Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Austin's Jails Get Slammed on Yelp
In Austin and abroad, citizens have taken to Yelp to review jails and prisons.

Update (June 23, 2014): More reviews are in – and since this post was written, Travis County Jail's Yelp rating has risen a whole star. It now has a 2.5 rating.

Here's more Austin Yelp news:

Listen: The Worst Yelp Reviews of Barton Springs and Mount Bonnell

Looking for a Cheap Pabst Blue Ribbon? Austin's Hipster Map Can Help

Original story: With the news that Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg may be leaving the hoosegow, corrections officers may be looking over their shoulders, hoping that the county’s highest ranking law officer doesn’t write them a bad review.

But Lehmberg wouldn’t be the first to leave a jail bad feedback on Yelp.

Folks turn to the customer review website Yelp to praise a restaurant with the best gluten-free sweet potato tamales in town or even to show some love for City Hall's parking garage, they also use the site to review some of the cagier places in town – namely Austin jails.

For the most part, the reviews aren’t what you’d expect.Travis County Jail, where Lehmberg is spending her time, has one and a half stars on Yelp.

While Yelp users may not be praising the pokey, topaz m. cited an “amusing fake fist fight” and “some young kids who told a story about shooting at cops” as passable entertainment. And former inmate Mike L. said “some of the staff are decent,” but he added that many of them are “on a power trip."

User Don R. advised some visitors to avoid bringing cell phones and “really just shut your mouth and sit there. Always.” He also offered suggestions on entertainment while you patiently, penitently wait for release, including counting freckles (he has 39 on his forearms) and singing a song  (Don suggested Willie Nelson’s “Tougher than Leather.”)

Meantime, over at the Austin City Jail, user Jenny L. writes that lockup “opened her eyes” and that she learned a valuable lesson from her stay, but she also complained about the jail’s lack of “vegan entrees” and limited blanket availability.

User Ba L. gave a glowing review of the city jail. He works as a DNA collector, but says that the jail is both “orderly” and enjoyed that the drama was “behind closed doors” and not out in central booking.

Ba L. also noted that, “It is freezing cold in there in the middle of summer which is great for keeping humidity down and odors at bay.”

Got any reviews on either clink? Let us know in the comments section or, better yet, take to Yelp.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
Related Content