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 Jail signings - the ins and outs
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28 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2011 :  7:05:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Every Jail/detention center is different, verify the process first, then you'll have a better idea on what the charge. Inmate services usually has the answer, look them up.
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89 Posts

Posted - 06/09/2011 :  10:51:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit azdocsign's Homepage  Reply with Quote
In Arizona, the jails I have visited will NOT allow the credible witness and the notary to enter at the same time. This prohibits notaries in Arizona from doing notarizations unless a current form of identification is available.

Be careful too, as some of the jails only have specific days and times that notaries can be allowed to see inmates. I have the person who called me to verify this information before we meet at the jail.

As Jeremy stated correctly, jail booking numbers and or arm ID bracelets are NOT proper identification. Do not let jal officials or lawyers convince you otherwise, many will try. Great advice given to always have the requestor read the expiration date from the identification.
Happy signings to all
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2855 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2011 :  9:15:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbelmont's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Visit our blog entries about jail signings. There are three links to blogs in the reply below!

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2855 Posts

Posted - 05/17/2011 :  10:31:37 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbelmont's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Here is an interesting blog post about meeting clients in jails

Jail notary jobs from A to Z Blog

Finding a notary for a prison signing

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12 Posts

Posted - 09/08/2010 :  10:38:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I, too, get many calls from law offices for jail visits. Mostly, it is for the local immigration detention center. Many of the detainees housed there are from locations at least an hour or two away, and that includes their attorneys. There is one law firm that calls me often. They usually email documents to me, and I invoice them. Most of the others will have a check waiting for me when I arrive because the attorney is there at the same time.

When family members call me, though, that's cash up front before I walk in the gate.

When I do jail and courthouse visits, I charge by the hour, and everything is included at no extra charge. This works well for that one law firm, especially, because they will have me go there and notarize for multiple individuals.

The biggest obstacle I have there is proper ID. Sometimes, the only ID these guys have is a passport. Let's say they've overstayed their visa... but they do have legitimate ID. The LARGEST obstacle with that is dealing with ICE. Their passports aren't held in jail property, but by their ICE officer. Getting in touch with them is a royal PITA. Some of them are really crabby, and they don't return messages...if you can get a phone number at all. They do NOT like being interrupted to stand there and "babysit" as I record information from a passport. They have to stay with the passport the whole time. The last ICE officer I dealt with was a real piece of work. She was very impatient, couldn't understand why the guy's wristband wasn't good enough, etc.

I tried to explain state ID laws for notarizations, and she said, "I don't really care...just hurry up." Well, they happened to be in the middle of a barracks count at the time, so we had to wait. She really didn't understand why I didn't just write down his information so she could go. Yeah... okay. I'm looking at a Russian passport with nobody in front of me to compare the photo and signature to? No way.

The Sheriff at the counter later told me that she was new and nobody liked her. I could see why!!

Serving Northern Los Angeles and Southeastern Kern Counties of California
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469 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2010 :  5:12:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit PWinFL's Homepage  Reply with Quote
There is no one person responsible for paying you. However, usually, it's the one hiring you that will pay you. So if you're being hired by a law office, then the law office or attorney probably will pay you. You need to make it very clear with the person setting up the appointment with you, what the costs are, who will be paying you and method of payment. For example, it may be the law office that is calling you to set up the appointment, but it will be the spouse of the inmate that will be providing the funds. You still need to make it very clear how much the job will cost and how and when you will be paid.

Never drive any faster than your guardian angel can fly.

I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Florida,
and I may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice.

Visit us online at http://www.PAWnotary.com
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171 Posts

Posted - 08/18/2010 :  5:07:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit DianaNotary's Homepage  Reply with Quote
just out of the curiosity, who is supposed to pay for the jail signings? Most of the calls i got for jail signings came from law offices, so i was wondering if I should bill the law office?
Any thoughts? Experiences?

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151 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2010 :  12:30:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit gjk-fl's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I actually officiated a wedding inside the jail. The first one ever at that jail. The bride was on one side of the window and the groom was on the other side. I listened to them commit themselves to each other on the phone while I watched him say his vows. Two other inmates witnessed. I then went in the lawyers chambers and obtained his signature there. Lots of red tape, but we got it done.

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Lisa T.

391 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2010 :  4:21:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit Lisa T.'s Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yes, I've done jail notarizations. They can be a hassle if you are not given the correct paperwork. It's a waiting game, you cannot take a phone in with you so you may miss other work - which is why I would charge a premium and only accept cash or debit/credit card up front, before the appointment. One thing I do not like is the officer at the reception takes the notary seal and stamps the back of an appointment sheet. Our seal (in CA) legally is to only be stamped on an acknowledgment or jurat.

I no longer do jail notarizations but refer them to Notaries I know that do.
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2855 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2010 :  12:46:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbelmont's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Have you ever done a jail notary?
Have you ever visited a Jail? Would you be afraid to go to one?
In reality, a jail is a very safe place to visit. There are guards everywhere, and the bad guys are behind bars. Notaries make a pretty penny notarizing at jails, in fact some make so much it should be criminal to charge that much! You can charge a lot higher travel fee going to a jail because its a lot more trouble than a regular signing, and few notaries are willing to go. There is also more to know. Jail signings are usually the result of physical or online yellow page advertising, not directories that cater to loan signings ( such as ours ).

Who hires you to do a jail signing?
If you are called to do a Jail signing, it is never the inmate who calls you, but their girlfriend, family member, or attorney. The inmates don't want to blow their (1) phone call calling a notary - and I don't blame them. You need to arrange a time and meeting point near the jail where you are sure to be able to spot each other - at the same place at the same time. Its easy to get lost at a jail.

Idenfication for jail-birds
When you get the call, ask them if they have identification for the signer, and if they do, then have them read it to you - including the expiration date, before you book an appointment. If they don't have ID, don't use the jail bracelet wristband, thats not acceptable by notary standards. You might be able to use credible witnesses if you can get two of them who have ID that is current - if credible witnesses are allowed in your state. If you can't get identification, you might be able to do a Jurat which doesn't require identification in most states. However, California now requires ID for Jurats as well. Unfortunately, most documents such as a power of attorney or grant deed are normally done with an acknowlegment, not a jurat. But, you can attach a Jurat form and hope for the best. A recorded document might not be accepted for recording if its not done with the proper wording, but you never know.

Where do you meet your client for a jail signing?
You have to arrange to meet a stranger at the jail at a certain time. Jails are large confusing places, so it might be better to meet at a well marked street corner. If you meet in a jail, you might not know which part of the jail to meet. Waiting room? Hall to the waiting room? Front dest? Out side the bront door? IN the parking lot? Its easy for two people to be at opposite ends of the same facility or get lost. Make sure the person meeting you has a cell phone and make sure you confirm with them, otherwise you might be making a trip for nothing. Jail notaries are not for the elite of society and blowing off a notary would not ruffle the conscience of most of your potential clients for this type of job.

Logistics at the jail.
Once you are actually at the jail, you meet the client, and then fill out forms with the guards to be granted permission to enter. Make sure you know what cell the inmate is in and that they haven't been moved. Be prepared to wait - jails have a very different sense of time from the way a busy notaries sees time. Follow the instructions for where to go, and then find a guard to bring the inmate to you once you are there. You will have to pass your journal and forms through slits with help of the guard.

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