication, or whatever. They're sort of all lumped in together.
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  #3  
Old 12-19-2008, 10:58 PM
lil_vicky_17 lil_vicky_17 is offline
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I know its rediculusly overcrowded so alot of people get really frustrated with each other. is it easier to get in trouble? and when u get in trouble and they put you in the hole, whats it like?
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Old 12-20-2008, 05:53 AM
Mark2008 Mark2008 is offline
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To me, going to the hole was a relief. Provided some much needed privacy, peace and quiet. I had to give up the TV part, but sometimes it was a worthwhile tradeoff. So, sometimes I'd actually do little nitpicky stuff to get sent to the hole on purpose.

It depends on the person. Me, I wasn't there to meet friends or hang out with some gangster I knew on the street. I was polite, but I didn't want to dick in everyone else's business. The problem is when you have that many people so close together 24/7, stuff is bound to happen. It don't take much. Someone farts and someone else takes offense to it. Fights over the TV program or newspaper (if there is one). Fights over the shower or who does and doesn't shower. Fights over using the telephone in the cell block. Fights over a white man using the "blacks" toilet. You name it. It's so childish and ridiculous.

The "cases" you get are pretty minor, unless you are talking about something serious enough (like injuring someone) to result in additional criminal charges. The jailers know there isn't much left to take away from a person. What can they do? About all they can do is put a person in segregation (which may actually be a blessing in some instances), deny them commissary privilidges, deny them visits or "good time" credit (only if they are serving a county misdemeanor sentence). In the grand scheme of things, those are pretty minor, although they may seem like a big deal at the time.
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Old 12-21-2008, 02:10 AM
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I have been told that DOC is better than jail. In a sense from what has been described, it usually is.

In DOC the canteen is cheaper. You have more access to more exercise equipment. And you have more chance to improver yourself, be it distance learning through college or an internship on prison facilities (vo-tech programs). You have access to group counseling.


In county, we didn't have access to exercise equipment. You know, weights & the like. Psychological counseling, zero. Educational opportunities, zero. even if you buy the books and pay for the courses, they wouldn't let them in. Pay for 15 minute phone card and you get 12 minutes. Canteen was expensive.
Only group counseling was AA and NA.
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  #6  
Old 12-21-2008, 09:27 AM
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County is a nightmare. Vastly overcrowded. 23 out of 24 hours in the cell every day. No access to books. Limited to no phone access. Lots of fights because of spatial issues. Terrible food.
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Old 12-23-2008, 04:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornered View Post
I have been told that DOC is better than jail. In a sense from what has been described, it usually is.

In DOC the canteen is cheaper. You have more access to more exercise equipment. And you have more chance to improver yourself, be it distance learning through college or an internship on prison facilities (vo-tech programs). You have access to group counseling.


In county, we didn't have access to exercise equipment. You know, weights & the like. Psychological counseling, zero. Educational opportunities, zero. even if you buy the books and pay for the courses, they wouldn't let them in. Pay for 15 minute phone card and you get 12 minutes. Canteen was expensive.
Only group counseling was AA and NA.
I would agree with this.
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:46 AM
Gridlocked Gridlocked is offline
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I've been to quite a few county jails and they all sucked except one.

Nothing worse than being stuck in county waiting trial and getting cellmate changes every day or week and they are all dope sick or nut cases.

I was at one county jail that was like Mayberry RFD homemade cooking dorms it was pretty good. The other side of the coin I was being transported from a fed facility in PA to FL for state charges and we picked up a kid at a county jail along the way in Tennessee - he was sleeping on a concrete floor right next to a toilet in a room that was elbows and asses (know what that means?) no time outside and he had a towel that he took (god knows why) it was almost black from dirt - NO laundry.

Whats county jail like? The toughest time you'd ever do. I can only imagine how bad some CA county jails are.
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:58 AM
socal mom socal mom is offline
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If you are asking about LA (mens central jail or twin towers) there is a forum
down the page under California that can probably give you a good idea. My
son was in MCJ for a while before being sent to prison. It was bad, although
they did a lot of cooking, eating and generally having a little social life. He met one guy in there who has become a friend, and I write to him now- since they can't communicate. They played ball on the roof, so they did get some rec. time, I can't remember much else. Of course there were problems, it is quite crowded, and getting worse I understand. They are all glad to get sent to their reception spot.,
Good luck.
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Old 05-23-2009, 02:48 PM
hutchingtons hutchingtons is offline
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Jail.. I don't know why but a friend of mine said when he was in there as a lot of 'free time' outside of his cell.. but that was about 7 years ago.. Just recently I was informed that the local Jail is now on a 22 hour lockdown with 2 hours outside the cell daily.. with restricted phones, that have a time limit on them.. as well as hit or miss meals.. some are good and some are just terrible.
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Old 05-24-2009, 12:44 PM
not so squeaky not so squeaky is offline
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Here in Texas the time gets easier if you can make trustee. They can give you a day job where you can spend of the day outside picking up trash, mowing, or other menial tasks around the county. Trustees get a few extra privies like getting to roam between trustee blocks and interact with other trustees. General pop is pretty much as everyone here has described. Shoved into an overcrowded cell with not much to do. Mark2008 has it down cold. Some of the smaller lockups are better than the larger ones.
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:09 PM
dui_boy dui_boy is offline
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county jail was like a huge barn or zoo i guess. i was locked up in a dormitory with about 50 other guys. i had the bad luck to get assigned a top bunk, which was hot and uncomfortable in the summer months. you have no privacy in county. the showers were open to full view so everyone knows what everyone else looks like. you have to wear the orange uniforms which are uncomfortable. also be prepared for the boredom of county time. there are next to now programs, aside from AA and sunday church services.
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:08 PM
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We will be surrending ourselves to san mateo county and serving 180 dys, not eligible for alternate programs due to we live in another county. Also wondering how it is in the men's and women's county.
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Old 07-11-2009, 12:31 AM
Melissaisme23 Melissaisme23 is offline
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it is definitely not pleasant. Very crowded, rigid routine, bad food.
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:09 AM
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My husband is in Twin Towers - LA County and everyone he's talked to in there says state prison is much better. He keeps his cell clean and gets along really well with the other Hispanics in his pod, so its not too bad. He is in a cell with one other guy, on lockdown 22 hours a day, but sometimes the guards will let him out a little longer and let him use the phone at night.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:53 PM
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County jail was so much worse than prison!!!! I'd take prison over county time any day! The county jail was isolated, dirty, cold, and very very very very very very boring. The food was horrible beyond belief and the you rarely go outside. It is like an oversized holding cell, like animals in one cage, not much separation . I got bad acne while in the county after having never had acne before. Those places have no clean air so it is always dingy. I wouldn't wish county time on my worse enemy.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:13 AM
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Well, the only time I've ever done was a 6 month stint in a county jail here in WV. Which I have to say sucked. LOL I've been told by many that doing time at ERJ was harder then any of the prisons, and most county jails around. The majority of our DOC inmates do most of their time in regional jails--as the prisons are so overcrowded. Our DOC girl inmates were practically foaming at the mouth waiting for the prison bus to come. We weren't locked down so much as some I've heard about--although I would have preferred to be. Now I will say, my time was much easier then most, as I was the only female trustee for over 3 months--which did give me mad perks. And the fact that not only was I in a pod next to the boys, my cell shared a wall with them. I met my Lawson not long after being incarcerated--and even though it wasn't the ideal setting--I got to go to sleep every night hearing my man say "I love you". But for general purposes--county time is sooo much harder. Commissary costs more, there's nothing to do if you're not taking GED classes besides watch TV (when you can hear it), read (when they bring books) and sleep. Not to mention the difference in "jail" COs and "prison" COs. Seems there is a difference in standards when hiring, and obviously those with a little more maturity and sense go to work for DOC. Just my humble lil opinion.
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