Do the poor need jail?

You’re going to think this is funny.  But if you’re poor, you need jail.  You really do.  That’s where I disappear to.  The food is good and it’s better in the winter; the people are okay to you, except for the guards that try to get up in your kootchie.  And you get some peace.  I mean, you have to know when to go!  You can’t go right after [check day] when everyone’s in there because they’re drunk.  No.  You go middle of the week, slow time, get a few days, get rested, get warm.  See, everyone around here does that.  That’s why we know the cops so well; we see them all the time.  They’re like our landlords.

That is from an interview with Carla, in Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor.


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