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Fairfax County Jail

10520 Judicial Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030-5197
(703) 246-2100

Interview with Marco, Juan and Emilio

JM: How long was your sentencing for?
Marco: 4 months jailtimei and 6 months probation.
Juan: 30 years "old law" (meaning I was still eligible for parole...Virginia did away with parole for any crimes committed after January 1, 1995).
Emilio: Accesory-364 days, 350 days suspended misdemeanor time served 7 days 1st DUI- 180 days, 140 suspended misd. served 20 days 2nd DUI 364 days, 334 suspended served 25 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?
Marco: Yes. It was pretty much a drunk tank. It was about 10:30 in the morning. I was in there from 10:30am to 12:30pm. There's no clock.
Juan: Very briefly. They took me back to my cell block very quickly. I was brought out later that evening to talk to a counselor to see if I had any suicidal thoughts. I didn't, so they put me back in my cell block.
Emilio: There are 3 levels after intake into the jail: 1: A holding cell where you are put with 20 or so other inmates from new arrests to transfers and even those coming down to court on the day of their trial. This is by far the most unpleasant part of the experience. Many people going through withdrawals, very agitated ready to fight, only eat horrible sandwhiches and bright lights on 24 hours. 2. After 24-48 hours and being classified you are moved to "DT's" very small old dirty units with 3-4 rows of cells on either side and 2 people to each cell. Here is where you will get your first hot meals and an opportunity to shower. 3. After another 24-72 hours you are moved to your permanent unit. For non violent offenders you get sent to the "new side" or for short sentences to PRC more freedom and comfort in both options than those doing real time. If you are considered a violent offender you may land 2 places, either B floor which is the worst place to be housed comfort wise, it is one floor up from DT's but the space is equally confined and old. Being on B floor is doing pretty hard time. Most offenders beg to get sent to prison rather than serve lengthy sentences in this unit. 3rd floor is much more open and spacious but if you are there you are with "the big boys" murder, robbery, rape suspects and convicts. Drug traffickers etc. 3rd floor has several units segregated from one another but monitored from a centralized command station. 4th floor is reserved for disciplinary or lockdown inmates. Youalso can land in the hole or psych ward but don't know much about what those places entail.

If you or somebody you know is heading to the Fairfax County Jail you probably want to know what to expect. The links on the left lead to interviews from ex-inmates of the Fairfax County Jail who share information about what life inside the jail is really like.

Pretrial and Sentencing
People in this court jurisdiction have had the experience that they had a choice between serving jail time and only being on probation, but by agreeing to serve jail time, they were able to have the crime cleared off their record in the end. You may want to talk to your attorney to see if this is a possibility in your case.

Time Off for Good Behavior
To deal with the problem of overcrowding, many jails release inmates early who don't cause problems in the jail. Fairfax County Jail participates in this type of a program. Inmates who are serving time for misdemeanors can get up to 75% off their sentenced time, and felony inmates can get up to 35% off. To get the good time, you need to refrain from fighting and violence, and stick to the jail rules.

The food in this jail doesn't get very good reviews. Ex-inmates say that the portions are big enough but the food itself isn't very good. Snacks are available through commissary, but even if you have money on your books, commissary is a privilege you can lose for breaking rules.

One inmate reported that occasionally the guards would allow the inmates to pool money together and the guards would go out and buy a bunch of cheeseburgers for the inmates. Something else unique to Fairfax County Jail is that family members can bring food to inmates at visitation as long as it is in a sealed container.

If you need medications while you are in the Fairfax County Jail, you need to make a request, and the jail is generally pretty responsive to these requests. If you ask for medical attention you will usually see a nurse within 30 minutes or so. However, if you are caught abusing drugs during your stay, you will lose privileges including non-necessary medications that you may request (such as ibuprofen for a headache).

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