There’s never an ideal time to go to jail. If you know that you might be going, though, it’s a good idea to be prepared. Below are a few things you should take with you to jail – and a few that you should definitely leave at home.
Leave: Your Phone
While smartphones may be a major part of daily life for most, you definitely don’t want to bring yours with you if you go to jail. If you need to make a phone call, you’ll do it using the jail’s phone. You won’t be allowed to bring your phone with you into your cell, so try to leave it at home – doing so is really the only way you can be sure that it doesn’t get put into evidence. Even though the police will need a warrant to get into your phone, you may find that they can hold onto it for long enough that you’ll wish you’d left it safe at home. If you have calls to make, such as to your attorney, keep in mind that you are legally owed both a phone call and contact with your lawyer.
Bring: Photo ID
One of the most important things you can bring to jail is your photo ID. This will establish a record of who you are and you may need it as you transition back out of jail. You won’t have to worry about your ID getting checked into evidence, but you may find it a useful tool if you need to establish who you are. Also, due to the excess of paperwork that needs to be done during both processing and posting bail, you’ll find your wait can be much shorter if you have your ID on hand to help fill out the appropriate forms.
Never bring cash with you to jail. While any cash that you bring with you should theoretically be logged, there’s a chance that the cash may be taken as evidence depending on the type of crime for which you were arrested. You should, at least in theory, get your money back – at least, at some point. It’s generally a good idea to consider any cash that you bring with you to jail as being lost. If you get a chance, leave your wallet (except for your ID) at home.
Bring: Something to Do
Jail is boring, even if you’re only there overnight. It’s a good idea to check your jurisdiction’s regulations to figure out what kind of entertainment you can bring with you. Anything that could be considered a weapon or a nuisance is probably out, as is anything electronic. You can, however, generally bring something like a book or even a crossword puzzle with you. This will give you something to focus on as you wait to get back out.
Always remember to bring the necessities with you to jail and to leave everything else at home. If you need access to something, you can have your lawyer get it for you. It is generally smart to try to minimize the disruptions that going to jail can have on your life, so make sure you keep some things safe at home. If you have further questions about what should and should not be brought with you during an arrest, you can contact local experts such as Bruce Yerman, Attorney at Law, or other criminal defense attorneys.
Author information: Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.