Monday, December 24, 2012

Celebrating Christmas in jail

Posted By on Mon, Dec 24, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Hopefully, you won't be spending Christmas Eve in the drunk tank, but if some spiked eggnog lands you in the slammer it might be nice to know the Spokane County Jail puts on a pretty good holiday spread.

When asked how inmates celebrate Christmas in jail, Lt. Phillip Tyler with the Sheriff's Office Detention Services says cooks will be preparing a special Yuletide meal for its approximately 600 jail inmates.

Tyler lists quite the feast: Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy (from scratch), mixed vegetables, dinner rolls (from scratch) and pie (also from scratch).

"Almost like home," he says.

Jail Chaplain Roger Swift also plans to conduct "at the cell" religious services, Tyler says, for inmates wishing to observe the holiday behind bars.

"Detention Services understands the importance of trying to create an environment that, if only for a brief period, allows our inmates some of the comforts of the holidays," he says, adding, "within the constraints of jail safety and security." 

The Spokane County Jail Ministries also sponsors Project Hope, which provides Christmas gifts to the children of incarcerated inmates. Tyler says many children of inmates do not receive Christmas gifts as they struggle with absent parents during the holidays.

He notes the gift program operates without any costs to taxpayers.

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Jacob Jones

Staff writer Jacob Jones covers criminal justice, natural resources, military issues and organized labor for the Inlander.