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Pickleball has come to the Arlington County jail

The hottest new pickleball club is the Arlington County Detention Facility.

Two weeks ago, the jail inaugurated its new pickleball court — installed by Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation — with a three-day tournament.

Two dozen inmates matched up for “thrilling competitive play” after receiving lessons from an inmate services counselor and the parks department, according to Arlington County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Amy Meehan. (In addition to other assorted law enforcement duties in Arlington, the Sheriff’s Office runs the jail.)

The new pickleballers came from three rehabilitative programs in the jail: the Addictions, Corrections and Treatment program, the Community Readiness Unit and the inmate work program.

“Participants learned, practiced and played for three days, reviewing the rules and demonstrations from Parks and Rec, culminating in a pickleball tournament where they had the opportunity to form teams and compete in doubles matches,” Meehan said.

After the tournament ended, Sheriff Jose Quiroz attended the championship match and shared a small presentation, she noted.

Quiroz first floated the idea of a pickleball court while campaigning for Sheriff ahead of the Democratic primary this June, to improve the health of inmates and stave off burnout among sheriff’s deputies.

“Participation was great and each morning when staff arrived, the individuals were already practicing and playing,” Meehan said. “Equipment was provided for individuals who want to continue playing and several not only thanked staff for providing them this opportunity but also were given locations where they will be able to play in Arlington upon release.”

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