By Warren Elly
TAMPA - Three high profile cases, three women behind bars, and now all three have a beef with the Hillsborough County Jail. It's all spelled out in a letter written by sex offender _____.
In jail, awaiting their day in court, most pretrial inmates live in open pods, free to use phones, socialize, check the court computer or watch TV.
But act up, and you go to confinement. For example, a woman was put in confinement for having a pen, a potential weapon, without permission.
"I've been in here eight days," she says.
But others end up in confinement because of who they are, not because they broke the rules.
Like ex-teacher _____, who admitted to having sex with two of her students.
Accused lotto killer _____, and alleged baby snatcher _____ are also in confinement. Jail officials defend their isolation, saying it's for safety reasons.
"Everybody's heard the term, 'jailhouse justice.' Well, there's not going to be any jailhouse justice here, and we're going to ensure people's safety," said Colonel Jim Previtera.
- So why aren't you doing anything to prevent "jailhouse justice?"
Still, the three women, held together in confinement, began to press jail officials for improvements. _____ wrote a handwritten letter to Previtera suggesting that that their confinement ought to have the same privileges folks do in general population.
"It would pose little to no security risk to allow confinement inmates to attend GED or church services," _____ wrote. She and the others also lobbied for free access to phones and the like, instead of only an hour a day in confinement pods.
"What they're asking us for is the luxury of choosing how the jail is operated," Previtera said.
Any free interaction between confinement inmates would put folks in danger, and that's why he says, everything, from books to meals, are brought to individual cells.
Previtera said _____ got credit for a well-written letter, but still Previtera said "we're satisfied we're doing things right."
Of the three women, only Pereira remains in confinement, and that, says Previtera, is by her own choice.
"The strictest law sometimes becomes the severest injustice.." - Benjamin Franklin