Collin County Jail – Policy and Procedures: Book-in and Processing

By Allen, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Kyle T. Therrian
Office Number: (972) 562-7549
24 Hr Jail Release: (214) 403-6522

Part 1: Communicating With a Person in Jail
Part 2: Book-in and Processing
Part 3: Medical
Part 4: Assistance of Attorney

Once a person is taken to the Collin County Jail, but before they are taken to a formal jail cell, they have to make it through the book-in and processing area of the jail. The name of this area pretty much defines its purpose; it serves as an area where a person is held until all of his or her information is collected and uploaded into the county criminal justice system. Knowing how a person is processed through this area and to a formal detention area of the jail may seem like unimportant or trivial information, but it can be surprisingly helpful for a person who has been called to the rescue of a recently arrested friend or family member.

When bonding someone out of jail, most people want to know what is happening on the other side of the cinder-block wall. This kind of curiosity is simply a part of determining how urgent the situation is. The decision whether or not to bond someone out immediately can easily be influenced by panic, fear, or anger. With a quick overview of the process, that same decision can transform into a well-informed one.

The book-in and processing procedure will normally take anywhere from 2-4 hours. In the first step of the process, the arresting officer will meet with the jail staff and fill out whatever paperwork is necessary to transfer custody to the jail. While this is happening, a registered nurse meets with the recently arrested person and conducts a short interview to screen for important medical issues. Once the medical screening is complete, the individual is then accepted into the custody of the jail and into a large holding area. One at a time, the jail staff will start collecting information from inmates, including: address, social security, date and place of birth, height, weight, hair and eye color, etc. After biographical information is taken, the jail will also take a photograph of the arrestee, or what many refer to as the “mug shot.” At some point, personal property of the arrestee must also be logged and placed in storage. The duration of this process will always depend upon how many people the jail staff are processing, how well staffed the jail is on a particular evening, and whether all the computer systems are functioning properly. Rarely do all three of these things favor cut in favor of efficiency.

If not being processed, or waiting for processing, a person is waiting for the next wave of people to be transferred to the detention area of the jail. Once a good number of individuals are ready, they will be separated by gender and taken to a locker room type area where they are required to shower and trade their street clothes for a fancy jumpsuit and lace-less shoes. This county-mandated shower is the last step before county-mandated room and board.

Becoming a formal resident of the jail does not mean that an inmate is no longer eligible to bond out of jail prior to trial. Legally, a person is entitled to reasonable bail at any point before the case is resolved. However, people trying to rescue friends and family members from spending significant time in jail want to hit the emergency stop button on this assembly line before it gets that far. Acting diligently within the first two hours of arrest will usually do the trick.

*Kyle Therrian is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice on any case you should contact an attorney directly.

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