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Passaic County Jail Leisure Time, New Jersey

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Leisure Time

Interview with Brad, Brit, Chuck, Ben and Carl

JM: What types of facilities were available to help pass the time?
Brad: We were offerred roof-gym where you can go out- side on the roof to play basketball or you was offerred rec-gym were you can go do push-ups or sit-ups on a universal bar set.This was offerred most days for only 1-hour.
Brit: none
Chuck: Televisions and board games/cards/dominoes were available on the units. library cart passed through once a month or so. roof gym was available about 3 - 4 times a week for an hour (weather permitting) and an indoor weight room (nothing more than a room with pull up bars and the like. no actual weighs there or anything else that can be used as a weapon for that matter) that was available on days when roof gym was not. having a radio from the commisary was a definate necessity.
Ben: You can play basketball or walk up on the roof. Its called Roof Rec. There's a TV in every cell. There is a gym that used to have weights but took them away because inmates would use them as weapons. We could play checkers and spades. There's a law library for people to do research.
Carl: NONE---A life could be taken over a book

JM: Did you have regular access to the entertainment or was competition fierce? Give details.
Brad: There was no entertainment except the television and yes competition was fierce....many many fights or what to watch.
Brit: never had tv
Chuck: there were typically 2 televisions in both units. one usually tuned to an english station and the other tuned to a spanish language station. choice of program was typically determined by the meanest person in the room. sports is something everyone in the unit seemed to agree on especially where football (both the american version and the european one, aka "soccer") was concerned. acess to board games was fairly easy. decks of cards were available thru commisary.
Ben: Yes I had regular access to entertainment but usually the stronger inmates controlled everything. The TVS went off at 11pm and came back on at 5 or 6am. Most of the time you would have to gamble to play cards. The prisoners that didn't want to gamble had to wait until the cards weren't being used by anyone else to play.
Carl: NONE

JM: Did you have a hard time staying in shape while in jail?
Brad: Personally yes...I gained about 20lbs. during my incarceration because we were confined to such a small area for 23-hours per day.
Brit: yes nothing to do and when you tried to do something the guards would yell at ou
Chuck: i was never truly "in shape" to begin with. if anything the food (or lack thereof) helped me shed a few pounds. however i witnessed many people working out while there so the means are there if you have the desire.
Ben: No I had no problem. I actually got into great shape. We did push ups, pull ups, played basketball and walked.
Carl: YES

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?
Brad: If we were lucky they would call roof-gym about 2-3 times per week.
Brit: never
Chuck: 3 or 4 times a week, for roof gym. and you took it when it was offered.
Ben: If the weather was nice we were allowed to go outside twice a week. We were allowed to play basketball and walk on the roof. If we weren't allowed to go outside you could do push ups and pullups in your cell.
Carl: RoofGym every few days--totally depressing

JM: Did the jail offer church services? If so, what were they like and when were they held?
Brad: The jail gave everyone this complex schedule of services they offerred including bible-study but when I inquired about the services I never got a response.In the 9 1/2months that I was there, they called catholic services maybe 4 times and they called Muslim services about 5 times.
Brit: they did but never called for it
Chuck: church services were available, however each week the different faiths changed (there is only one chapel in the jail and the rotation was neccesary to ensure that all faiths get to use the chapel) roman catholic services were offered once a month.
Ben: Yes they offered services once a week. They made a chapel and an ex inmate that found god would come and preach to the other prisoners.
Carl: I asked----but they seemed to not exist

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