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Inmates And Others Can Complain About Jails On Website

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Many of us use Internet reviews to decide on restaurants, hotels or movies, or for that matter, which cellphones to choose. You can read the experiences of other people and decide how much weight to give those experiences. Turns out the same service is useful for people who use the prison system.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And that's our last word in business today. Attorneys, visitors, employees and inmates have been reviewing jails on the website Yelp. They offer opinions on everything from cleanliness to guard uniforms to abuse and corruption.

The troubled LA County jail gets an average rating of just two stars out of five, though jail officials respond by saying they do take complaints from inmates seriously.

INSKEEP: Jail visitors in other places can get information on parking before they arrive. And maybe parents could use these reviews, if they ever decide to use the Scared Straight tactic on their teens.

MONTAGNE: Yes, a reviewer of King County jail in Seattle puts it this way: This was the worst experience of my life, and I am a combat veteran from Iraq.

And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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