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Sheriff Removes Hoops from Jail; Donates to Church

Sheriff Removes Hoops from Jail; Donates to Church

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Tampa Bay Tribune via YellowBrix

December 25, 2010

BARTOW, FL – First he switched the jail menu to dish up cheaper food.

Then he changed the TV options to up educational viewing and curb sports and violence.

Now Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is rejecting basketball; he had inmates uproot the jail’s hoops.

“This is a county jail; it is not a gymnasium,” Judd said today. “It’s not some place where inmates can show up to have pickup games of basketball with their thug friends.”

Such moves can have drawbacks, said Don Leach, former vice president of the American Jail Association.

Jail inmates – usually males ages 18 to 35 – need an outlet for their energy and, if left to their own devices, will find things to do, like causing problems for each other or deputies, Leach said.

Taking away privileges such as basketball, he said, also “minimizes the opportunity to positively control behavior. When you take everything away from somebody, they have nothing left to lose.”

Of the 2,000 or so jail inmates in Polk, about 42 percent are awaiting trial. The average jail stay is 21 days, according to the sheriff’s office.

Psychiatrist Terry Kupers, author of “Prison Madness: The Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About It,” said a huge percentage of jail inmates have mental health issues.

“There are very few things in jail for people to do,” he said. “This is a group of people that are in an extreme situation, and you’re taking one more thing away.”

Removing basketball hoops wouldn’t work in the state’s prison system, said Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections.

Prisoners serve longer sentences and keeping them busy with recreation and educational and vocational activities helps keep them out of mischief.

“It’s also a disciplinary tool because if an inmate misbehaves, he might lose the privilege to play,” Plessinger said.

Judd isn’t buying worries about a possible rise in violence.

“First off, we didn’t see any indication of that when we stopped them from smoking in the jail, which I think was a much larger issue than not playing basketball,” he said. “And if they want to play basketball and don’t want to be cooped up, stay out of jail.”

He said inmates can still do pushups, jumping jacks or jog “in a little circle.”

Judd, who has been sheriff for six years, said the county jail has had basketball hoops for at least 30 years.

The hoops now are headed to nine local churches.

“We had the option of scrapping the basketball goals at a scrap yard, which would have brought us virtually nothing,” he said. “Or we could spread Christmas cheer.”

  • New_unit_max50


    over 3 years ago


    It is amazing how EVERYBODY in various associations comes down on the side of the locked up dirt bags. Even to old convicts speak poorly of the crop of inmates locked up today. And for you lideral association groups there is a difference in inmates and convicts. If you don't believe it next time your in a facility "sticking your nose it" find an old convict and ask them the difference. Convicts you don't havea problem with unless there is a problem and they will tell you first

  • Ycso-patch_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Fantastic! Nice to see some people still understand that jail is for punishment, not a retreat center... and DaddyD, you are correct, we here in AZ agree

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    If you have any questions on how to run a jail. Just ask Sheriff Joe in Maricopa Co AZ. I am sure he will more than glad to give pointers.

  • Gun_show_max50


    over 3 years ago


    If you want to shoot hoops, stay out of jail. Good job Grady. There's plenty of violence with the hoops in place and if they decide to try to make more, we'll just have to crack down in other areas. Sorry guys, you didn't come here for vacation.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    I live in the next county and retired 20 years from the Sheriffs Office and Grady Judd is got the riight idea.He also backs up his Deputies and doesn't care about liberal media. Goodm job.

  • Constable_star_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I agree! They are there for punishment not recreation.

  • Guns_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I agree with the sherriff. I am tired of fighting people who recently paroled or served sentence and return to society as a better criminal physically and mentally. I dont have time to work out 8 hours a day. Why should we make them better warriors. I say give them twinkies, soda and tons of TV. Let em play cards, dominoes or whatever. Weights should be OUT. At least when they leave prison they may have learned new tricks but they cant run like a gazelle or fight like a lion. Have we not learned anything from Sherriff Joe? His recidivism is down, why dont we all follow suit? Just my two cents!

  • Images_max160_sq90_max50


    over 3 years ago


    repercussions :( bump Rmatayabas & Ashurbanipal

  • Vegas-1-28-2011__51__max50


    over 3 years ago


    its a fine line ... with out some form of recreation all they do is have time to combat the staff...

  • Img_1155_max50


    over 3 years ago


    doesnt sound like a good idea to me

  • 321509_10150337897876897_990467885_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I think that this is a great idea! I agree with what officer Gino said. I mean seriously, the inmates are in jail, not a gym. If they stay out of trouble, they can smoke and play basketball as much as they would like.

  • 1979_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Amadeus, you have one thing wrong, that IS the Sheriff's property to do with it as he wishes. He is allowed to do that because the people elected him to this Office giving him those rights to run the jail and dispose of property that belongs to the Sheriff's Office as he sees fit so long as he does not personally benefit. You might wish to bone up on the law before you start accusing someone of theft.
    Pnut, I am sorry but you are so far out there in your beliefs that one can only shake their head. Please state where you get your facts? You can't because they are not true. This is not Europe and thank God for that. If you believe Europe has the answer then by all means feel free to move there. I am sure that you will have a change of heart soon and if not, all the better, just stay there and enjoy.

  • Reblemac_max50


    over 3 years ago


    pnut you must check your numbers. You are right that Europe does not have the crime that we do they have more. Also check out Tent City, AZ brought to you by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, jail can be a deterrent. Sorry man you are just wrong on this one and Amaradus you are just dumb!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Hey! "Amaradus"! Allow me to give you back some of your OWN twisted logic .....We've got a (so-called) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES who is breaking the law-meaning THE CONSTITUTION-HE is sworn to uphold, and he's being praised for it EVERY DAY! So why can't a Sheriff be praised for doing it every now and then, as well? FAIR IS FAIR, right?

  • Wings_max50


    over 3 years ago



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