KCBD NewsChannel 11 reporter "locked up" in new Lubbock jail - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/12/10

KCBD NewsChannel 11 reporter "locked up" in new Lubbock jail

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By Michael Slother - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – The Lubbock County Jail will have its ribbon cutting on July 14th. Afterwards, inmates will slowly be transferred from the old facility to the new one. Before they get there, the Sheriffs invited the media to spend a day and night under lock down.

"That was what we tried to recreate for you for this experience. That point of actually being arrested, being brought into the facility, going through that initial stage of getting a lot of questions asked and being informed of what you're being charged with," said Sheriff Kelly Rowe.

Upon arrival at the facility I signed a release form and was put into handcuffs. All of the media inmates were escorted into a police van and taken to the sally port. In a single file line we were taken to a holding cell where we waited to be booked.

The process was tedious and full of questions. Aside from giving deputies basic contact information and physical descriptions, I was asked about my mental health. Sheriff Rowe told me inmates with suicidal thoughts are kept under close supervision.

After central booking we were brought in front of a judge to hear our charges and bond amounts. My "mock" charge was driving while intoxicated with a $1,500 bond. I was then given one phone call.

All of us were required to hand over all of our personal items. Cell phones, car keys, credit cards, and clothing were no longer our property. Instead, we was given a county-issued set of items. We received a blanket, mattress cover, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, soap, and comb. I showered and then changed into my new prison scrubs.

The new facility has several pods or clusters that can hold more than 70 inmates in each. Once inside all of us watched the inmate orientation video and learned the rules of the facility.

If the rules are followed prisoners are allowed leisure time. There are televisions in the common area that inmates can watch after good behavior at the deputies' discretion.

We were fed meals and required to clean up the area after eating. If we cleaned to the satisfaction of the staff we were allowed in the fenced-off recreation area outside where we could play handball. Sheriff Rowe told us having television and recreation time gives inmates a reason to behave and in turn helps his staff control the inmates' behavior.

It was an experience I'll never forget. There are many things taken for granted on the other side. While the new facility is state of the art, it's not a place you'd ever want to be.

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