The booking or intake process takes place immediately after the arrestee is taken to jail and consists mainly of background checks and fingerprinting. The procedure is influenced by the type of jail and by each arrestee's individual situation. For example, in a City Jail, the process will be shorter, whereas in a County Jail booking can take from 2 to 12, even 20 hours. Some jails have a different philosophy or a better set up.
In general, upon entering the secured area of the facility arrestees are pat searched. All personal property should be removed from the arrestee, especially items that can be used to commit suicide with, as belts or shoe laces. Arrestees are placed in a waiting area or cell until the jail personnel will get around to processing them. If the jail is busy, this can take a while.
Generally, releases take priority over new intakes. Strip searches have been ruled illegal for unsentenced inmates by The US Supreme Court. However, arrestees can be subjected to observation searches that are similar but deemed legal.
Steps in The Booking Process
- The arrestees will answer routine questions designed to collect basic identifying information and guarantee their safety and the security of the other inmates. Routine booking question may inquire about:
- Name, aliases, and address.
- Personal details as height, weight, eye color.
- Birth date.
- Social Security Number.
- Other routine questions are the ones asking about a spouse’s name and the next of kin.
- Arrestees may be asked to give details about
- Their place of employment,
- Mental and medical history,
- Current consumption of drugs or alcohol,
- Current possession of weapons, and
- Gang affiliation. Gang affiliation will impact where they'll be assigned to housing in jail.
- Arrestees have their fingerprints and mugshots taken.
- Arrestees are issued inmate IDs.
- The personal possessions of arrestees, for example, wallets, cell phones, will be taken away and stored until they are released.
- In the booking process, jails perform background checks and must wait for Homeland Security and other State Agencies to confirm that the person in custody doesn't have warrants in another Jurisdiction before they are cleared to Bail Out and be released.
Traditional Booking Settings
In the traditional Intake/Booking setting, common to most jails, inmates are moved between holding cells as they carry out the booking process. In some jails, going through the intake process has been described by inmates as being the toughest part of the jail experience.
What makes booking a tough process?
- The tanks used to hold inmates at this time are hard-cemented and crowded. Sometimes even dirty. Arrestees only receive cold meals during this procedure.
- The process at this jail can be very long, taking even 21-24 hours, as a lot of arrests are brought here.
- Only one cell in the loop has a working phone in it, meaning arrestees have fewer chances of making phone calls during their first day in jail.
After the intake process, inmates are assigned to housing.
Modernized Booking Settings
Some jails have implemented new operational philosophies. For example, Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility (LCDRF), the primary point of intake for women prisoners in San Diego County, opened in August 2014, implemented an Open Booking model.
- Arrestees are seated in an open seating area and are called to the different areas of the booking process, such as medical screening or booking.
- Cells are used to hold only those arrestees whose actions and classification level require separation or special treatment.
- After the arrestee goes through one segment, she returns to the seating area and awaits to go through the next booking step.
- Arrestees have access to telephones and restrooms.
San Diego's Sheriff Department site announces that the Open Booking area will be equipped with a body scanner meant to assist in the detection and prevention of drugs and contraband.
After the booking process is complete, defendants can post bail and get discharged from jail. The release process will take as long as booking as the same background checks have to be redone.
Discharge from a City Jail can be a short process, taking 15 minutes. In most County Jails, the release process will take a few hours.
The quicker you contact a bail bond agent and bail is posted, the faster your loved one will be released from jail and transfers will be avoided. Contact King Triton Bail Bonds as soon as possible for skilled and prompt bail bond services.