Hey Everybody, Let's Play Jail!

jail cell
Flickr photo by Tim Pearce, Los Gatos
At my local tot park, the neighborhood kids play in a big plastic house; at a playground in a housing project in Brooklyn, New York, the kids play in a jail -- an orange jungle gym with bars and a cell door, stamped with the word "Jail."

The playground is in a community that, with six others, makes up the majority of the prison population in New York.


Kids have been playing in the "jail" since 2004, when the playground was erected. For six years, noone has formally complained about the play jail. But earlier this week, after writers at Black and Brown News and Brownstoner criticized it, a city worker was sent to remove the lettering and bars and paint over it.

One mom, who lives in the project, said, "I don't think they should put that in a neighborhood where many Blacks and Latinos go to jail. My son will ask me, 'Mommy, if I go in there will I go to jail?'"

What do you think about a playground jail? Offensive and sending the wrong message? Or no big deal if the kids want to play cops and robbers?

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