Getting arrested is a frightening experience, particularly if you do not know what to expect once you arrive at the jail. While booking procedures differ slightly from jail to jail, the actual process is essentially the same.
When a suspect arrives at the jail for the first time, a law enforcement officer asks a series of questions, including legal name, address and other personal information. The booking officer will also perform a computer search to determine whether or not the suspect has a criminal history, aliases, ties to the community or outstanding warrants.
Any weapons or contraband, as well as all personal belongings, such as books, wallets, cell phones, etc. will be taken from the inmate. Inmates can also expect to be searched in order to determine whether or not they are attempting to smuggle contraband items.
Fingerprinting, Mugshots and Health History
All prisoners are fingerprinted, either using the traditional ink method or via an electronic fingerprinting machine. Prisoners are photographed for identification purposes. A nurse will perform a medical screening, and document the health history of the inmate, including current medications. Inmates will also receive an ID bracelet and a uniform to wear while they are in jail.
Charges And Bail
At some point during the booking process the prisoner will have the charges explained and will be given a copy of the charges, as well as bail information. After the inmate has provided the booking clerk with their personal information and the charges have been read and explained to the inmate, this information is stored in the computer database system for records and future reference.
Contrary to what is often depicted in television and movies, prisoners are allowed to make more than one phone call once they are booked and assigned to a cell. Immediately after the booking process, inmates are allowed 15 minutes of free phone time and are allowed subsequent phone time after that as well. In some facilities, each cell has a phone inside of it and inmates are allowed to make unlimited collect phone calls.