With One Free Jail Call, Who Should I Reach Out To When I Get Arrested?

Anyone who has been incarcerated will tell you that once you are booked, given inmate attire, and assigned to a housing unit, your connection with the outside world is greatly reduced. During the booking process most jails will allow you one free phone call before taking you to your unit. Make it count.

Very few people have a criminal defense attorney’s phone number on speed dial, so the question becomes, whom should you call?

Your Spouse

Obviously if you are charged with domestic violence, calling your spouse is not advisable, but in other cases it may make sense. Ask yourself the following:

Is my spouse one to fall apart or can he/she focus and take care of business?

Is my spouse the type to get mad and hang up or will he/she help me first, and then vent the anger when it is over?

If I am getting a bond, does my spouse have access to enough money to bail me out, or at least the ability to quickly round up the cash through friends and family?

In the news: More young children are getting arrested

A Family Member

Mom, dad, brothers, sisters, adult children are possibilities. Ask yourself the following:

Does our family have the kind of relationships where we stick together no matter what or are they the type to be too embarrassed or ashamed to get involved?

Have we discussed hypothetical reactions to a family arrest and what did they say they would do?

If I am getting a bond, can my family come up with the money or find others who can?

A Friend

A long time, trustworthy friend is a possibility. Ask yourself the following:

Do I have a best friend, who I trust with this information?

Will he/she make it a priority to get in touch with my family, spouse, etc. and keep them informed?

Can I count on this friend to either sign my bond or get in touch with friends and family who will?

Related: More charges after he called me from jail

Now make a choice. Choose one person who you believe will:

Stay calm

Call the jail and get information about you and the bail bond company for help

Will stay focused on your situation until you are either bailed out or denied bail

Will keep others informed on a strictly need to know basis.

Final thoughts: During the stress and chaos of an arrest and booking it is tempting to use the one call to touch base with the person you feel closest to, but you really need to use it like a business call. Run these serious questions through your head and call the person who will advocate for you while you are locked up in the jail. ,

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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.