Inmates, their families, and lawyers are posting reviews of prisons and jails on Yelp, the popular consumer reviews site, but they may or may not be accurate, reports the Washington Post. “At no time did the officer violate any of my constitutional privileges and even gave me a juice box after I said I was thirsty,” reads a review of the Arlington County, Va., Detention Facility. Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur said the facility has neither juice boxes nor other things “Windi L.” referred to in her review.
David Fathi of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union said his group receives 300 to 400 written complaints each month about prison conditions. Yelp reviews could prove powerful, he said. “Prisons and jails are closed institutions, and the lack of outside scrutiny and oversight sometimes facilitates mistreatment and abuse,” Fathi said. “So anything that increases public awareness of prison conditions is a positive thing.”