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For roughly $75 to $127 a day, these convicts — who are known in the self-pay parlance as “clients” — get a small cell behind a regular door, distance of some amplitude from violent offenders and, in some cases, the right to bring an iPod or computer on which to compose a novel, or perhaps a song. Many of the overnighters are granted work furlough, enabling them to do most of their time on the job, returning to the jail simply to go to bed
“Our sales pitch at the time was, ‘Bad things happen to good people,’ ” said Janet Givens, a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Police Department. Jail representatives used Rotary Clubs and other such venues as their potential marketplace for “fee-paying inmate workers” who are charged $127 a day (payment upfront required).
“People might have brothers, sisters, cousins, etc., who might have had a lapse in judgment and do not want to go to county jail,” Ms. Givens said.
The family of one Seal Beach man paid over $72,000 for an upgraded cell, away from the general population, while he served 2-years for killing a classmate after crashing his car while driving drunk.
In Anaheim, inmates in the city’s pay-to-stay jail program are able to check out their own DVD players for their cell, and work out in a nice gym for a price.
The city of Fullerton offers one upgraded cell where inmates who can afford the $127 a night gets their own TV, a telephone in the cell, and a personal full-size refrigerator.