CENTER CITY, Minn. (WCCO) — Ever wonder what it’s like to spend the night in jail? People in one community now have the chance.
Chisago County decided to open the doors to the community for an overnight stay in the new $24 million jail before inmates move in. Administration reports more than 100 have applied in less than 24 hours for the 40 spots.
Assistant Chisago County Jail Administrator Chris Thoma showed WCCO what people will experience if they decide they’d like to be locked up for a night.
“We will try and mimic the exact procedures that would happen to a normal inmate in a regular day,” Thoma said.
People who sign up to spend the night in jail will spend most of their day in a community room.
“They spend the overnight hours locked in their cell and the CO’s coming in and check them routinely. In the morning they get unlocked,” Thoma said.
The post to pay $40 for the experience went viral on social media.
“The interactions are good and bad. Social media is always that way. There’s been over a million views of the posting,” Thoma said.
Critics on social media call this a terrible idea, offensive and ignorant. Thoma counters saying they’re not trying to make light of going to jail.
“The people that get arrested and come to jail it’s certainly not fun for it can be a traumatic experience,” Thoma said.
He said what they hope to learn is invaluable, and adds it’s intended to ultimately help future inmates.
“So we want to test all those procedures first. Everything from fire and evacuation to kitchen preparation. Are all the cameras pointed in the right direction, are all the communication devices able to let the inmates talk with the staff. All of these things can be tested,” Thoma said.
You must be 18 and live in Chisago County to participate. People will go through a background check. Those with felonies are excluded. The cost is $40. Twenty goes to charity, the other $20 covers meals during the stay.
Contact Officer Caitlyn Forrest if you’re interested at 651-213-5762 or Caitlyn.email@example.com.