Jails: Under the Big Top

Under the Big Top

With the local hoosegow crowded, Boise authorities quickly put up an annex: a big top. Since July 6, nonviolent offenders have served weekend terms under a flashy red-and-white tent ordinarily used for the local fair.

The experiment has inspired some unavoidable clowning around. Captain Tom Taylor of the Ada County sheriff's department jokes that it is hard to persuade prisoners "to wear the little red nose and the funny hair." In fact, the inmates wear their own clothes and are routinely warned to use sunscreen to protect themselves from the hot summer sun. Meals are served at picnic tables, portable toilets...

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