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The Shortest Jail SentenceS Ever

Written by on September 15, 2023

Most people spend a few days or hours in jail waiting to get bailed out. Jail often serves as a holding cell that people get in and out of fairly quickly. Most people are able to post bail and await trial from home and continue on with their daily lives, but some aren’t able to get out on bail and are therefore forced to await trial from their cell. Here are the stories of two of the shortest jail sentences ever recorded.

With this wide range of time segments that people spend in jail, the average time spent there is difficult to nail down, but in general, it can be from a few hours or days to a few months before they go to trial.

Here are a few cases where people spent such little time in their cell that it hardly counts as a sentence at all.

Joe Munch

Joe Munch is an interesting character. While off duty one day, he stumbled down to a bar and was later found drunk by a police officer. His military supervisor was less than pleased, to say the least, and he was taken to the county jail for his drunken and disorderly conduct.

Gone in 60 Seconds. Joe Munch holds the record for the… | by Dale M.  Brumfield | Medium

He was taken to court for his drunken disorderliness, and the verdict was that he should spend a whole minute in county jail, not a second more, nor less.

The judge ordered Joe out of his sight lest he change his mind and gave him a heavier sentence for his trouble. Prior to his one-minute sentence, he was originally sentenced to 30 days in jail by Judge Gordon but the case was taken to a higher court.

In total, 6 months of legal action were taken to sentence Joe to one minute in jail. The reasoning behind the one-minute sentence was to teach Joe a lesson.

This is one of the shortest jail sentences ever, a one-minute record that probably won’t ever be beaten.

Shane Jenkins

Shane Jenkins is another who holds a record for having one of the shortest jail sentences ever.

Capitol riot update: FBI arrests Shane Jenkins, of Houston |

This citizen of the UK was also held for being drunk and disorderly, plus he was threatening his ex-girlfriend. He threatened to break her window, left, and came back with a broom to serve as a tool for the job.

He smashed the glass and police were called to the scene. Jenkins resisted arrest and got away. While he initially escaped his arrest, he was taken to court, sentenced to 50 minutes in jail, and ordered to write apology letters.

His letters were shorter than his time in prison. Upon release, he had written a letter to his partner apologizing for the smashed window, and another letter to the police officers he ran from. In his letter to the officers, he apologized for his actions and stated that he intended no harm. It was a “spur-in-the-moment decision” for Jenkins.

He blamed his bad behaviour on drugs and alcohol, so in addition to his 50 minutes of prison time, he was ordered to complete 80 hours of community service and rehabilitation.

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