If some California inmates are not happy with their jail conditions, those who have money to spare can pay for an upgrade. Two counties in Southern California have at least 26 such “pay-to-stay” jails, a joint collaboration between The Los Angeles Times and The Marshall Project found.
Starting at $25 and going up to $251 a night, the program allows certain inmates to move into a “less intimidating environment,” as one jail in Santa Ana advertises on its website. The conditions differ from an eight-person dorm to one cell with two beds, a television, a phone and a separate refrigerator. The average inmate stayed in one of the rooms for 18 days, the Los Angeles Times and The Marshall Project reported.
Southern California’s “pay-to-stay” jail system, which brought in up to $7 million between 2011 and 2015, started in the 1980s as a way to fight overcrowding in the region’s jails.