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El Paso County Jail

12501 Montana Avenue
El Paso, TX 79938
(915) 856-4802

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Life On The Inside
Just as there are two sides to every story there are also two versions of jail life. One is presented by the sheriff's department running a detention center and the other from actual inmates. The official presentation of the El Paso County Jail states that it was opened in 1997 and can house up to 1,450 inmates.

There are 8 floors with 6 separate blocks per floor to house the inmates. According to the website, "There are a variety of services and programs available to our inmate population to include but not limited to twenty-four hour medical services, adult educational programs such as GED and ESL, Religious Programs, Work Programs, and Commissary."

We're also told that their approach is to minimize confrontation by minimizing inmate movement. This is why each of these housing units remains self contained so that anything the inmates need is brought to them. This makes it all sound very organized and efficient. Actually it is organized, but according to a former inmate it is really the gang hierarchy in the jail which keeps things in order. For instance, the inmate interviewed for this site stated that the gang will expect a "taste" off an inmate's commissary account. This is quickly given up to avoid trouble.

Twice a week inmates are given access to the top floor "sun porch" were they can play basketball or wall ball. There is also a library made available for inmates to check out books or do their own legal research.

Good Behavior Policy
The best position for an inmate to get into is as a trustee. As a trustee they can earn 3 days off for every day served on their sentence. A trustee is also given more privileges like extra food or phone time. To be a trustee also means to stay in the good graces of the staff. Any discipline problems could mean having that status stripped away.

Visitor and Phone Policy
Any visitor who shows up to El Paso County Jail will not only have to present a photo I.D. but they are also subjecting themselves to a search of their belongs. Every visit lasts only 20 minutes.

Visitors are also required to wear appropriate clothing. This basically applies to the women who aren't allowed to see-through blouses, tank tops, halter tops or low-cut neckline. Also, no shorts or short dresses. A phone call will cost around $10 for 20 minutes of conversation.

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