On Thursday, Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly proudly unveiled a new sign outside his jail referring to it as the "Green Roof Inn," which is a joke because it's not a hotel. It's a jail. Get it?
“We have a one-star rating and we’re working to lower that as I’m speaking,” says the uniformed jokester in the video above that somehow feels like an even darker version of something you'd see from Tim and Eric.
Continuing with his spoof, the Sheriff points to his green neon sign, which says "vacancy" below it in red, and has a list of "accommodations" that includes hilarious jail jokes like how guests will have no privacy, no meal selection, and group bathrooms and showers.
Well, because the best jokes always need some explaining, Staly broke down his new knee-slapper of a sign to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "It is a warning to potential offenders that the jail is not a 5-star hotel," said the elected official in case any potential criminals don't know the difference between jails and hotels.
Staly goes on to explain that he gladly treats inmates as shitty as possible at the "Green Roof Inn," because it is his duty. "When you get arrested, we provide the minimum accommodations as required by law," Staly tells the News-Journal. "Once an offender checks in, they lose their basic freedoms. They don’t decide what to eat, wear, or do with their day."
Ah yes, because advertising that you treat people like subhumans is the best way to create functioning and productive members of society.
It's odd that Staly seems to forget that not everyone who goes to a county jail is convicted of a crime– some are awaiting trial, some may be found innocent, or they're there on a misdemeanor charge, or they couldn't post bail. And for fucks sake, why joke about treating people like shit?
The thing is, jails don't have to be pits of despair where criminals go in and even worse criminals come out. Yes, clearly Staly is just making a dumb joke, but his views of how jails should function is a window into this country's warped vision of how prisons should function in society.
Treating inmates poorly accomplishes nothing. In Norway the focus is on rehabilitating prisoners instead of storing them in the worst conditions possible. The whole concept of their prison system is to enable inmates to become better prepared to reenter society, which should be a common goal for everyone.
Norway's Halden Prison, for example, has no bars on the windows, a fully functioning kitchen (with knives), offers vocational programs like woodworking, assembly workshops, and it even has a recording studio.