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Under arrest: The jail booking process consists of several steps

March 12, 2010
By LISA M. HOFFMANN, Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN - Have you even driven while drunk, gotten into a fight, or been caught shoplifting?

Then you might be one of the unlucky 1,400 individuals last year who passed through the Dickinson County Correctional Center. About 25 percent of those were new bookings.

Anyone who is arrested must go through a booking process that consists of several steps, said Dickinson County Sheriff Scott Celello.

Article Photos

Deputy Bryan Trudgeon pulls out jail attire for an inmate to wear after the booking process. Some 1,400 are incarcerated in the Dickinson County Correctional Facility each year.
Theresa Peterson/Daily News Photo

During the intake process, the arrested individual must answer a series of questions that cover basic information, such as address, birth place and a contact person. Other questions deal with the person's medical and psychological histories.

The individual is then fingerprinted and the infamous mug shot photo is taken.

When someone is arrested for the first time, they are given an inmate number that is unique to them.

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Each time that individual is arrested, fingerprints are taken and electronically sent to Lansing. They are then added to a data base and entered into the federal system.

If it has been more than a year since an individual's last arrest, or if their physical appearance has changed, a new photo is taken.

Jail Administrator Lt. Bryan Price said an arrested individual's length of stay depends on the bond amount set by a judge or magistrate.

Individuals arrested for serious crimes - felonies - won't have a bond set until they are arraigned in District Court, while others may have a set cash bond amount depending on the charge. Others may be released on a personal recognizance (PR) bond.

"For example, if someone arrested has a $500 PR bond, they just sign their name and are released," Lt. Price said.

"If they fail to appear at their next scheduled court date, the $500 bond would be owed and an additional warrant would be issued."

If an individual is arrested and no bond had been set at the time of arrest, they are put in a holding cell to be arraigned within 24 hours.

Bond is set at that time. If they are unable to post the bond, they are placed in one of the cell blocks.

Several different factors play a role in whether or not bond is set or an arrested individual must appear before a judge.

"There are some crimes that an individual may be arrested for, and even if they are able to post bond, they still have to remain in jail for a certain number of hours before they are released," Price said. "The two most common crimes where this occurs are operating while intoxicated (six-hour minimum) and domestic violence (22 hours)."

Once booked, an arrested individual's personal property is taken from them and inventoried. This includes items such as wallet, purse, keys, money, belt and jewelry.

There are six cell blocks, not including the holding and detox cells. The individual's classification determines the cell block.

In the Dickinson County Correctional Center, accused felons wear striped jail clothes, while those incarcerated for misdemeanors and individuals who have already been sentenced for felonies wear solid orange.

If an arrested person is in a holding or detox cell, street clothes are worn.

Price said this helps the jail staff distinguish between the inmates.

All inmates are provided a personal hygiene kit consisting of soap, shampoo and toothbrush/paste, for which they are charged a small fee. Within the first week, inmates can have socks, underwear and white t-shirts delivered to them by a friend or family member.

"Everything else can be purchased here," Price said.

Inmates can have magazines and newspapers provided to them as long as they are supplied from the publisher.

"They must be disposed of daily. Four books and magazines can be kept in a cell at one time," Price said. "This is for cleanliness and to prevent a fire hazard."

A television with cable channels is provided in each cell block. There are eight televisions in the jail.

Price said two of the cell blocks have two televisions because of the number of inmates in those cells.

Within the Dickinson County Correctional Center, inmates are housed in maximum security, minimum security or dorm-type cell blocks.

Inmates are given three meals a day, which are prepared in the jail's kitchen by one of the three cooks employed at the jail. All the inmates receive the same meal; there are no special orders.

They also have access to the canteen, where they can purchase certain snack items and personal hygiene products.

Inmates are also given the opportunity to attend Alcoholics Anonymous and a GED program.

Bible study, and church on Sundays, is also offered.

All cell blocks and common areas are equipped with video cameras/recorders that are constantly monitored by the jail staff.

All phone calls are also recorded.

If an inmate is allowed work release, schedules and hours worked are validated and monitored by the jail staff.

Celello said the sheriff's office has the constitutional responsibility to be the "keeper of the jail."

He added the vast majority of the inmates are not bad people, but rather someone who has made a poor decision.

The cost per day to be incarcerated is set by the state and cannot exceed $55.

Currently, Dickinson County inmates must pay $35 a day. There is an additional $15 for those who are on work release.

Lisa M. Hoffmann's e-mail address is



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