How To Find a Jail Phone Number In Texas
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice provides telephone calls and resources to ensure inmates in state correctional facilities have the emotional and legal support to cope with the conditions of prison life and understand their legal options. County and municipal jails also allow offenders to communicate with people beyond the prison walls through phone calls.
Members of the public can phone jail facilities in the state to inquire about getting in touch with inmates housed in their institutions.Positive relationships with loved ones are vital to inmates' rehabilitation in Texas, and phone calls help maintain those relationships.
Telephone calls keep incarcerated people connected to the outside world and provide numerous benefits. Firstly, keeping eligible inmates in touch with loved ones reinforces the inmate's desire to reintegrate into society, motivating them to maintain good behavior. Good prison conduct, in turn, boosts the incarcerated individual's parole chances. Hearing from loved ones also reduces inmates' likelihood of reoffending after serving their sentences.
Secondly, paid telephone calls and conversations allow legal support, as people serving time can communicate with their lawyers to prepare for appeals, discuss their legal options, and receive counsel. The society also benefits from inmate phone communications, as reduced recidivism rates mean lower crime rates, which are a plus from a safety standpoint. Phone calls can also enlighten the public about the realities of incarceration. This awareness can boost empathy, encouraging the public to advocate for policies that improve rehabilitation, reintegration, and social justice.
Members of the public may perform a Texas inmate search to retrieve information about an inmate's location or housing facility and then retrieve the relevant jail phone number with which to contact them.
What is Texas's Provision on Inmate Phone Calls?
Texas Administrative Code § 291.1 authorizes the provision of telephone services by each county and municipal jail facility under the jurisdiction of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. It mandates them to submit plans for phone use and availability to the commission for approval.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Correctional Institutions Division provides telephone services to inmates in state prison facilities.
Inmates can call family members, their friends and family members, and their attorneys using the TDCJ's Offender's Telephone System (OTS). They can only call people on their approved calling list and are not allowed to receive calls from loved ones. Each call duration is limited to 30 minutes, but inmates do not have limits on monthly call minutes.
Friends, family members, and attorneys who want to receive phone calls must register and add their numbers to the inmate's list future calls. They must provide the inmate's TDCJ ID number to complete the registration. One can perform an online inmate search on the Department's website if they do not know an inmate's TDCJ number.
The OTS has specific restrictions regarding call destinations and recipients. Inmates can call home landline telephone numbers and postpaid and prepaid cell phones. However, they cannot call businesses, internet services, virtual numbers, pay phones, 800 numbers, or international numbers. Call forwarding and three-way calls are also prohibited.
The Department prohibits inmates on death row and those with gang affiliations from using the OTS.
The TDCJ Disciplinary Rules and Procedures for Offenders govern how inmates with disciplinary issues get to access the inmate telephone system. Inmates serve varying degrees of OTS penalties depending on their facility and level of crime. For example, a state prison facility may suspend the OTS privileges of inmates facing major penalties for up to 120 days.
The TDCJ also establishes guidelines for inmates' access to telephones in the ED-03.32 (Executive Directive) document.
County and municipal jails also have identical policies regarding inmate phone calls. Like state jails, inmates cannot receive calls but initiate outgoing calls. There are also institution-specific policies regarding when inmates can use cell phones and for how long.
Eligibility Requirements for Inmate Phone Calls
Private individuals who want to receive calls from inmates must meet specific conditions, including:
- The registrant must use a state ID or driver's license to apply.
- The name on the registrant's ID must match the name on their enrollment information.
- The registrant must be a minimum of 18 years old.
- Registrants must submit phone numbers registered in their names.
- Applicants must undergo a new registration process for each inmate if they want to communicate with more than one incarcerated individual.
- Offenders must belong to specific groups, such as Protective Safekeeping or Level 1, 2, 3, or 4.
Attorneys must fill out the Attorney/Inmate Telephone Call Application Form to prevent facilities from recording privileged phone conversations. They are also expected to send a notice on their firm's letterhead to the Department's phone vendor, providing details, such as their name, phone number, email address, bar association, telephone number, and the inmate's TDCJ ID.
Inmates who do not have access to the Offender Telephone System can use TDCJ-owned telephones if they meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Offenders must submit a request to a facility official.
- Offenders must be in Level 1 security detention to submit a request and receive authorization from the warden.
- Inmates must not have been disciplined within the last 90 days.
Are Inmate Phone Calls Public?
No, inmate phone calls are not classified as public information in Texas. Section 552.134 of the Texas Public Information Act (Government Code Chapter 552) restricts public access to records maintained and obtained by the TDCJ, including inmate phone conversations. These conversations are exempt from Section 552.029, which lists publicly accessible inmate information.
However, inmate phone calls are not completely confidential. The Department and the county and municipal jail administrators record and monitor inmate phone calls received and conversations, except communication with attorneys on record. Law enforcement agencies can request copies of these recordings, which the Office of the Attorney General will process. Individuals can also secure court subpoenas to compel the TDCJ or a county jail to release inmate phone records.
How to Perform a Texas Inmate Search
As part of the process for obtaining a Texas inmate phone number, inquirers can perform a Texas inmate search to obtain information about their location. These searches may be performed through the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), which maintains an online search database and tool for performing an inmate lookup. A Texas inmate search will provide the requester with information about the inmate's holding facility, custody status, offense, release date, and other vital information. This search will require the inmate's full name, birth date, and designated ID number.
Where Is a Jail Phone Number Typically Listed in Texas?
While members of the public are prohibited from calling inmates, they can phone jail facilities operated by the TDCJ or County Sheriff Departments to inquire about inmate phone calls. These numbers are typically listed on the website of the department overseeing the jail facility.
For example, individuals seeking contact details of facilities under the TDCJ can visit the Unit Directory page of the TDCJ's website.
How To Find a County Jail Phone Number In Texas
Loved ones seeking phone number-related information about a correctional facility in Texas can visit the website of the department in charge of the facility. For instance, an individual can check the website of the sheriff's department overseeing a county jail where an inmate is being held.
Texas Jail Phone Numbers and Contact Information
Individuals seeking the contact information of correctional facilities under the Texas Department of Criminal Justice can visit the Department's Unit Directory web page.
How To Put Money On Phone For Jail Calls in Texas
The TDCJ and county sheriff departments use third-party vendors to operate phone services. Loved ones can use prepaid plans to receive phone calls and fund the account they created with the vendor. Calls will then be billed to the account.
Individuals who want to speak with inmates over the phone must first register their phone number and wait three days for the vendor to create their account. They can fund the account using any accepted payment method once they receive confirmation that the account is active. This option allows registrants to manage prepaid calling account and control call spending, as calls are billed when they accept the inmate's phone calls.
Most county and municipal jails use the same third-party method where loved ones and attorneys must register with an independent phone call provider to create an account. Interested persons can visit the website of the sheriff's office in charge of a county jail to find out which provider to contact.
How to Add Money to Inmate Phone Account in Texas
Third-party vendors for correctional facilities also allow loved ones and attorneys to credit inmate phone accounts. In the case of the TDCJ, family and friends can fund inmate calls through debit accounts. Fees will be deducted from the account after every call.
Anyone can fund an inmate's prepaid account, even friends and families not on the inmate's visitor list. Funds in the inmate's account automatically become the inmate's property and are non-refundable.
How To Accept Collect Calls From Jail On Cell Phone For Free In Texas
There are no free options for receiving collect calls in Texas. Loved ones or attorneys who accept collect calls accept the related charges. Each month, the vendor sends monthly invoices to individuals on the collect call plan, showing details of their collect calls used. The invoice will be billed to the phone number registered during the Texas Inmate Telephone Friends & Family Enrollment process.