Fremont Offers Inmates Option to Pay for Private Cells

The City of Fremont's "pay to stay" plan allows inmates to purchase private cells at a detention center rather than staying in the county jail

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The City of Fremont's "pay to stay" plan allows inmates to purchase private cells at a detention center rather than staying in the county jail. George Kiriyama reports.

    It's not quite the Marriott Hotel, but Fremont police are convinced you would want to stay at their 54-bed detention facility rather than serve time in county jail.

    "In here we've got the sleeping cells which are two bunks per cell," Fremont Police Lt. Mark Devine said, as he showed NBC Bay Area around the facility.

    "This is our chess board. Solitaire game. And we have cable TV. We just got new flat screen TVs by the way," Devine said.

    For $155 per night and a one time $45 administration fee, you can pay for more privacy.

    A solo cell.

    The money raised will go to the city of Fremont.

    "It isn't a hotel necessarily. You aren't going to find a warm cookie on your bed. But it gives you an alternative place to serve your time if you need serve time for being sentenced to a misdemeanor," Lt. Devine said.

    It's part of Fremont PD's "Pay to Stay" program.

    The first of its kind in the Bay Area. No felony convicts here. Just those who have committed misdemeanors like indecent exposure or DUI.

    "It's smaller. It's more private There's less hub bub. There's minimal exposure to any other inmates.

    The only people who will be in the housing pods at the pay to stay are fellow pay to stay people," Lt. Devine said.

    A judge will have the final say as to whether you can serve your time at Fremont Detention Facility instead of the county jail. Kelly Coble says if she ever committed a crime she would choose "Pay to Stay" but... "Total inequities that maybe I can pay for it but can other people pay for it? Seems like if you're rich enough you can stay in your own cushy jail, but if you are not tough luck," Coble said.

    Fremont Police say that's not the case.

    "As far as being an unequal treatment or jail only for the rich, I think it's important to remember that there is a cost to providing government services and that cost where appropriate should be born by the people utilizing the facility or the program," Lt. Devine said.

    Fremont Police say on average they book fewer than 15 people a day. That leaves 90% of the beds empty.

    They're hoping "Pay to Stay" can fill them up.