Inmate Guide

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Fresno County Jail Inmates

Fresno County Jail is quite different from other county facilities in the United States, yet at the same time Fresno County is like any other county facility. Inmates can be sentenced anywhere from a few days to two or more years.

After sentencing takes place and before they are taken to long-term cells, inmates are held in holding cells that are simple in appearance. The holding cells have four walls, a toilet, a sink, and nothing else. These cells are often crowed twenty-four hours of the day and leave little room to sit or stand.

After sentencing inmates are given jail jumpsuits or coveralls, undergarments, a white shirt, socks, and sandals. The jumpsuit colors vary from men to women. Men are provided with red jumpsuits and women are provided with green jumpsuits. Several former inmates have reported that socks are the one article of clothing that is always on high demand. Inmates receive fresh clothing once or twice a week.

New inmates are then taken to their places of dwelling, sleeping, and living for the next weeks and days. Here the cells are called pods. On ten different floors Fresno County Jail has five pods to a floor. These pods are lettered from A to F. Given the ten floors and numerous pods, former inmates have reported that some areas of the jail are cleaner and "better" than others. This depends mostly on those living in the cells and what crimes for which they are sentenced.

How to pass the time
While residing at Fresno County inmates find little to no entertainment. Inmates often pass the time walking around the pods, sleeping all day, or exercising when time permits. However some inmates still find it difficult to stay in shape while others do not. Outside privileges vary from inmate to inmate. Some are allowed outside up to twice a week while others never leave the jail facilities. A small yard is provided for those with outside opportunities. Church services are also offered for those desiring to attend.

Fresno County inmates have phone access nearly all day long. These calls are made collect at around three dollars to connect with ten cents a minute to follow. To keep their inmates safe, the Fresno County staff screens each call. Inmates are also allowed to receive visitors twice a week. These visits are called "no contact" visits as the meetings are made behind glass walls.

Every day inmates receive two meals - one hot and one sack lunch. Former inmates have rated the food quality as low although cookies are at times offered outside of meals. Foods and other items can be bought on commissary. Even as food is easily accessible, medical attention is often difficult to acquire. Because of the amount of inmates at Fresno County, it may take a month to see a doctor. Medications are dispersed by a nurse.

A majority of inmates do not get off on good behavior. But to stay out of trouble many choose to keep to themselves and to not "make friends" with others. Though time cannot be subtracted, time may be added to sentences if drugs are abused while incarcerated.