Wealthy prisoners can pay to stay in safe, comfy jails

In Los Angeles, people convicted of crimes can sometimes pay extra money to stay in comfortable city jails, like the Beverly Hills City Jail, instead of crowded, dangerous county jails. The LA Times reports that “allowing some defendants to avoid the region’s notoriously dangerous county jails has long rankled some in law enforcement who believe it runs counter to the spirit of equal justice.

Alan Wurtzel met Carole Markin on Match.com in 2010. On their first date, he took her to coffee. After their second date, he walked Markin to her door, followed her inside and, she said, forced her to perform oral sex.

Wurtzel later claimed the act was consensual, but in 2011 he pleaded no contest to sexual battery and was sentenced to a year in jail. His victim was disappointed in the short sentence, but she still believed a measure of justice would be served with her assailant locked behind bars at the Los Angeles County Jail.

Instead, Wurtzel, who also had been convicted of sexual battery in a previous case, found a better option: For $100 a night, he was permitted by the court to avoid county jail entirely. He did his time in Seal Beach’s small city jail, with amenities that included flat-screen TVs, a computer room and new beds. He served six months, at a cost of $18,250, according to jail records.

Image: Chris Potter/ccPixs.com

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