Citizens Experience Night in Jail

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COLE COUNTY - More than 120 people bedded down behind bars Friday night in the new Cole County Jail to experience life as an inmate. The Cole County Sheriff hosted a "Bed, Breakfast, and Bars" for people ages 17 and up.

Each guest eats dinner and breakfast with their housing unit mates, tours the jail, and sleeps in their own cell. The goal is for the experience to be as realistic as possible. Participants aren't allowed to have cell phones or other electronic devices and will have to follow strict guidelines.

"Being told to go to bed, being told when to get up in the morning, and having no choice in your food is going to be an interesting part for them," Cole County Sheriff Greg White said.

Sheriff Greg White said that the participants will be treated similarly to real inmates, but there will be some exceptions. For instance, people are allowed to bring in some basic toiletries such as toothbrushes, and participants are allowed to leave at anytime if they want. But many guests are up to the challenge.

"We're supposed to be toughing it out, eating jail food, sleeping on the bunks and roughing it," guest Gina Boxberger said.

The Cole County Jail will have another "Bed, Breakfast, and Bars" on Saturday, too. The cost is $30 per person.