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Going to prison? First read the reviews

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01 May 2013 12:23

US lawyers and prisoners have started using Yelp ("the best way to find great local businesses") to review jails.

Private defence lawyer Robert Miller told the Washington Post he started reviewing prisons because "I needed something to kill time while I waited to see clients. But I think the reviews are actually helpful for bail bondsmen, attorneys, family members — a lot of people, actually.”

So, sandwiched between Miller's review of a Taco Bell ("not nearly as busy as the MacDonalds next door" - three stars) and a dessert store ("they have unique handmade ice cream" - five stars) is one for Santa Ana jail. Thanks to its smooth entry and exit procedures, Miller rates it a notch above Taco Bell - four stars. Although "parking is iffy".

  Pictured: worse than prison

Of course if you're planning to go to jail properly, in an orange jumpsuit with knuckle tats and a phone smuggled up your duodenum, you should avail yourself of the inmates' reviews as well. Jennifer was incarcerated at Orange County Central Jail and she had a, well, she had a below-average time. She says the screws caught her cellmate and her sharing half a toilet roll "and denied me my own roll" - one star.

But it's not all "the cots are made of iron" and "I have no shoelaces now". Nick had a very pleasant stay at San Meteo County Jail: "You get 3 meals a day, a bed to sleep in...All in all, I had a positive experience" - three stars.

  Good times

Meanwhile, a former guest of the notorious Riker's Island jail has a useful tip:

But the highest praise of all goes to the Pitchess Detention Centre in LA, from a visiting notary: "If I had a loved one in a jail, I would want them to be at Pitchess". Bless.



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