Posted on Aug 03, 2013

It still doesn’t come with a mint and turn-down service, but the ambience at the old Graybar Hotel has improved – at least for inmates in one California town who are willing to pony up extra cash during their stay in jail. 

The Fremont Detention Center in Fremont, Calif., now has a “pay-to-stay” program that allows certain inmates to serve their time at a “modern, clean and efficiently operated jail facility, which is an alternative to serving time in the Alameda County Jail,” according to the center’s website. That last part of the description seems to imply the regular jail won’t be winning any stars from travel agents any time soon.

Inmates who qualify for the upscale digs must pay $155 per night, plus a one-time $45 processing fee. But a word of caution : Don’t head out for a wild night on the town with lounging at the pay-to-stay facility as your Plan B. Prisoners wanting to take advantage of the facility must be pre-approved and submit paperwork five days before what the center refers to as an inmate’s “check-in/surrender date.”

Those lucky – and flush enough with cash – to stay at the facility enjoy separate sleeping quarters, access to day room areas, showers and inmate phones, according to the center’s website. If the center threw in free wi-fi, other California hotels might start getting worried.

$145 a night is a little pricy for a hotel stay, but considering the alternative it might be a real bargain. Maybe McLennan County could explore this idea as a way to deal with this year’s budget woes?