Gentle Reader Jeff Wood asks:
"Would some kind soul explain "Max Pod" to this Brit in Italy?"
First you have to understand that a County jail in Texas is not the same as a prison.
A prison is used to house people who have been adjudicated guilty of committing one or more felonies. In order to be in prison, you have to be both A)found guilty; and B) found guilty of a felony.
A County jail is rather different.
County jails holds: A) anyone (in the case of Toadstomp County) awaiting trial for citations (traffic and otherwise) who cannot -- for whatever reason -- bond out;
B) anyone (in the case of Toadstomp County) who is sitting out time for citations (traffic and otherwise);
C) anyone awaiting trial for misdemeanors other than citations, who cannot -- for whatever reason -- bond out;
D) anyone who has been adjudicated guilty in misdemeanor court and sentenced to serve time (in Texas that can be up to a maximum of one year);
E) anyone awaiting trial for felony crimes who cannot -- for whatever reason -- bond out;
F) anyone who has been adjudicated guilty of felony crimes who is awaiting transport to prison;
G) anyone who has been adjudicated guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony, sentenced to probation, who has screwed the pooch on said probation and is awaiting a decision from the Probation Department and the judge on what to do about the case; and last, but certainly not least
H) anyone who has been released form prison on parole, who has screwed the pooch on their parole and is awaiting a decision from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles about what to do about their case.
As you can see, you can have an eclectic bunch in your standard Texas County jail. However, as my buddy MattG says, "You don't want to throw the puppies in with the wolves" so there has to be some way of separating the "puppies" from the "wolves".
At Toadstomp County we have three classifications of custody: Minimum, Medium and Maximum. Well, six actually. Female inmates can never be housed with males, for obvious reasons.
When someone comes into our tender custody we take a look at what their current arrest is, what their criminal history looks like, take a look at any past behaviour problems during any previous stays with us, and several other factors and come up with an initial classification of Minimum, Medium or Maximum.
Obviously traffic offenders sitting out tickets and non-violent misdemeanors are our Minimum inmates. Non-violent felonies, some and all other misdemeanors are typically Mediums, and assaultive felonies with past violent histories are our Maximums.
What I referred to as a "Pod" is actually a "Housing Area". We have two types (four, counting the females): Minimum (MIN) and Maximum (MAX). Minimum classification inmates are only housed in MIN pods. Maximum classification inmates are only housed in MAX pods.
The art comes in when you find out that anyone classified as a Medium can either go into a MIN pod or a MAX pod -- but that's a post for another time.
So. When I say "Max pod" I'm talking about a housing area that holds inmates who are charged with assaultive felonies, who have past violent histories -- either on their rap sheet or in our custody -- and inmates who have been found guilty of a violent felony who are awaiting transport to prison.
Hope that helps.