Berrien County Jail – St. Joseph, MI

Berrien County Jail is in Berrien County, MI and is the main jail for this county. Know somebody in Berrien County Jail? This site gives you information about anything you might need to know about Berrien County Jail,like: Learn how to locate an inmate. Find mugshots. The jail’s address and phone number. Bail and how to get out of jail. Booking and intake procedures. Berrien County court information. And much, much more.

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The prospect of getting arrested and going to jail is a scary and stressfull situation, not only for the person who gets locked up, but also that person’s family and friends. The purpose of this guide is to give you advice and information that you’ll need to make helping a friend or family member get out of jail a little less stressful. If you have a specific question, feel free to ask it in the comment section below, and also any comments or feedback that would be beneficial to other people in the same situation would be appreciated.

General Information


Berrien County Jail
919 Port Street
St. Joseph, MI 49085

Phone Number and Fax Number

Phone Number: (269) 983-7141 Ext. 7777
Fax Number:

Map and Directions

Click Here for Map & Directions

Recent News

  • Bottled Blonde Lawyer Timothy Fitzgerald Arrested and Booked into Berrien County Jail
  • Man Flees Traffic Stop, Falls Into Pool, Then Arrested
  • Updated September 20, 2017

    Inmate Search – Find Out Who’s In Jail

    Do you have a family member, loved one, or friend that is in jail and don’t know how to find out where they are?

    Has someone who has been arrested and you want to find them?

    In order to see who is in jail at Berrien County Jail you need to navigate to their website and perform an inmate lookup.

    Inmate Search

    The Berrien County Jail Inmate Locator is a list of persons currently in custody, which includes custody status, how much their bail is, and visiting schedule. You can find the same information about anybody processed or released within the past 24 hours. Jail inmates are listed alphabetically by last name. You’ll be able to get the information fast if you have their name, date of birth, or inmate ID.

    If your friend or loved one might be in another county jail you can check the other Michigan county jails in our Michigan County Jail Guide: Other Jails in Michigan


    A mugshot, also known as a booking picture, is the photo taken by the police when you get processed at jail intake. They take one face photo and one profile photo. Your name and jail booking number will be on the pictures, and they will be stored at the jail.

    View Mugshots

    Mugshots of people who have been arrested can be viewed on the website, or you can go in person to the Berrien County Jail. When viewing mugshots online you need to enter the prisoner’s legal name, and an arrest date, if you know it.

    How To Get Your Mugshot Removed

    Need to know how to get your mugshot taken down from the Berrien County Jail site? This can be tricky, since the mugshot is a public record. To get your mugshot removed you need to file a Petition to Expunge with the court. What this means is that all of your arrest records would be sealed, and will not be available to the public. Depending on your situation, this may be a longshot.

    For a more indepth article about removing your mugshot, the different mugshot sites, and the mugshot removal websites: How To Get Your Mugshot Taken Down

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    Bail & Bail Bondsmen – How To Get Out of Jail

    Obviously, if you’re locked up, your primary thought is when and how to get out. After you’ve gone through booking, your bail is decided either through a preset bail schedule or a magistrate. In cases where no bail is set this may mean that you will either be free to go until your trial, or you must remain in jail until your trial.

    If you do bail out of jail you must promise to show up for court, and until that date you are not allowed to leave town.

    Usually, inmates at Berrien County Jail will earn an early release in exchange for good behavior when they respect the rules and act right while they’re in jail.

    If you follow the rules, you might be allowed to do work release. Either you will have to stay the jail every day when you’re finished at your job, or you might have the chance to move to a halfway house instead of the jail.


    Your bail is how much money that you will be required to pay to get out of jail pending trial. The amount of bail that is set is determined by the crime you are charged with. Someone you know will need to put up 10 percent of the total that was determined in order for you to be released from jail. If you don’t show up for your court appearance, that person will lose all of the bail money.

    Find Out How Much Someone’s Bail Is

    In order to find out how much someon’s bail is, you need to call the Berrien County Jail. If you have all the person’s info, including name, address and date of birth, they will let you know the bail amount. Also, you can see the bail amount on the jail website.

    How To Bail Someone Out of Jail

    Needing to bail someone out of jail is never fun, but fortunately, it’s easy. To start with, you have to find out if their bail is a Cash Only Bond. If it is, you will not be able to use the services of a Bail Bondsman. Cash only – they will not accept a check. Once you have paid the bond, the prisoner will be released into your care. If the conditions of bail are not violated, you’ll get the bail money back.

    Bail Bondsman

    If the bail amount is too high, or you just don’t have the money, you you should try to hire a bail bondsman. They will usually charge you a fee of 10 to 15 percent of the total amount of bail set by the magistrate, and in most cases charge a minimum fee of $100. The amount you pay to the bondsman will not be returned to you and is typically cash only. If the bail is exceptionally high, the bail bondsman will in most cases use assets as collateral for the bond.

    To talk to a local bail bondsman click here: Find a bail bondsman

    Have you ever hired a bondsman either for yourself, a family member or friend? If so, please share your experience in a comment below, and let us know how things turned out.

    Click here to comment

    Other Ways to Get Out of Jail

    • Time Off For Good Behavior
    • Work Release Programs
    • Time Served
    • Pre-Trial Release Programs
    • Released On House Arrest
    • Own Recognizance

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    Jail Policies and Procedures

    Intake Procedures / Booking

    The jail intake procedure is made up of the following steps:

    • You will be placed in a waiting area or cell. If the jail is busy, it will take a while to get processed.
    • The first thing you will have to to is you have to answer a bunch of questions, such as what is your full legal name, home address, birth date and a contact person.
    • Also, you will also be asked about your medical and mental history.
    • You will be issued an inmate ID.
    • Your fingerprints will be taken.
    • You will have a front and profile photo taken for your mugshot.
    • Any property you have will get taken away from you and stored until you get released.
    • They will let you use the telephone in order to get in touch with family, friends, or bail bondsman.
    • If they expect that you will make bail and be released quickly, you might get to wear your street clothes, if not you will be issued a jail uniform – the jumpsuit.

    Have you ever been arrested and gone through processing at jail? If so, please share your experience. How long did you have to wait in the holding cell? What was you treatment like? Can you tell us secrets that might help others make it through jail processing?

    Click here to leave a comment

    Discharge Procedures

    When you post bail, you will be allowed to go home after you get discharged. Getting discharged from jail may take anywhere from 30 minutes to all day. So, the quicker you post bail, the sooner you will be released. Also, how fast you get released will depend on whether you’ve been given a cash bond amount or if the magistrate needs to determine how much to set your bail at. For lesser charges, you will get booked and released on your own recognizance. When you have served out your jail sentence and are given a discharge date, you should plan to be discharged that morning.

    How To Turn Yourself In

    out against you, or if you must begin your sentence in jail, you really should do the right thing and turn yourself in. For a warrant, go down to the jail intake center, and tell the intake officer that think that there is a warrant for your arrest. They will check to see if you have a warrant, and if they find one, they will take you into custody and begin the intake process. If you are reporting to serve out your sentence, go down to the jail at the exact time and date that the sentence order or court paperwork states. Be sure that you get don’t get there late, or they may decide to arrest you. Just bring approved items with you, like your drivers license or your ID, prescription medication, and a copy of the sentencing order.

    Visitation Procedures

    In order to have visitors, inmates must give the name and date of birth of each visitor to the jail. Your visitor’s names will be put in a Visiting log as an Authorized visit. All visitors must provide proof of identification. Any visitors that arrives for visitation late or any visitors that are not approved to visit will be turned away.
    Visitation procedures frequently change, so make sure that you check the official jail site before you go.

    Visiting Hours

    Phone Calls & Phone Usage Policy

    The only phone calls that inmates are allowed to make are made through a jail approved pre-paid phone account or phone card . Jail phone calls are generally more costly than phone calls made outside of jail. Phone calls are restricted on when and how often you can use the phone, but bear in mind that every inmate wants to use the phone too, so they can call their family. If you break the rules, your ability to use the phone may be limited or totally denied.

    Phone Number: (269) 983-7141

    Sending Mail to Inmates

    All mall sent to inmates must be sent via the actual US Postal Service, and not courier or delivery, or hand delivered. You must not use any other type of mail delivery. You have to write or type the prisoner’s name, prisoner number, and the address of the jail on the outside of the letter that you send. Don’t send anything in a box or package, envelope with padding or insulation, bag, or an envelope with metal in it. All mail is opened and examined by staff, and will be sent back to the person who mailed it if the jail decides it is inappropriate.

    Mailing Address

    If you would like to send a letter to an inmate at Berrien County Jail, use this address:

    Berrien County Jail
    919 Port Street
    St. Joseph, MI 49085

    Here is how you should address the letter:

    Berrien County Jail
    919 Port Street
    St. Joseph, MI 49085

    The inmate mail policy at Berrien County Jail is always changing, so we suggest that you review the site before you send a letter.

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    Court Information

    Get A Lawyer

    When you’ve been arrested, you still have rights, one of these being your right to request a lawyer. You are only allowed to make so many phone calls in jail, so make sure to ask a friend or family member to locate a lawyer when you talk to them. You may be thinking ‘I don’t have to get a lawyer – I can just represent myself’ You are not required to have an attorney for some criminal charges, a criminal defense lawyer will make sure you know your rights, help protect your best interests and guide you through the criminal justice system that you are now faced with. The faster you get a lawyer involved with your case, the better your chances.

    To read more about this subject, go to: Find an Attorney

    Public Defender

    If you can’t afford an attorney, you will be given a public defender for a lawyer. The Public Defender Office has a number of staff such as investigators, experts in forensics as well as social case workers. You will be reassured to know that Public Defenders are real lawyers that are admitted to the Michigan State Bar Association and are legally licensed to represent you in court and practice law.

    Have you ever had to use a Public Defender or court appointed attorney? Are you satisfied with how they handled your case and represented you in court?

    Court Records

    Berrien County court records are are public record and are available upon request to anyone who requests them – not just the person who they pertain to. They have a court case file with a sheet called a docket sheet and all of the documents and motions that have been filed. You, and anyone else, can access court records using the internet service, or at the Clerk of Court where the case was filed.

    Clerk of Court

    A Clerk of Court is an officer and clerk of the court who manages the records. They also administer the oath when court is in session, and also read the verdict when decided by the jury. All court records related to your court case are maintained at Clerk of Court’s office.


    Court fees are all costs associated with your court case, such as filing charges, motion and claim fees, and court appearance fees. If you are low income and have been assigned a Public Defender, you may not have to pay them.


    A Magistrate acts as the judge that will preside on your case in court. Magistrate judges do many different things, such as deciding a bail amount, issuing warrants for arrest, and overseeing initial court appearances and detention hearings.


    Your pre-sentencing report is put together with information about the arrestee’s background and details of the arrestee’s life history, which the judge will take into account when determining the sentence. Information and personal details will be requested from the defendant, his or her family members, and if necessary the victim of the crime. Be sure to remember that you can request to have a copy of the report before sentencing, and review it and correct any mistakes.


    If you get convicted of a crime, you will then get sentenced. There are a number of different options, which include community service and probation, to incarceration in jail or prison. Depending on the severity of the crime, you could be taken into custody, right there in court, or given a date that you are supposed to to surrender and report to jail to serve your sentence.

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    Public Records

    Inmate Inquiry

    Want to find out if someone is in jail, or has been an inmate in the past?

    This is pretty simple to do, just just visit the jail website and do an inmate search, and do a search using:

    • Their name.
    • Date of birth.
    • Approximate booking date.
    • and their inmate ID.

    If you think that they are currently in jail, you can call the jail find out if they’ve been arrested.

    Warrant Inquiry

    If you think you might have a warrant out for your arrest, you are able to check the court records online or you are able to call the jail directly. You have to have the person’s first and last name. Or, you can just go down to the jail and inquire at the information desk. Bear in mind that if you do have an outstanding warrant, you should be prepared to get taken into custody immediately.

    Arrest Inquiry

    If you have a first and last name, and possibly an arrest date, contact the Berrien County jail, either by phone, in person, or you can check online. Arrest records are public record and the information is available to anyone.

    Civil Inquiry

    A Civil Process is when you get served with papers, such as court orders. You can find these civil process orders by going to the Sheriff’s office, by phone or online.

    Sex Offender Search / Lookup

    All convicted sex offenders must be listed and registered on a sex offender database. Those listed on these databases have been tried by jury and convicted in a court of law of a sex or kidnapping crime. You can access these offenders on the internet, but bear in mind that you won’t find the actual address, but only the block of the address that they registered.

    Court Records

    Court Records are considered public records, so they are accessible to anyone who requests them. These records include a case file that contains a court docket and all of the documents filed in your case. You can access the court records on the website, or at the clerk’s office of the court in the jurisdiction where the case was filed.

    Criminal Records

    Every state maintains records of a person’s criminal background. These online databases are linked together and you can track criminal convictions from other states. You can go to courthouse and check in person, or check the website. It helps to know the county, and in the event that it was in a different state entirely, you may have to pay for a more comprehensive search.

    When you look up a person’s crminal records you will find out if a person has ever been arrested, charged or convicted for the following crimes:

    • DWI or DUI.
    • Drug crimes.
    • Kidnapping.
    • Sex offenses which could include rape, and sexual assault.
    • Violent crimes.
    • Property crimes like theft or larceny.

    If you do a criminal records check, you generally will not find if that person has had any infractions like moving violations:

    • Speeding.
    • Lost their drivers license or license revoked or suspended.
    • Been in a traffic accident.
    • Other moving violations.
    • Parking Tickets.
    • To get driving records, you have to do a driving history search.

      Have you ever searched for criminal records? How easy was it? Dis you do your search online or did you have to call the jail? Was it correct? There are plenty of reasons that folks look up criminal backgrounds and records, and your story may help other people that are in the same situation.

      Click here to post a comment

      Most Wanted

      For Federal crimes, the FBI has a list of the Ten Most Wanted Criminals. In Berrien County,the Sheriff has a list of most wanted criminals, too.

      FBI Top Ten Most Wanted List

      Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Ten Most Wanted List: External Link

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      Life In Jail / What Its Like

      Daily Life

      Everyone knows that serving a jail sentence in Berrien County Jail is quite unpleasant, you will soon get used to the daily routine there. Expect a wake-up alarm at about 6:00 AM, and then roll call. After roll call you will have breakfast. When you finish eating breakfast you will be required to work in the work program that you’ve been assigned to. This could be working in the kitchen, laundry, or some sort of manufacturing job. While this may seem tedious, it may help you when you leave jail, as you are gaining experience in a certain field of work. Other inmates go to school, while some take part in mandated treatment programs. After lunch, there will be another roll call, then back to work. Your evening will be spent either in your cell or a common room. During this time dinner is served and you will be expected to take a shower. After another roll call, it’s lights out. Even though you will be confined to your cell, there may be enough light to read or write letters. Then again, most inmates welcome lights out, and try to get as much sleep as they can.

      Most people are frightened at the idea of jail because they don’t know what to expect. If you have spent any time in Berrien County Jail, your experiences would be welcomed, if it can help another person to deal with it.

      Dress Code

      When incarcerated, all inmates are expected to wear the Berrien County Jail uniform. This is normally a jumpsuit or scrubs. Of note to anyone visiting an inmate – you must be properly dressed. Any clothing considered inappropriate will not be permitted.

      How To Send Money to an Inmate

      You will have your own ‘bank account’ while in jail. This money is used to purchase items from the Commissary. Family and friends can deposit money into this account for you, and any money you earn while in prison will also be deposited into your account. Outside money can be paid in to your account via a money order, cash or check. If someone sends a check or money order, make sure that they write your inmate ID on it. The maximum amount you are allowed in your account is $290 per month.

      The process for sending money to someone in jail at Berrien County Jail could change, so you should check the site when you send money to an inmate.


      The commissary is the jail store. You can purchase a number of things here, such as toiletries, snacks and writing supplies. Bear in mind that you will probably want to use the commissary daily, and any infractions will get that privilege taken away from you.

      Inmate Medications

      If you are on any type of prescription medication, you will be allowed to continue taking it while in jail. When you are first processed, you will be asked what medication you take. You will then be referred to the jail nurse or doctor who will be in charge of monitoring your health and prescribing your medication.


      You will get three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. As expected, they are very basic, but healthy. A typical breakfast might be cereal, toast, coffee and fruit. Lunch might be spaghetti, salad, bread and milk. Dinner could be chicken casserole, rice, vegetables, dessert and milk. Contrary to popular belief, prison food has greatly improved over the years, and you might find that it’s not much different from what you would eat at home.

      Pods / The Yard

      The jail is designed in a ‘pod’ layout, with self contained housing arranged around an outdoor yard. Each pod has a central control station and a common room, and the inmates take turns in using the yard. The jail is designed this way to keep certain inmates together, and others away from the general population.


      As with life in general, gangs are a part of prison life. Obviously it is best to avoid becoming a part of this environment as it will only lead to trouble. When you first enter prison, you might find yourself being ‘primed’ to join a gang, or worse, you might get their attention in a negative way. The best thing to do is keep your head down and don’t get involved.

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      News and Media


      Photos / Pictures


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      Types of Jobs at Berrien County Jail

      The Deputy Sheriff is the second in command at the Berrien County Jail, overseeing the day to day operations and administration of the jail. An inmate is unlikely to have much interaction with the Deputy Sheriff, unless they have committed an infraction. Detention Officers are responsible for the custody and care of the inmates. They maintain order in the jail, and handle security. A Detention Officer is assigned to a certain pod, and therefore is responsible for the same inmates each day. They get to know the inmates on a certain level, and are well equipped to handle any problems that may occur.

      Apply for a Job at Berrien County Jail


      • You have to be over the age of 21.
      • You have to possess a High School Diploma or GED
      • You have to be a US Citizen.
      • You have to pass a Criminal, Credit and Driving History background check.
      • You have to pass a drug test.
      • You have to have a good level of fitness.
      • You have to be in good health.
      • You have to have a valid Drivers License
      • An applicant for Deputy Sheriff must possess a Law Enforcement Certification.

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      Family Resources

      There are resources for families of both the perpetrator of the crime and the victim. The social and emotional impact of crime is far reaching, affecting many. Families can receive professional counseling, court related assistance, social services assistance and help in navigating the criminal justice system.

      If you are a family member, which resources did you find to be particularly helpful? Please let us know, as this will be helpful to other families in the same situation.

      Click here to post a comment

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      Victim Resources

      Important Note: If you, or someone you know, are in immediate danger, call 911.

      Victim’s Rights

      The Victim Rights Act grants victims the following rights:

      • Victims have the right to protection from the accused.
      • Victims have the right to notification.
      • Victims have the right to attend proceedings.
      • Victims have the right to speak at criminal justice proceedings.
      • Victims have the right to consult with the prosecuting attorney.
      • Victims have the right to restitution.
      • Victims have the right to a speedy trial.
      • Victims have the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect.

      The definition of victim includes:

      • Spouses and children of all victims.
      • Parents and guardians of minor victims.
      • Parents, guardians and siblings of mentally or physically incapacitated victims or victims of homicide.
      • Foster parents or other caregivers, under certain circumstances.

      There are a number of services and programs designed to help victims and their families. You can find out about these services by contacting the courthouse, or local law enforcement agency.

      Victim Notification

      The Department of Justice Victim Notification System (VNS) is a system that provides victims with information pertaining to their case and/or any defendants in the case. You will receive a Victim Identification Number (VIN) and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that will allow you to access VNS via the internet or by phone. Here, you will find information about future court hearings, historical court events, and detailed information about the defendant. This will include criminal charges filed, the outcome of charges, sentence imposed, custody location, projected release date and any other release information. The VNS website is updated daily. You will also receive any ongoing information by mail or email.

      Have you, a family member or friend ever used the Victim Notification System? If so, was it effective? Did you get the information in a timely manner? Was the system difficult to use? We would like to hear from you, so please post any comments here.

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      Sex Offender Information and Search

      All people registered as sex offenders are registered on either a national or state sex offender database. The people on these databases have been convicted of a sex or kidnapping crime. You can access this information online, but bear in mind that you will not get the exact address, rather the block that they live on.

      Domestic Violence

      If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are services to help you. Your county will have a Domestic Violence Services office. They provide free and confidential services, such as emergency shelter information, legal advocacy, support groups and domestic violence education. They will work to help you create a safe and violence-free life, and heal from the trauma of abuse.

      Important Note: If you, or someone you know, are in immediate danger, call 911.

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      Reviews of this Jail

      Have you ever spent any time at Berrien County Jail? Do you have a family member or friend that is a prisoner there? Have you ever been to visit someone in this jail?

      If so, then we would like you to write your review about it. Write down your jail experience because other people can learn what to expect.

      Things you could put in the review:

      • Conditions at the jail.
      • Jail and pod facility and layout
      • Staff and guards
      • Jail food and commissary
      • Having Visitors
      • The other inmates – what are they like?
      • Safety
      • Gang activity
      • Prisoner activities and programs

      Write Your Review

      Tell Your Story

      Everybody who’s been arrested and thrown in jail has some stories about their time ‘inside’. Why’d you get arrested? Were you fairly treated? How was day to day life at Berrien County Jail? What about the other inmates? How did getting locked up affect your life?

      Click here to share your story about when you did time in Berrien County Jail

      Throw A Shout Out to Your Cell Mate

      Did you make friends in jail? Trying to throw a shout out to someone you met in jail? Write your message below.

      Say Hello

      Links and Resources

      Main Berrien County Jail Website
      Berrien County Jail Inmate Search Link
      Berrien County Jail Mugshots
      Berrien County Jail Bail Link

      Berrien County Jail Visitation Procedures
      Berrien County Jail Jail Mail Policy Link
      Locate an inmate at Berrien County Jail
      Berrien County Jail Warrant Inquiry
      Berrien County Jail Arrests
      Send Funds to an Inmate at Berrien County Jail
      Berrien County Jail Employment

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  1. They are very cruel to you. Yes, they may feed you.. paper bag lunches. but they put me in a cell with my own clothes… n that would have fine if I wasn’t wearing shorts n a tank top. they turn up the air conditioning at night n refuse to give you a blanket, mat or ever a pair of pants to put on. I had to rub myself to keep warm. I rubbed myself so much I took a layer of skin off. It was bulls**t. They treat you like you’re an animal. And they take pride in making you miserable, n they aren’t afraid to admit it. I hate cops who think they are better than you… just because you have a badge, that doesn’t make you any better. You guys speed, and some abuse their wives or husbands, or do drugs, just like anyone of those people in jail. They like to act like they don’t sit to shit, but the truth is no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Its whether you learn from your mistakes or not that matters… not that you made one!!!!

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