How to Serve Someone Who Has Been Incarcerated

There are multiple challenges when it comes to serving an individual in prison, but it is possible. Different factors come into play for the process server to get in touch with the inmate. Whether the incarcerated individual is in a state or federal prison, has the inmate been released, or has the inmate been transferred to another facility.  There are different security and custody levels to consider. Moreover, every prison has different protocols that need to be taken into consideration.

Detention Centers

These facilities house inmates that are awaiting trial or inmates that are serving terms from 1 day to 18 months.  The inmates housed in these facilities have different restrictions to how secure of a level they are mandated to.  There are some detention inmates that are allowed to be on work release programs, but must return back to the detention center.

State Prisons

There are four levels of custody within state prisons; minimum, medium, close, and maximum. The inmates in minimum custody are considered to be low-risk and are allowed to work as community work crews. Inmates that are in maximum custody are placed in individual cells, wear restraints when moving through the prison, and are always escorted.

Federal Prisons

Federal prisons have four levels of custody as well; minimum security, low security, medium security, and high security. Based on the level of security it could be a dorm-style prison with a basic fencing system or even solid walls with fencing and prisoners placed within cells.

Federal prisons also hold inmates of all custody levels while they wait for trial, transfer, or to receive medical assistance. The process by law enforcement officers is allowed in federal prisons based on state policies.

How to Serve Someone Who Has Been Incarcerated

The prison staff is responsible for a strict routine to ensure safety and protocol. Any visitors, even process servers, should follow that protocol and realize that they have to follow the directions of the staff once inside the prison.

The first step in serving an inmate is to contact the prisons head of security, warden, or legal department where the inmate is housed.  You would need to notify them of who you are and the papers you have to serve them with.  Some institutions might want you to email or fax them a copy before they can authorize you to serve the papers. The head of security, warden or legal department will arrange a date and time for you to show up to serve the documents.  Some detention centers will require a money order in order to serve your court documents to serve someone who has been incarcerated.  This money order is for the jail and allows the guard to serve the inmate.  Your affidavit will reflect that you served Correctional Officer xxx on the behalf of inmate xxx.  Some federal prisons may require you to have a sheriff to serve the papers.

Hire a Process Server

The process server must know the procedure of serving a prisoner. Every prison has different rules and regulations. It takes phone calls and other arrangements while following protocol to arrange a meeting between the server and the inmate. To avoid hassle and a constant back and forth, it’s best to have a process server facilitate everything. EGA Process Serving is one great option in MD / D.C. / Northern VA. Contact them now at (301) 793-4336.