The food is terrible. You never get ketchup for or on anything. You get mustard every now and then. By the jails own standards you are suppose to get two servings of milk a day, but you only get one. There is no near enough food on the trays (especially for full grown men). Just to give an example, consider a couple of these trays. One might come with one thin slice of turkey with a spoonful of BBQ sauce on it, two pieces of bread, a small serving of green beans and a spoonful of applesauce. How about this tray..two slices of bread, a small piece of cake and a large spoonful of grits. While I was there I witnessed guys digging in the garbage on more than one occasion. I have seen guys so hungry that they will eat things that they have dropped on the floor. I talked to guys who worked in the kitchen (all this work is done by inmates) and they told me that whenever they start getting low on something (say oatmeal) they add water to it. Many times the food will be either burnt or undercooked. They do give cookies out with some of these trays but sometimes they are so hard they are uneatable. One thing you do get plenty of is beans. When it comes to meat, the portions are spoon sized and often have garbage such as celery added to it. On holidays the inmates receive a sack lunch for supper. The sack will include 4 slices of bread, 3 or 4 thin shaving slices of meat, Small cookies and an orange. If you can’t afford commissary you just go hungry, and I saw many hungry men in the Winnebago County Jail. The only cheese you get is American. If you want cheddar you have to pay the 60 cents per one ounce packet on commissary. All this is done on purpose. Think about it. They save money by not feeding you near enough and hope that will compel you to purchase commissary (the jail gets 30% of the money spent on every item bought on commissary). All this not to mention that the jail receives somewhere between $30 and $60 dollar a day for each prisoner they house. All this feeds into the ultimate goal of the Jail, sheriff’s department and states attorney which is to get the inmates to cop out to a deal and give them their conviction. While in jail I witnessed a number of guys who were in for domestic violence, and the victims did not want them to go to jail or prison and in fact had told the state that they wanted to drop the charges, but the state would still keep these guys as long as they could trying to get them to plead guilty, but that is for another post.
I recently got to spend 6 months in the Winnebago County Jail in Rockford Illinois. This was the first and only time I have ever been in jail, and what an eye opening experience it was. There are 4 floors within the building with about 8 decks (cell blocks) on each the 3rd and 4th floors. Two of the decks are female the rest are male. There little rhyme or reason to placement on the decks. Killers sit side by side with non-violent offenders such as D.U.I or driving on a suspended or revoked license cases. The medical care is dangerously insufficient and negligent. I witnessed a man named Larry Jones on deck 4F have a seizer and it took almost a half hour for him to get medical attention. When I was in 1A classification deck I witnessed a man become violently ill from the horrible food and puke all night and a nurse was never even called. Medical attention is not free. It costs $4 just to have a nurse look at you. If you are completely destitute they will grudgingly give you attention, but often you have to put in multiple requests before they will bother with you and if you get money on your books in the future they will be sure to take their money off of your books. Keep in mind that they want $4 before you can even get an aspirin. This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you or someone you know has been jailed in Winnebago County (Rockford Illinois) Please feel free to post your experiences. My next post will deal with the food.