Inmate Guide

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Cowlitz County Jail Inmates

Most of the inmates at Cowlitz County Jail begin their stay in a holding cell. This can be before and after sentencing and is until the inmate is placed in a permanent cell. The holding cell is rather small, and an inmate may stay anywhere from three to eight hours in there before leaving. Unlike other jailing facilities, Cowlitz County allows inmates to choose cellmates if they know them already. This is only if there is vacancy available. Because inmates are often broken up into similar sentences, there are less quarrelling issues among the inmates. But of course there are fights and problems in each pod, but they can be avoided if desired.

Common behavior
Most inmates choose to keep to themselves and not get involved with other inmates as to not draw attention to themselves. This practice is common in all jailing facilities. Inmates are able to earn time off of their sentences if they work and abide by set programs. Fighting and trouble making must also be avoided. An inmate may earn up to a third of their sentence off.

Cowlitz County Jail has fifteen blocks in its facilities. These blocks are not named but rather are given letters and numbers to identify which are which, such as F5, M4, and F2. Inmates are dispersed throughout the fifteen blocks according to offenses. High risk offenders are kept in one block. Medium risk offenders are kept in another block. And low risk offenders are held in one block. Those inmates in the high risk blocks are on lockdown for twenty-three hours each day. Inmates in medium risk blocks are allowed out of their cells for seven hours each day. Low risk offenders are held in a dorm room and are allowed out all day with little confinement.

Vending machines and medication
Low risk offenders are given access to pop and vending machines during the day. This is nearly always a must since there are no snacks provided between meals. Cowlitz County served three meals a day to each inmate. The food quality is often rated low. But those with money on their books may acquire food in between through the vending machine systems. Inmates also have access to medications when needed. A nurse disperses these each day. But those who abuse drugs lose medication privileges.

Cowlitz County inmates are never allowed outside; instead they are kept in a day room. Here there is extremely high competition for the television. Inmates often exercise to pass the time.

Visitors and phone privileges
Visitors are allowed once a week through glass window visits. There is no personal contact allowed. The wait to see an inmate is rather short compared to other jailing facilities. Inmates also are given phone privileges though the phones do not work at times. The cost varies but averages just over three dollars for a local call and over twenty-three dollars for a long distance call. Inmates often acquire phone cards to make their calls because it is cheaper. All phone calls are screened by the Cowlitz County staff.

Inmates are provided with jail uniforms, which resemble hospital scrubs with match top and bottoms. Both men and women wear the same uniform as well as those in high security blocks.