A night behind bars in Buchanan County Jail - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

A night behind bars in Buchanan County Jail

INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) -- It's something we generally don't condone at KWWL -- Friday night, News Channel Seven's Colleen O'Shaughnessy spent the evening locked up in Buchanan County Jail.

She didn't commit any crimes. The new County Jail is opening later this week. But before the real inmates are booked, more than a dozen people spent the night in a cell of their own. Colleen reports on her short stint behind bars:

About two dozen people arrived at 6:00 Friday night, pillows in hand. You could tell everyone was pretty excited, but also a little nervous as they took us through the booking process. Even with a sleeping bag, the steel benches don't look very forgiving.

"Sleeping on a steel bed, I'm not looking forward to that. I might try to stay up a little later tonight!" said Quasqueton Mayor Lee Bossom.

Bossom is just one of many people you would never expect to see locked up. Like Assistant Chief of Police Darwin Meyer and his adorable little girl, Marina.

"Once we came here to visit tonight she decided she wanted to stay. So we're bunking in a cell," Meyer explained.

He admitted, this is one unlikely place for father-daughter bonding time. But Marina was having a blast, and had no problem redesigning the inmate uniform.

"I want them in polka dots and a dress," she said.

Dad said -- he'll see what he can do.

As the night goes on, people seem to naturally settle into the inmate lifestyle. Everyone has a deck of cards, and even as the ticking hands approached midnight, most of them were going strong.

Unfortunately, I had to pull my "Get Out of Jail Free" card. After all, I do have a little dog at home waiting for me. But I was only gone for a couple hours, arriving bright and early to help wake the other inmates up. When I walked in at 4:30 a.m. the jail was silent. Corrections Officer Wilson had no problem giving them a 5:00 a.m. wake up call over the intercom.

Even though breakfast was waiting, the crew didn't move too fast. The overall verdict on a night in jail was mixed.

"It wasn't too bad, it wasn't as bad as I thought," said Jess Ender.

Bossom disagreed, "it was long. Awful."

"It wasn't very comfortable sleeping last night," added a groggy Meyer.

But as they sat around eating breakfast, it was clear everyone had a great experience. And nearly twelve hours after we got booked, it was finally time for me to go home and take a good, long nap.

The Sheriff asked Friday night's inmates to donate at least $25 for their experience. All the proceeds are going toward the Buchanan County Food Pantry. If you'd like to view the new $4 million Buchanan County Jail, stop by the open house Saturday and Sunday from 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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