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Leisure Time

Interview with Darrin and Jessica

JM: What types of facilities were available to help pass the time?
Darrin: there is not really anything to pass the time in Montcalm County Jail. the only thing provided by the jail is chess and checker games and one TV that 4-20+ people have to share. the guards rarely let people out to get books from the jail library. if in max you get an hour of TV a day and nothing more.
Jessica: you rarely got to go to the gym and there was nothing but a big gym to walk around. Some book shelves with books you could take back to your cell. TV is in every cell...the officers control some cells tvs. There is nothing constructive to do at all. Church is held on sundys for 15 to 30 mins depending on population. Officers are in charge of allowing inmates to walk in the gym...rarely allow you to do that...sleep and a 13"tv is what you have.

JM: Did you have regular access to the entertainment or was competition fierce? Give details.
Darrin: in Montcalm County Jail the guards control the TV and they have the power to put what ever they want on the TV if they don't want to let the inmates chose. the only other entertainment there is chess, checkers, and playing cards. most people there that play cards ply spades or Euchre.if you are not a card player there is not really anything for you to do unless you like watching sports or westerns.
Jessica: TV was difficult in some cells. Most of the time I didn't want to watch tv anyways it was mounted on the wall a 13"inch box tv is hard to watch from across the room. Also if the cell gets the tv taken away it gone all day then your left with nothing but the chatter of the other cell mates.

JM: Did you have a hard time staying in shape while in jail?
Darrin: yes. there is no work out equipment at all. once a week to once a month inmates get to go to the gym to walk for 30min to an hour; but there is no place to sit down and rest.
Jessica: There is nothing really to do. You have limited space to work out in a cell with 10-12 people. Plus if the officers on duty didn't want you working out they wouldn't let you.

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?
Darrin: there is no outside access at Montcalm County Jail for inmates. there re a couple large vents that get opened up in the summer in the gym for fresh air when and if you get to go walk in the gym.
Jessica: We where never allowed to go outside. The gym in the summer time has a garage door kinda thing half way up the way with a cage on it they open sometimes to let us smell the fresh air.

JM: Did the jail offer church services? If so, what were they like and when were they held?
Darrin: yes there church services on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening that are non-denominational. there are no services for any other faith; although the non-denominational does try to cater to all christian faiths. if you are Native American, wiccan, Buddhist, Hindu, Scientology, Jewish, etc. they do not minister to your faith.
Jessica: They did allow church services on sunday. Like I said before they ran 15-30 mins depending on the population number. Also they allowed bible study for the women on Monday night only if the officers were not to busy booking people in... They sometimes wouldn't let the church ladies in.

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