Jail Calls: More charges after he called me from jail, why?

Many times when a loved one is arrested and taken to jail, there isn’t time to ask for details. He is put in a squad car and driven away, leaving you wondering why he was accused, what evidence they have and whether or not he did it. But be very careful because all calls from the jail to an outside phone are recorded. The temptation to get information when he phones from jail will be great, but do him a favor and don’t let him discuss his case.

From start to finish, every word that is said is preserved for the purpose of listening to it later and using the information as evidence. In most cases, at the start of the call, you will hear a pre-taped voice letting you know that the call is being recorded. Keep in mind that machines can malfunction, so even if that voice doesn’t come on the line with that warning, you need to assume the call is being recorded and saved.

The only exception to this rule is if the inmate is speaking with his attorney. Some jails have phones specifically designed to dial the numbers of local attorneys. The conversation between the inmate and an attorney is privileged and confidential and cannot be recorded or used against the inmate in any way.

While the jail doesn’t listen to every single outgoing call, it is not worth the risk to discuss your boyfriend’s case with him on the phone. One of the jail’s responsibilities is to listen to calls. Some jails use a computer program that chooses which calls to listen to. Others simply plug in an inmate’s phone code and start listening to calls he or she made that day. There are also jails that have programs that will pull calls containing certain words or phrases grouped together. You want to be sure that any conversation you have can withstand scrutiny.

In addition to the calls being used to strengthen the case at hand, evidence gathered from phone calls can lead to more charges. For example, your boyfriend is charged with burglarizing the neighbor’s house, and on the phone he tells you he is glad it’s only one charge because he also burglarized his boss’s house and his place of employment the week before he was arrested. If that is a call that is randomly selected for examination, he could find himself charged with several additional burglaries.

Final thoughts: Being separated by an arrest causes anxiety and the first thing you want to do is talk to him and find out exactly what happened. As comforting as it may be to hear him detail his case so you will have the facts, that conversation could destroy his attorney’s ability to fight the charges. Find other things to talk about so he has a better chance at coming home.

Staying connected to your inmate

Inmate Telephone System

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writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.