Former Inmates Are Reviewing Jails and Prisons On Yelp And Some Of Them Seem Legit

At first, writing a Yelp review for a jail or prison seems like writing a review for McDonald’s — no one is doing much digging to find out if it’s good. Good or bad, we usually Yelp over voluntary places to go to instead of court-ordered ones, but that hasn’t stopped people from leaving reviews of various correctional facilities.

This could seem like a joke and many of them are. Almost every jail and prison listed has one wisecracker calling it a great vacation spot. Having a lame sense of humor isn’t illegal, but you can only hear the same bad joke so many times before you wish it was at least a fineable offense. Still, not everyone on these pages is trying to be funny. Some of them read like legitimate reviews meant to expose conditions and give families and friends of those incarcerated important information.

As University of Michigan social justice scholar Reuben Miller told Tech Insider, these reviews are one way inmates can increase transparency and influence change. “This is all part of a larger movement,” Miller said. “State officials and criminal Justice actors are being monitored in a different kind of way, and this could lead to more humane relationships.” Here’s a sampling.

Riker’s Island:

Screen shot 2015-09-14 at 4.30.38 PM
Screen shot 2015-09-14 at 4.32.42 PM

San Quentin State Prison:

Screen shot 2015-09-14 at 4.44.18 PM
Screen shot 2015-09-14 at 4.48.09 PM

Cook County Department of Corrections:

Screen shot 2015-09-14 at 4.51.27 PM
Screen shot 2015-09-14 at 4.54.32 PM

[Tech Insider]

Tags: prisons, reviews, yelp