Tips from a Client Who Went Through It and Survived Tent City:
1. Enter on a full stomach. Plan on being in a holding cell for between 18 and 24 hours, both when you enter Tent City, and when being released
2. Dress warmly. It is extremely cold at night, even in the summer. Dress in layers to allow for removal of clothing. Also, you will be sitting on concrete, so it is a good idea to have a jacket or an extra layer of clothes to remove and sit on.
3. Make sure the incarceration paperwork is correct. It is imperative that when you are done being in front of the judge, and you walk up to the court assistant who fills out paperwork, you make sure the paperwork is properly filled out. Make sure it states exactly where you are supposed to be taken to. For example, I was to be taken to Work Release, but it was not specified on my paperwork, so I was taken to the “traditional” tent city which did not have Work Release. It was awful, and this happens a LOT. There were people in there who were waiting weeks to be taken to the correct part of Tent City
4. Stay quiet. It seems to be very easy to make the officers angry… for almost no reason. Take money with you for grooming items, no bills larger than a five dollar bill. Take a book to read.
5. This is no place to make friends. Do NOT make friends there. No one there is your friend. No one.
6. Calling from jail. Most cell phones do not take collect calls. Cell phone carriers must add money to their accounts to accept collect calls. Your one free call will not happen for more than 24 hours, and only to a phone that can accept a collect call. Memorize phone numbers and prepare for this.
7. Food in jail. The food is horrid. Be prepared.