So It’s Your First Day In Jail: Here’s What You Can Expect

You have been found guilty


So you’ve been tried and convicted for a crime and now you’re ready to do your time. Well, it’s not like you have a say in the matter. But, the day has arrived. The judge found you guilty and sheriff’s deputies (that’s who takes you into custody after court) have already handcuffed you and are now leading you to a section of the courthouse you’ve never seen. Who knew there were jail cells back there?

You sit in a cell with a dozen or so other people of various criminal backgrounds, waiting for someone to transport you to the county jail. Soon, you hear voices and the sound of chains rattling. Deputies call you out one at a time and begin shackling you—handcuffs attached to a chain around your waist, and leg irons.

The transportation officers load each of you into a van and then padlock the door from the outside. Not a good time for your claustrophobia to act up.

You arrive at the jail where you’re herded into a large room. Then you’re strip searched, issued jail clothing, which you quickly put on, and then herded back into another large room. It’s now time to learn the rules and regulations of the jail. It’s orientation time, and you’d better pay attention. The rules you’re about to hear are important. They’re for your safety. By the way, if you don’t follow the rules you’ll find yourself staying behind bars a little longer than you’d expected.

Now, please sit quietly and watch your orientation video, courtesy of the Chatham County Georgia Sheriff’s Department.

7 replies
  1. Craig Faustus Buck
    Craig Faustus Buck says:

    Hi Lee,

    At 37 seconds in there is a female guard who appears to be cutting something off a prisoner’s wrist with a knife. Are my eyes deceiving me? It looks (a) potentially dangerous for the prisoner should the guard slip and cut his wrist and b) potentially dangerous for the guard, should the prisoner gain possession of the knife. Any insights?

  2. Jenny Milchman
    Jenny Milchman says:

    This blog is such a wealth of information and details, Lee. It’s a great resource for crime fiction writers, but it’s also important for we civilians to know what really goes on “on the other side”. You share hard, raw material–and I really appreciate it.

  3. Jordan
    Jordan says:

    Only three paperbacks allowed?!?! That would drive me nuts! I love to read too much to go to prison. lol, that’s reason number one, not to even try something stupid.

  4. Elaine Splaver Abramson
    Elaine Splaver Abramson says:

    Hi Lee, in Canada you do NOT have to be convicted of a crime to find yourself in this situation. Canadian border guards, who are hired by the American security company Wackenhut, rule Lester Pearson International Airport, and without benefit of a judge or jury terrorize you and sentence you to prison. In 2003 I was investigated by the RCMP and found to “have an exceptionally clean reccord” and didn’t even have a parking ticket to my name but I was falsely imprisoned by them. Read “Daughter Of Spies”, my true story involving this incident at

  5. Dee Phelps
    Dee Phelps says:

    Hey Lee: Were you, or are you a police officer? I have so much respect for them. My brother and coauthor of The Disappointment Room was a Captain in the Harris County/Houston Police Dept. (retired and now an exec. w/ safety and security of petro plants on the Gulf Coast and up the Eastern Coast. His wife was a detective w/ Harris County. His daughter is is a Special Agent w/ Homeland Security and his son a Sheriff’s Deputy. My son (who leaves tomorrow for USC/Upstate for his Junior year in college), is a Criminal Justice major. I told him that tomorrow I am throwing a party!, but I will miss him very much. Just knowing that his endeavor is to better and protect our lives makes me very proud. Hope you are getting settled in your new home and enjoying the Lowcountry. Sincerely, Dee Phelps (Beaufort, SC)

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