If you’re viewing my website, you may be searching for an attorney for someone who has recently been arrested and is currently in jail. Even before hiring an attorney, there are some things that you should know about communicating with someone in jail.
Being in jail can be confusing, frightening, even terrifying. Most people who have just been arrested are desperate to talk to a friend or a family member on the phone.
If you have a friend or family member who calls you from the jail, you must remember this:
ALL PHONE CALLS
FROM THE JAIL ARE RECORDED
AND GIVEN TO LAW ENFORCEMENT.
That means that whatever your friend or family member says to you about his or her case will be provided to law enforcement, and, ultimately, the prosecutor.
Good lawyers always advise clients to exercise their right to remain silent when arrested or questioned by law enforcement. That critical right is constitutionally protected, and is one of the few tools available to assist the defense in the unequal fight against the massive power of the government. But, it does absolutely no good to invoke your right to remain silent when interrogated by the police only to then be questioned by your own family members or friends, and have those statements given to the prosecution.
When someone from jail calls you on the phone, the natural tendency is to say, “What is this all about?” If you do that, you are doing the work for law enforcement, and hurting the person calling from jail. When someone calls you on the phone from jail, they need reassurance; they need support. They need to know that they will not be forgotten about. They do not need to be questioned about the case.
So please, if a friend or family member calls you from jail, the first thing that you should say to them is, “This call is being recorded. Do not discuss the case.” Then be reassuring and let them know that help is on the way.
Michael J. Bloom