Dallas County Jail – Dallas, TX

Dallas County Jail is located in Dallas County and is the primary correctional facility for the county. Know someone in jail at Dallas County Jail? This page will tell you information about anything you might want to know about Dallas County Jail: Find out who’s in jail at Dallas County Jail? Find mugshots and inmate photos. The jail’s phone number and address. Bailing out of jail. Intake procedures. Court information. And much much more…

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The thought of going to jail is a scary situation, not only for whoever gets locked up, but also their family and friends. The goal of this guide is to give you information that you’ll need to make getting locked up less stressfull. If you have questions, feel free to ask it, and please leave any tips or comments that could help other people in the same situation will be welcome.

General Information


Dallas County Jail
600 Commerce Street
Dallas, TX 75202

Phone Number and Fax Number

Phone Number: (214) 653-6092

Map and Directions

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Inmate Search – Find Out Who’s In Jail

Do you have a family member, loved one, or friend that is incarcerated and don’t know how to contact them?

Do you know someone who has been arrested and you want to locate them?

To look up who’s in jail at Dallas County Jail you will have to navigate to their link and do an inmate search.

Inmate Lookup

The Dallas County Jail Inmate Locator has information on people currently in custody, including custody status, how much their bail is, and times the inmate can have visitors. Also, you can get the same information for anyone who has been arrested or released in the past 24 hour period. Jail inmates are listed alphabetically by last name. You can locate their inmate information fast if you enter their full name, date of birth, or inmate ID Number.

If your friend or loved one is at another county jail you can check the other Texas county jails in our Texas County Jail Guide: Other County Jails in Texas


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

View Mugshots

Mugshots of inmates can be found on the Dallas County Jail website, or you can go in person to the Dallas County Jail. When you search for mugshots on the website you will need to put in the name, and an arrest date, if you have it.

How To Get Your Mugshot Removed

Are you trying to get your mugshot taken off of the Dallas County Jail site? This may not be possible, as the mugshot is public record. To get your mugshot taken down you need to file a Petition to Expunge with the court. This means that the record of your arrest would be sealed, and will not be available to the public. Depending on your situation, this may be a longshot.

Read our indepth tutorial about getting your mugshot removed, the different mugshot websites, and the websites that offer to remove your mugshot for you: How To Get Your Mugshot Taken Down

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Bail & Bail Bondsmen – How To Get Out of Jail

Naturally, if you’re locked up, your main thought is about how to get out. After booking, your bail amount is decided either through a preset bail schedule or a magistrate. If no bail is set this may mean that you will either get released, pending trial, or you have to stay in jail until your trial.

If you are released from jail you will have to promise to be in court on your court date, and you are required not to go out of town.

In most cases, prisoners in the Dallas County Jail can earn time off for good behavior when they don’t break the rules and act right while incarcerated.

If you prove to be trustworthy, you may be granted work release. You will either have to stay jail each day after work, or you could be allowed to move into a halfway house instead of living at the jail.


Your bail is money that you have to pay to the court system in order to be released from jail until your trial. The amount you will be required to pay is determined by the crime you’ve been charged with. You will need to pay to the courts 10 percent of the total amount that was set in order for you to get discharged from jail. If you fail to show up for your court appearance, whoever put up your bail money will lose that bail money.

Find Out How Much Someone’s Bail Is

You need to call the jail or the county courthouse. If you have all the pertinent information, such as name, address and date of birth, they will tell you the bail amount. Also, you can see the bail amount on the Dallas County Jail website.

How To Bail Someone Out of Jail

Needing to bail someone out of jail is no fun, but fortunately, it is very simple to do. First of all, find out if it is a Cash Only Bond situation. If it is, you can’t use a bail bondsman. Bail can only be paid by cash – they can’t take a personal check. Once the cash bond has been paid, the person will be released into your care. If this person doesn’t violate any of the terms of their release, you will get this money back.

Bail Bondsman

If the amount of bail set is large, or you just don’t have the money, you should use a bail bondsman. They will generally charge a fee of 10 to 15 percent of the total amount of bail set by the magistrate, and usually have a minimum charge of $100. This is non-refundable and has to be paid in cash. If the bail is exceptionally high, the bail bondsman will usually request to use assets as collateral in addition to the fee they charge.

To find a local bail bondsman click here: Find a bail bondsman

Have you ever had to use a Bail Bondsman because you or someone you know got arrested? If so, please share your experience in a comment below, and let us know how things turned out.

Click here to tell your story

Other Ways to Get Out of Jail

  • Time Off For Good Behavior
  • Work Release
  • Released For Time Served
  • Get Out on a Pre-Trial Release Program
  • House Arrest
  • Get Released on Your Own Recognizance

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Jail Policies and Procedures

Intake Procedures / Booking

The jail intake procedure takes you through each of the following steps:

  • You will get put in a holding cell. If the jail is really busy, it will take a while to get processed.
  • You must answer a number of questions, like what is your full legal name, home address, birthdate and a contact person.
  • They’ll also ask about your psychological and medical history.
  • You will be issued an inmate ID.
  • Your fingerprints will be taken.
  • You will get your mugshot taken.
  • Any property you have will be taken from you and stored until you get released.
  • You will then be allowed to use the phone so you can get in touch with a family member, friend, or bail bondsman.
  • If you think you will get released quickly, you might be able to keep wearing your own clothes, but if you are not expected to make bail quickly you you will have to change into a jail jumpsuit.

Have you ever been booked into jail? If so, please tell us what happened. How long did you have to wait? What was you treatment like? Do you know any things that could help other people to get through the procedure?

Tell Your Story

Discharge Procedures

Once you are able to post bail, you will be allowed to go home after you get discharged. Getting discharged from jail will take anywhere from 15 minutes to all day. In simple terms, the faster bail is posted, the sooner you will get let go. Also, it can depend on whether you’ve been given a bond amount or if a judge still needs to determine how much your bail will be. For a minor offense, you will get booked and released on your own recognizance. If you have served a sentence in jail and have a release date, you should plan to get discharged between 9am and noon.

How To Turn Yourself In

In the event there is a, or if you must begin your jail sentence, it is highly recommended that you follow the law and turn yourself in willingly. If you have a warrant, report to the jail processing area, and let them know that you think there may be an outstanding arrest warrant out for you. They will do a check to find out if there is an arrest warrant for you, and if they verify that you have one, they will ask that you surrender yourself and you will be taken into custody. If you have a jail sentence to serve, report to the jail at the exact time and date that the sentence order lists. Make sure that you are not late. Make sure that you only bring required items when you turn yourself in, such as your drivers license or even your ID, any prescription medication you might take, along with your doctor’s prescription, as well as a official sentencing order.

Visitation Procedures

The inmate must list each visitor’s name and date of birth to the jail in advance of any visit. Your visitors will be entered into the log for the inmate. Each visitor has to provide identification. Any visitors that arrives for visitation late or that is not an approved visitor will be turned away.
Jail visitation policies change often, so it would be wise to double-check the official site before you visit an inmate.

Visiting Hours

Phone Calls & Phone Usage Policy

All phone calls from jail are made through a jail approved pre-paid phone account or phone card . Phone calls made in jail are typically more costly than phone calls made at home. There is no limit to when and how often you can use the phone, but inmates should keep in mind that every inmate wants to use the phone too, so they can call their family. If you are under any sort of disciplinary procedure, phone privileges may be limited or forbidden.

Phone Number: (214) 653-6092

Sending Mail to Inmates

All inmate mail is required to be sent via the actual US Postal Service. You shouldn’t use any other method of delivery. Clearly print the name, inmate ID, and the jail address on the envelope. Do not mail anything in a package or box, padded envelope, plastic or paper bag, or an envelope with any metal in it. All mail received by the jail is opened and read and inspected by the staff, and will get sent back if deemed inappropriate.

Mailing Address

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

Dallas County Jail
600 Commerce Street
Dallas, TX 75202

Here is how you should address the letter:

Dallas County Jail
600 Commerce Street
Dallas, TX 75202

The inmate mail policy at Dallas County Jail can change, so you should review the the Dallas County Jail website when you send a letter.

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Court Information

Get A Lawyer

When you’ve been arrested, you still have certain rights, one of these is the right to request an attorney. You are only allowed to make so many phone calls in jail, so you would be wise to have a friend or relative locate an attorney when you call. You’re probably asking yourself ‘I don’t have to get a lawyer – I can just represent myself’ You can represent yourself if you reall want to, but, an attorney can advise you of your rights, help protect your interests and help you navigate through the complicated legal system in your county. The faster you hire an attorney to represent you and work on your situation, the better.

For more information on the benefits of hiring a lawyer, click: How to Find an Attorney in Dallas County

Public Defender

If you’ve been arrested and cannot afford a lawyer, you will get a public defender. The Public Defender’s Office has a number of staff such as independent investigators, forensics experts and social case workers. All Public Defenders are actual lawyers, admitted to the Texas State Bar Association and are licensed to represent you in court and practice law.

Have you ever had to use a Public Defender? Are you happy with how they handled your case?

Court Records

Court records are are public and available to anyone who requests them. Court records contain a court case file containing a docket and each of the documents and motions that have been filed in your case. You have the ability to access your court case records with the internet service, or by going to the Clerk of Court where the case was filed.

Clerk of Court

A Clerk of Court is an official part of the court that manages court records. They also administer the oath for any court participant who must be under oath, and also read the verdict when delivered by the jury. All records, documents, and evidence from your case are kept at Clerk of Court.


Court costs and court fees are the costs associated with your case, such as filing fees, motion and claim fees, and court charges. If you cannot afford these fees and have a court appointed attorney, you will not be responsible for these fees.


The Dallas County magistrate is the judge who presides over your case in court. Magistrate judges do different functions, which include determing how much your bail will be, issuing warrants for arrest, and presiding over preliminary and procedural court proceedings and detention proceedings.


A defendant’s pre-sentencing report is prepared to include your background information and details of the arrestee’s life and public history, which the judge will review and take into consideration when determining your sentence. Information will be gathered from the person on trial, his or her family members, and, if applicable, the victim of the crime. Keep in mind you are able to request to have a copy of the pre-sentencing report prior to sentencing, and review it for accuracy and completeness, and correct any mistakes.


When you are convicted of a crime, you will be given a sentence for your crime. The judge will have several different options when sentencing you, ranging from community service, house arrest, and probation, to even incarceration in either jail (short term) or prison (long term). Depending on the particulars of your trial, the severity of your crime, and any sentencing guidelines that they judge will use, you will either be locked up immediately, or you could get a date that you must go to jail to serve your jail time according to your sentence.

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Public Records

Inmate Inquiry

Do you need to find out if some you know is in jail, or has ever been locked up?

To do so, just visit the Dallas County jail website and do an inmate search lookup, and search using:

  • Name.
  • Date of birth.
  • Their booking date.
  • and their jail ID.

If you think this person is in jail, you can also call the jail confirm whether they’ve been arrested or not.

Warrant Inquiry

If you think you might have a warrant out for your arrest, you can access arrest warrants on the website or call the court. You have to have the person’s first and last name. You can also go to the local jail and ask one of the officers. Bear in mind that if you do have an outstanding warrant, they will take you into custody immediately.

Arrest Inquiry

If you know a person’s name, as well as their arrest date, contact the jail, by phone, go there in person, or check online. Records of arrests are public record and this information is available to anyone.

Civil Inquiry

Civil processes are when when you get served with legal papers, like a court order. You can access civil process orders by going to the Sheriff’s office, on their website or by phone.

Sex Offender Search / Lookup

All convicted sex offenders are registered on both a national and state sex offender database. Those listed on these databases have been convicted in a court of law of a sex crime. You can access these listings online, but keep in mind that you will not get the precise address, just the block that they live on.

Court Records

Court Records are public, and are accessible by anyone. These records include a case file that includes a court docket and all of the filings and documents filed in the case. You are able to access your court records on the internet, or at Clerk of Court where the case was filed.

Criminal Records

Each and every state maintains records of their state citizen’s criminal past. These databases are linked together so you are able to track criminal backgrounds from any other state. You are able to go to county courthouse and make an inquiry, or check online. It is helpful to know the county, and in the event that it was in a different state, you may have to pay a fee for a more intensive search.

When you look up someone’s criminal record you are able to get a listing of all the arrests, charges, or convictions for these crimes:

  • DWI or DUI.
  • Drug crimes like possession or trafficking.
  • Kidnapping.
  • Rape or other sexual assault.
  • Violent crimes like assault or murder.
  • Theft.

During a criminal records search, you generally won’t discover if that person has had any infractions like moving violations:

  • Tickets for speeding.
  • Lost their drivers license or license revoked or suspended.
  • Any accidents.
  • Minor infractions or moving violations.
  • Parking Tickets.
  • To get this kind of information, you must do a search for their driving history.

    Have you ever had to search for criminal records of someone you know? Was it a difficult process? Did you search online or did you make a phone call to the courthouse? was the information you recieved correct? There are lots of reasons that people look up criminal backgrounds and records, and your account could help other people.

    Click here to tell about all about it

    Most Wanted

    On a Federal level, the FBI has a list of the Ten Most Wanted Criminals. In Dallas County,the Dallas County Sheriff has their own list of the most wanted criminals, that you can access online.

    FBI Top Ten Most Wanted List: Link

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    Life In Jail / What Its Like

    Daily Life

    While the prospect of serving a jail sentence in the Dallas County jail is no fun, in time you will become accustomed to the routine that is set for you. You should expect an alarm to wake up at about 6:00am, and then you’ll have roll call. Next, you will eat breakfast. When you finish breakfast participate in the work program or other activity that you are assigned. 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 Dallas 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 Dallas 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 funds to Dallas County Jail inmates is likely to change, so you should review the official website when you send money to an inmate there.


    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 Dallas County Jail

    The Deputy Sheriff is the second in command at the Dallas 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 Dallas County Jail


    • You must be over the age of 21.
    • You must possess a High School Diploma or GED
    • You must be a US Citizen.
    • You must pass a Criminal, Credit and Driving History background check.
    • You must pass a drug test.
    • You must have a good level of fitness.
    • You must be in good health.
    • You must 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.

    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.

    Click here to leave a comment

    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 been incarcerated at Dallas County Jail? Do you have a friend or family member there? Have you ever been to visit someone at Dallas County Jail?

    If you have, then we would like you to tell us about it. Write down your experience so that other people will know what to expect.

    Things you can write in your comment:

    • Jail conditions.
    • Jail, yard and pod layout and facility
    • Guards and jail staff
    • Jail food and commissary
    • Visitation
    • The other inmates – what are they like?
    • Inmate safety
    • Gang activity
    • Prisoner activities and programs

    Click here to write your review of Dallas County Jail

    Tell Your Story

    Everbody that’s been incarcerated has at least one story to tell about it. How’d you end up in jail? Did you experience fair treatment? How was life in jail? Were the other inmates cool? How has this experience impacted your life?

    Click here to tell your story about Dallas County Jail

    Throw A Shout Out to Your Cell Mate

    Did you make friends in jail? Need to get in touch with a friend from jail? Then send them a message by posting a comment below.

    Say Hello to people locked up at Dallas County Jail

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  1. I was incarcerated in Lew Sterrett several times over the past 5 years, in all parts of the jail except the North Tower.

    The jail is a massive facility that is split into three distinct areas, the North, South (or Kays) and West Towers. The majority of prisoners will go to the South Tower, which uses the Direct Supervision model or “pods”. The West Tower consists of “tanks” which are cells which hold either 8 people in individual cells, or in somewhat larger spaces that hold up to 24 people (the worst) There is also an entire floor dedicated to the jail infirmary, where they even have people bedridden with ICU-like nurse supervision. Where you are assigned depends on a wide variety of factors, but there is a tank or pod designated for virtually every situation, charge and threat level. Booking in this facility is extremely slow, and involves a myriad of holding cells (“holdovers”) which are kept at an unbeliveably cold temperature (“COLDovers”) If you are turning yourself in, wear warm clothing regardless of the season as you will not be “dressed out” until about an hour or two before you are finally sent to your housing assignment, and you will be nice and toasty while everyone else is freezing. As part of the booking process you will be tested for HIV and TB. If you are HIV positive be upfront about it as you will have a wide latitude to choose where you are housed (you can choose to be segregated with other HIV patients but they no longer mandate it) and will get double rations and other perks. The jail has a full medical staff, dentist, and is partnered with Parkland Hospital and will be very attentive and thorough with health care. There is safekeeping tanks in the West Tower available for those who ask for it because of sexual orientation. In my experience however, if you incarcerated for a non-violent felony or a misdeamenor, you will be much happier if you elect to be put into the South Tower in general population. The South Tower’s pods are brand-new, There is an officer in the pod with the inmates at all times, so fights and trouble is infrequent. There is much much more room to move around in the pods, microwave ovens and two large flat-screen TV’s.

    The food is pretty bland in this jail and very consistent. Breakfast is at 4 am each day like clockwork (in the South Tower) and consists usually of a hash brown, sausage, spiced muffins (“monkey nuts”) or flour tortillas filled with powered eggs (“Dirty Diapers”). All meals come with a little pack of kool-aid style drink mix. Once or twice when there were problems with the kitchen we were served cereal with no milk. The jail never serves milk or cheese or any dairy for that matter.

    Lunch is served around 11 AM and is always bologna sandwiches. Only the salad changes, it’s usually fruit cocktail or applesauce. Cheese is provided (it’s fake) as are a squirt of mustard and mayonnaise.

    Dinner is served around 5PM and frequently consists of a meat patty (“Brake pads”) with potatoes, beans or rice as the side dish. Once a week there will be tacos (with no cheese or condiments) Occasionally there will be chicken a la king but with very little chicken. Once in a while hot dogs will be served along with spicy potatoes (that are really very good)

    The commissary comes into/up to the tank or pod every weekday except holidays early in the morning. The commissary is very expensive in this jail and has a rather limited selection, as everything has to be able to be carried on the cart. You can spend up to $100 per week. However, avoid building up a big stash of goods if you can afford it because there are a lot of inmates with no funds, and they will hound you to borrow, bet or just plain give your commissary items to them. Best bet is only buy what you will be needing for that day. The commissary uses a debit account system that works by scanning your wristband, so don’t remove it otherwise someone could rip you off. Theft of your items is not a big problem in this jail, but be vigilant. Remember you are going to be with criminals some of whom excel at devising scams and trickery of any and all kinds. If you buy a bag of coffee, expect to be pestered incessantly to give “a shot” of it away day and night to inmates with no funds. Same goes with packages of Ramen noodles (“Soups”)

    Life in the pods can be very social, or very solitary it’s up to you. I was the more solitary type so, I adjusted my sleeping patterns to sleep when the other inmates were social ( mostly from the hours of 5pm to midnight). If you wish to mimic this pattern, try very hard to have yourself assigned a bunk (“rack”) on the second floor of the pod. It’s kind of a balcony arrangement and there are only beds on the second level so the noise level and traffic are much lower. If you have friends or family on the outside who can send you books (they must be sent from the outside from Amazon or Barnes and Noble) then you can stay up and do your reading in the night hours when everyone else is asleep. The lights never really go out although they are dimmed from 12-4am. The television channels are very basic, one TV will be on Spanish language TV (however the captions are often in English, so you can become hooked on the Spanish soaps if you’re not careful!), the other a variety of popular reruns and shows, sports, on movies. The guard (thankfully) has sole control over the TV’s and volume is kept low most of the time. If you are the more social type you may meet quite a few people whose company you enjoy. The inmates pass the evenings watching the TV’s, playing various card games (usually poker, tonk and spades), dominoes and occasionally chess (You must buy a chessboard from the commissary). There is a bookcart that comes around twice a week but the entire pod will designated one person to select 10 titles from that cart, and that person (which was me!) has to try and select titles that the inmates are interested in reading, as the books are shared. I read some very interesting books in my time there (the books are titles that people leave in seatbacks on American Airlines flights, which the airline donates to the jail). And of course, being Texas there is ALWAYS a few bibles in the tank, along with various self-improvement type books with a decidedly religious bent to them ( “The Purpose Driven Life”, etc.). The rec yard is located in between the pods and has no view of the outside world, although you may hear the traffic on Industrial Blvd. depending on which pod you’re in. The yard consists of a large concrete space about 25′ x 40′, and has two basketball hoops. You can only enter the rec yard at certain times. You can always ask the officer

    I have more to tell but my wrist is cramping up 🙂 email me for more at despojos2@gmail.com.

  2. Michelle M says:

    I am a woman that spent a weekend in the South Tower in February 2016. I had a 1st offense DWI and went to trial, lost, and had to spend Friday at 8pm to Sunday at 9am in Lew Sterrett.

    When you arrive, the jail entrance doors say to not bring in cell phones. But you can, it will just be taken from you and stored during your stay. You’ll be told to wait by the brick wall at 7:55. I was the only woman in the group entering for the weekend. There were 4 guys also going in for the weekend. Their offenses: 2 second offense DWIs, 1 third offense DWI, and an assault.

    The first 30 minutes are questions primarily about your mental health and possible Ebola exposure (they may need to update to ask about Zika). They take whatever personal property you have on you and put it in a bag. They also pat you down. Then you’re taken to the Central Intake where all the people that are currently being arrested are. That’s some good people watching. You wait in line to see a nurse; this took about an hour and a half because it was 10pm when I got in to see the nurse. During the waiting time I got to know the guys that were also going in for the weekend; 3 out of the 4 were friendly and nice. The one with the assault charge had to go in for 20 weekends, so he was giving us all tips and advice since he was the expert. Once I was in with the nurse, I was there for only about 10 minutes because I’m in great health. She took my temperature and blood pressure. She said I would be tested for TB later.

    Then we waited again until all the weekenders were done with the nurses, probably til 10:45ish. We went upstairs where I was separated from the guys and put in a holding cell for about 30 minutes. Then a woman in a cart came by to draw blood for the TB test. That was fun. Then back in the cell. About another 20 minutes goes by, and then I’m taken to an office window to get a receipt for my cell phone and ID (the only personal property I had brought).

    Next was changing into jail clothes (about midnight at this point). It’s a full strip down where you have to get completely naked. And turn around and cough 3 times. They give you white granny panties and a white sports bra and black crocs to go with your striped outfit.

    Then I was put back into a holding cell but this time with a girl that had just been arrested for a DWI because she had taken Valium and Zoloft and Ambien and had fallen asleep at the wheel and crashed into another car. She was soooo annoyingly happy and talkative, I’m assuming due to the Valium. Luckily I was only in the holding cell with her for about an hour before they called me out to go to my final destination. I would guess I got to my pod around 2am.

    It was quite surprising since I didn’t know what to expect. When you enter, it’s a very large room. There are steps up to the guard and there is also a ramp. Take the ramp up; it’s a rule that you can only take the stairs down. The guard explained several other rules and tells you where your bunk is. There are about 50 bunks in the room with a lower level and stairs to the upper level (the guards also have their own staircase).

    I made my bunk and got in about 2 hours of sleep before breakfast came at 4am. Breakfast the first day was a hash brown, two small sausage patties, and a large spiced muffin (the second day was the same except with two biscuits instead of the muffin). Then everyone goes back to sleep after breakfast until daylight. I continued to sleep throughout the morning since I had not slept well for several nights previously and was catching up.

    I’m not sure when lunch was, but I would guess around 11am. It was bologna sandwiches with American cheese slices and mayo. There was a gross pasta salad that had a very strong pesto flavor. And yellow jello that should have tasted like lemon but didn’t taste like anything. There are packets of generic kool aid at each meal. A lot of the girls would fill their cups with ice and sprinkle the packet on top to make a snow cone of sorts.

    After lunch, there are chores. I would guess only about 8 of the bunks are called to do chores (it rotates each day), and my bunk number was called to clean the showers. It was actually nice to have something to do for awhile.

    Don’t expect any privacy – there are no doors on the bathroom stalls and no curtains in the showers. You just do your best not to look at others, and they do the same.

    Dinner was meatballs, kidney beans, and corn. It was actually pretty good. There were packaged crackers and cookies too. During dinner, a girl that had been kicked out of another pod the previous day went up to the guard’s desk and stole a bag of chips off it. One of the girls saw her do it, and called her out on it, and a verbal fight ensued. Once the guard verified what had happened (she later told us she’d never had anyone steal from her desk but said there’s a first time for everything), the thief was moved to another pod. Apparently she was in jail for stealing, so it was seriously a problem for her.

    There is no coffee (unless you’re in for a while and buy it), so I started to get a severe headache from caffeine withdrawals later in the evening. It was so extreme I considered asking to go to the nurse, but figured I should tough it out for the next few hours as to not jeopardize me leaving as soon as I possibly could.

    I noticed the girl across from my bunk had books, and I asked where I could get some. She said they’re hard to come by, so she asked over at the next bunk, and handed me a novel. I got about 100 pages through it, then went to sleep. Reading definitely helped pass the time. The sleep is very restless since the bed is not comfortable, and you don’t get a pillow.

    I was literally counting down the hours the whole time I was there. No one came or left during my time there (other than the girl that was kicked out) so I didn’t know the procedure. Everyone I spoke to had spent weeks (some had spent months) in the pod. I stayed awake after breakfast on Sunday since I didn’t want to be asleep when they were ready to release me. I read my book until the guard called my name at 8am. Leaving wasn’t quite as big of a hassle as getting in, but I still didn’t get out into the real world until 9am. When I was leaving I ran into 2 of the guys that I had entered with, and we exchanged some stories while waiting to get out. I was so relieved to be out and hope I never have to go back!

  3. Jennifer L says:

    I have been incarcerated 3 times in the last five years. The first time was in 2010 and I was in Decker Detention Center. It was at one time a luxury hotel. Not any more. There is are guards on each floor but inmates have free reign of half the floor. (There was a gate at each end separating guards from inmates) . The food like they mentioned in the above post was predictable. The only good breakfast was “McDonald’s” (Sausage biscuits and hash browns. There is no pork and most of the meat is soy. South Tower was where I was the other two times and that was a little better. The perks of South Tower are microwaves, ice machines, and guards are there so less fighting. Also there are various “special pods” (education dorm, faith based, etc) There are alot of programs and more stuff to do so the time goes by faster. Inprocessing and Outprocessing are the worst! If theyre busy at intake it can take over 12 hours to get to your housing area, the best advice I can say is dont ask the guards alot of questions. …it’ll just make em mad and make your time harder than it has to. Release is worse because your anxious to go home. Again at release dont ask any questions, annoy the wrong guard and they’ll make you wait claiming “waiting on paperwork ” So just sit tight. Longest it ever took me to get released was a few hours. All in all it sucked but as the old saying goes dont do the crime if you can’t do the time.

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