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The Jail Booking Process

The jail booking process is combined with multiple steps. Someone being arrested and convicted of a crime is sent to the jail where a booking officer will collect a variety of things, and help get all evidence and information into the system. 

Jail Bookings 

Jail bookings tend to consist of 9 separate steps, all of which are in this article. Please note that these steps may not happen in this order, but according to the jail, that a suspect is booked at.

Close up of yellow crime scene tape on a reflective surface.

Step #1 Collecting name and crime being convicted of

A booking officer will collect any useful information from the man or woman convicted, such as the name of the person and criminal activity that was committed. Once these are obtained and in the system, the malefactor will begin the next step. 

Step #2 Mug Shot

The suspect then begins to pose for his mug shot and gets his/her photo in the system and will be paired with all other information in the booking system. Mugshots are used for things like telling two people apart that have the same name, having an updated picture in the system in case of release or escape. Mugshots also help police to know the condition of the malefactor in case of evidence needed against a claim of unlawful force and to show whether the suspect had any fights before the time of the arrest.  

Sad looking golden retriever mugshot.

Step #3 Removal and Replacement of Clothing

All clothing of the suspect is removed and replaced with jail appropriate clothing. If requested by the suspect, they may be able to keep some personal items such as a bracelet or watch. The booking officer or state can hold any personal items if they can be used for evidence in a crime. Other personal items and clothing will be returned once the suspect is released from jail. 

Folded stacked clothing. Blue jeans on top of a yellow shirt on top of a red sweatshirt.

Step #4 FingerPrints 

Collecting fingerprints from a malefactor is one of the most critical steps of the jail booking process. Once suspects give prints to the booking officers at the jail, it will be entered into a database across local, state, and federal agencies, and will be maintained and used by the FBI. 

Green fingerprint on a white background

Step #5 Full Body Inspection

A police officer will usually do a quick pat-down search at the time of arrest, but a more advanced check will be done when booked to check for smuggled drugs or even hidden weapons. Suspects will be required to remove all clothing as the booking officer searches for any concealed items, even if the suspect has a small offense on record and has no sign of hidden or smuggled items this step may still be required. 


Manifying glass with white background

Step #6 Checking Records

Booking officers will then check to see if there are any warrants in your name. They check for warrants ranging from small ones like unpaid parking tickets to the larger possibilities like murder charges. 

Step # 7 Health Screening

Suspects are given a screening test and blood tests, to control the safety of staff and other inmates. These can determine if there are any sexually transmitted diseases, other dangerous diseases, or types of tuberculosis.

Chest X-ray

Step #8 Asking Questions (Gang Related Afflictions)

To prevent any injuries or harm to the suspect, they will be asked about any gang-related instances or if they have been involved with a gang or have any destructive relationship in or outside of the jail. Depending on the answers of the suspect, they could be put in protective custody or a separate part of the jail from other inmates. 

Cartoon man with briefcase with a large white question mark next to him.

Step #9 DNA Testing 

A DNA test is not always required, but suspect may be subject to giving having one to put in the DNA database. 


Blue DNA strands.

How Long Does Booking Take in Jail?

Booking time depends on the amount of booking officers there are at a time and the number of arrestees in jail. Depending on the situation, this can be as slow as one hour or as long as several hours at a time. Most bookings won’t take more than three to four hours. 


Man holding an open stop-watch that  shows 5:05 as the time

Thank you for reading this article “Jail Booking Process.” If you or someone you love is in jail and you need help bailing them out, Sportsmans Bail Bonds is the place for you. We will do our best to get you results as fast as possible and bring your family home to you. You can call us at 801-623-6877 or contact us online.