Legal Studies Class Visits Passaic County Jail

By Alexa Soroka and Aseel Dabour

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The Wayne Hills legal studies class recently visited Passaic County Jail to chat with inmates and gain a new perspective on the realities of prison life.

The jail, located in Paterson, New Jersey, provides 40 annual tours of their facility, as well as inmate visitations. When visiting the prison, students enrolled in legal studies were able to participate in both events.

As Jenna Boguslavsky, legal studies student, mentions, jail is not how it is portrayed on television or in movies.

“In the TV shows, it’s loud, there is a lot going on, and everyone seems mean and scary. In reality, it’s pretty quiet, and most inmates look sad and rundown. It’s really cramped since there are several people in one cell.”

Interestingly enough, most prisoners are asleep all day and are awake and rowdy at night.

Additionally, inmates aren’t as self-reliant as it may seem. Service units at the jail constantly tend to the needs of prisoners, whether it’s doctors visits, dental check-ups, or nurses who make three trips to every innate housing area per day.

Boguslavsky also shares experiences from the inmate visitation period, where her class was able to talk with three different inmates.

“Most were in there for drugs. Two of them were addicted to heroin, one addicted to crack. Most tried other drugs too. There was one prisoner and he was a middle-aged, bald, white man. He was staring at me and was very close. Too close for comfort.”

The experience that the students gained from visiting the prison taught them about a realistic aspect of life, that things aren’t always how they seem on TV.

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