Are Jail Phones Tapped?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jun 02, 2015 | 0 Comments

The courts have said time and time again that inside jails and prisons and custody facilities, that there is a very reduced expectation in privacy, sometimes no expectation of privacy at all. And what that means is that when inmates call you, if you have a loved one in jail and they call you on the jail phone-- collect or using a calling card-- that the authorities can tap those conversations. Moreover, when you go and visit your loved one in jail, when you're talking across the glass and you're on the phone and you're on that phone system, the jail or the police or the authorities can tap those conversations as well.

Consequently, I advise all of my clients who are in custody never talk about your case or say anything that you would not want the authorities to overhear to anybody but me-- to anybody but your attorney. They're not allowed to tap conversations with your lawyer. But conversations with family, with friends, with private parties, they're allowed to tap.

They don't have to give notice. They don't need a court order. They don't need a warrant, and very many of these conversations are tapped. So for people who are in custody, talking about their case could only get them in trouble.

If they talk about it on the phone, then there's a good chance that those conversations are being recorded-- are being overheard. If they talk about it with other people in the jail-- with other inmates, those places are full of jailhouse snitches. So if your loved one is in jail, advise them. Do not talk about the facts of their case or anything that might incriminate them with anybody but their lawyer.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


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