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Hillsborough County Jail Leisure Time, Florida

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Leisure Time

Interview with Aaron, Jessica, Walter, Margaret and Sherry

JM: What types of facilities were available to help pass the time?
Aaron: A basketball net in a small outside area that was connected to our pod. There were two TV's as well on top of each large bookcase that we had in the pod.
Jessica: The central area had some tables and chairs to sit and talk or play cards.
Walter: Basketball, chess, cards, TV, dominoes, exercise. That's it. No freeweights, no handballs or baseballs, or footballs, or anything like that. The "rec yards" in Hillsborough County are a 20 by 25 foot concrete slab with concrete walls all around and a hole in the roof that is covered by chain link fencing.
Margaret: THEY HAD THE OUTSIDE PATIO WHICH YOU COULD PLAY BASKETBALL, OR JUST RUN. THEY HAD ALOT OF BOOKS, OR YOU COULD WATCH THE T.V. THEY ALSO HAD AN OUSIDE CHURCH COME IN, OR THEY HAD BOARD GAMES, AND PUZZLES. THEY HAD ALOT OF CLASSES TOO, SOME OF WHICH WERE MANDATORY
Sherry: Well a long time ago if you qualified you could go to a work release program, it's just like jail, but you get to go out and work, and eat different kinds of food and interact with people,and save money, and you had to be in according to your work schedule.

JM: Did you have regular access to the entertainment or was competition fierce? Give details.
Aaron: Yes, when we weren't in lockdown. On the weekends we did have more local TV channels to watch than on the weekdays.
Jessica: I spent most of my time reading my my cell.
Walter: There is pretty decent access. Arguments sometimes about what's on TV. There are two in each POD all flatscreens, and in most PODs one tv is usually on the Spanish channel. Cards are not handed out, but can be bought on canteen. Each POD has a chess set that the Dep. keeps, as well as the dominoes. Exercise can be difficult sometimes due to the small size of the rec yard causing the available space to be very limited, as exercising inside the POD is forbidden
Margaret: WE DID HAVE ACCESS TO ENTERTAINMENT, AND SOMETIMES THEY WOULD HAVE THE CLEANEST POD COMPETITIONS, AND THE WINNER WOULD GET A PIZZA OR A MOVIE. COMPETITION WAS VERY FIERCE IN THERE, BUT THAT'S WHAT MADE IT FUN, AND FOR SOME REASON, NO MATTER WHAT, A FIGHT ALWAYS BROKE OUT OVER IT
Sherry: Well you could order a radio on canteen, or read a book, or watch tv. Watching tv was a challeng because everybody did not have the money for a radio, so everyone wants to watch what they wanted to watch, so sharing the tv was a big problem with everyone.

JM: Did you have a hard time staying in shape while in jail?
Aaron: No, because I didn't eat the junk food they had for sale and I kept myself active when I wasn't reading a book or watching TV. I did some speedwalking , basketball, and push-up routines. Normally I performed these activities with another inmate so I wouldn't get bored.
Jessica: There was no way to stay in shape other than doing pushups, squats, and so on.
Walter: yes, but not because of inability to work out. My difficulty was having enough food to keep up the nutritional standards of someone who is working out.
Margaret: YES IN THE BEGINNING BECAUSE ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS SLEEP, BUT THEN YOU GET TO GO OUTSIDE AND WALK OR RUN
Sherry: No not at all you have all the time in the world to go out on the rec and walk.

JM: How often did you get to go outside? What did you do outside if you were allowed to? If you were not allowed to go outside what could you do for exercise?
Aaron: We could go outside anytime we weren't in lockdown or eating meals which was 7-8 hours a day and we could stay out there as long as we wanted.
Walter: "outside" is a here a relative term. In hillsborough county jails, there IS no outside unless you have a program or have to go to court. Unless of course, you count the rec yard which is only "outside" if you consider that there is no ceiling.
Margaret: YOU COULD GO OUTSIDE FROM 8:00 IN THE MORNING AND THEY KEPT THE DOOR UNLOCKED UNTIL IT GOT DARK. EVERYONE JUST USED TO SOCIALIZE OUTSIDE.
Sherry: You go out every day after 8am, you could walk, stretch, do sit-ups, if we could'nt go outside then you could do sit-ups, and some walking.

JM: Did the jail offer church services? If so, what were they like and when were they held?
Aaron: Yes there were many church services that we could attend but I never did because the times that these were offered coincided with my normal exercise time.
Walter: yes, Catholic Church and Non-demoninational in both English and Spanish. No services for Jewish or Muslim people. I cannot say about church services because I never attended
Margaret: THEY DID OFFER CHURCH SERVICES FOR ANYONE WHO WANTED TO ATTEND. THEY WERE PRETTY EMOTIONAL AND THETY WERE ALWAYS HELD AT NIGHT, OR SUNDAY MORNING
Sherry: Yes, they did and the services were from different church's, some on Saturdays, and some on Sunday's, Catholic svcs were during the week.

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