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Multnomah County Jail

11540 NE Inverness Dr
Portland, OR 97220
(503) 243-7600

Interview with Milles, Preston, Lauren, Rosa and Dallas

JM: How long was your sentencing for?
Milles: my sentence was for 30 days in jail and 18 months probation. i had to check in with a p.o. once a month. i also was sentenced to do 80 hrs community service.
Preston: 90-days for the restraining order.. than I was sentenced to 160-months in state prison.
Lauren: I was sentenced to 14 months and 3 yrs. Parole.
Rosa: My sentence was for thirty days.
Dallas: I was in jail for 45 days.

JM: Did you spend time in a holding cell after your sentencing? If so, what was that like? If you didn't where did they they take you instead?
Milles: i did spend about 15 hours in a holding cell. it was awful.i was held in a small cell with about ten to twelve other inmates. there was everyone from drunks to violent criminals in with me.i was a little bit afraid. there was one toilet / sink combo and no toilet paper. the floors were cement and the walls were all made of cinder blocks. there was a bench around 2 sides of the cell that were made of cement. it was cold, and it smelled like sewage.
Preston: Oh, yeah I sat in the holding tank for 12-hours, it was cold, there were no staff to supervise us so if I was attacked then there wouldn`t of been anyone to stop the violence. inmates were smoking cigarettes and crack cocaine.
Lauren: Yes. The holdong cells are scary if you are alone because there are no windows and it scared me to think that i could be forgotten about and be stuck in there for days.
Rosa: Yes I spent time in a holding cell along with other inmates. It was how jail is, just a bunch of people trying to act hard and talk about their case
Dallas: After my sentencing, I did spend time in a holding cell until I was transported back for hours. I was with other inmates waiting to be transferred to the jail as well

Life On the Inside
The Multnomah County Jail can house up to 448. In 2007 alone, the local deputies booked in 40,785 offenders through the system. Although some were only in custody for a few hours that is still a very heavy workload. There has also been an increased workload in what the sheriff's department refers to as "areas of Mental Health, Medical Transports, and Discipline Management."

According to a former inmate who spent time at Multnomah, the initial instinct for a first time inmate is to keep your head down and stick to yourself. However, after a few days the urge for comment contact becomes too great and you begin reaching out to engage with other inmates. Who an inmate decides to talk and become friends with could determine whether or not they're going to have a sentence without conflict or not.

It won't take long to settle into the new routines of jail life and find ways to distract yourself. Inmates have access to TV, books and cards. Three times a week they are allowed outside to the yard for an hour at a time but there is no guarantee they'll get that time.

In terms of the food, apparently everything is "steamed" which means steaming out the flavor. There is always the opportunity to buy snacks from the commissary as long as the inmate has money on their account.

Good Behavior Policy
In the Multnomah County Jail, inmates are awarded one day off for every ten days served. This might not make a lot of difference for someone sentenced to 30 days but it can definitely have an impact on much longer sentences. Earning good times requires inmates to avoid conflict with guards and their fellow prisoners. All it would take is one fight to have all that good time wiped out.

Visit and Telephone Policy
Visitation is considered a privilege and as such can be as quickly taken away as given. When an inmate stays out of trouble, they can have one 30 minute visit per week. These visits are arranged on a first come, first served type of arrangement. Which means that during the regular scheduled visiting hours, you should show up as early as possible to guarantee your position.

Every visitor must present a valid photo ID upon entering the facility. Just as inmates are supposed to be on their best behavior at all times, so too are visitors expected to follow the rules.

Back in the jail, inmates are granted access to phones to make outgoing collect calls. This is also considered a privilege and can be revoked at any time.


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