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The Geography of Justice: Aspen's Pitkin County Jail vs. Maricopa Tent City in Phoenix

Matthew Seyler's picture

If I want a furnished studio apartment, I have to pay for it. Same goes for food, gym membership, cable TV subscriptions and medical care. Funding just the necessities of life depends on me fulfilling several responsibilities, such as generating income and managing money wisely. For Aspen's criminals, it's just “play nice”, and all will be provided. To their credit, Pitkin doesn't seem to give special treatment to VIP guests -- but offers VIP treatment indiscriminately.

So long as we're spending tax money for the above-and-beyond comfort and luxuries of people, wouldn't it be more logical to reward productive, or even just innocent citizens first? Aspen, CO - The Pitkin County Jail fitness center.Aspen, CO - The Pitkin County Jail fitness center.As it stands, many people looking at such a system will feel that the innocent are sacrificed for the guilty, and the victim gets punished twice.

It is important to note that the majority of inmates have been charged with, but not convicted of crimes, and are thus presumed innocent. Once convicted, folks can be held for up to two years without being shipped off to the less cozy state prison, and may be put to work in the community. For those who still think this sounds too soft, know that basketball is restricted to half court, and inmates do not at this time have personal Segway scooters, and must use their own legs to propel themselves from personal day room to multipurpose area during their 8am to 11:30pm free-roaming time. Now I'm not saying I'd trade lives with a Pitkin Jail resident or anything, but if I did some time there and was free to go, I might stay a few extra nights if no pressing business awaited me on the outside. Next, we'll be looking at a place where such statements are reserved for only the most masochistic among us.

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