Washington County Fundraiser Puts Law Abiding Citizens Behind Bars

Saturday, November 19th 2011, 11:17 am
By: News On 6

Jeromee Scot, Newson6.com

Drug possession, texting without a license and resisting arrest were just some of the made up charges given to citizens at a fundraiser Friday night for the Washington County jail.

Deputy John Zeilinger calls the new $9 million building a state-of-the-art correctional facility.

"The new building is 43,500 square feet and can house up to 300 inmates," Deputy Zeilinger said. "It will also be the new home of the Washington County 911 center."

Voters approved a bond measure to pay for the new facility. Construction started in November 2010 and finished a year later, ahead of schedule.

More than 100 law abiding citizens paid $50 each for a chance to spend the night in jail. The evening included a tour of the grounds, demonstrations of tasering and police dog attacks, and police riot tactics.

"It's a once in a lifetime experience for most people," said Cameo Kraft. "I've never been inside where prisoners live and spend years of their lives. It gives me a new perspective on the freedom I have every day."

Officials hope to open the jail for inmates within four to six weeks.

Guards woke up the temporary inmates after sleeping all night in the cells early Saturday morning for breakfast. After changing back into regular clothes, Sheriff Rick Silver gave everyone a shirt proclaiming they survived a night in jail, along with a police report outlining their made up charges.