I sat at the metal table and read the "rules" a couple of times. Not a very good read. It was just a half page of unpleasantness to go with an otherwise unpleasant experience. The others were spreading their bedrolls on the concrete floor. The bunks were already taken by the residents. It was easy enough to tell who they were. They had jumpsuits. We didn't. Even if they didn't have jumpsuits it was still easy to tell who they were.
Almost all of them were black.
Most of them were from a housing project like the one near where I was staying at the time. It was easy to get to jail from there. I knew that first hand.
That was why I was there.
The cops swarmed the projects almost every night looking for trouble. It was easy enough for them to find. No doubt trouble happened there but the cop's presence made it worse than it was. The projects were a de-facto half way house. If you lived there, chances were very high you would wind up in jail. Then they would dig their claws into you. Rather than making any effort to rehabilitate you they would make as hard as possible for you to ever get out. They would burden you with fines and fees you couldn't afford to pay. Then they would limit your movements so you couldn't get away from the toxic environment that brought you to prison in the first place. If you made any small misstep you would be brought back and likely have to stay even longer.
Prisons are big business. It is one of the best ways to make money off of people who don't have any. It is industry with tremendous potential for growth and profits. Your "customers" have no rights. You don't even have to deliver the services you are paid for. Prisoners can't complain about the inedible food or any of the other unlivable conditions they are subjected to. What a great business model! All you need is return customers and they are easy to find.
They are called "The Poor".
It is easy to tell that the real crime that those men in jumpsuits committed was being poor. Sure, they were likely involved in some black market dealings. Some may have committed more heinous acts but, whatever their crime, they were all guilty of poverty.