Processing is just that: MCSO processes inmates in and out of the jail system. When an inmate arrives, he is “booked” in. The processing in steps remain the same for people who self-report to the jail and those who are arrested and taken in. However, it is worth mentioning that when a person is able to self-report, the time frame can be lessened significantly.
A photo is taken and an ID card is issued to each inmate at the time of processing. It is important to keep this ID at all times. Fingerprints are then obtained and each inmate is assigned a booking number. While this procedure may seem quick and easy, this is not the case. Processing can range from 3-24 hours (or even longer!). Throughout this time, the person is placed into an often crowded holding tank with other inmates. Space is limited so many times it is standing-room only. If you do have the opportunity to sit or lie down, it is on a cold and dingy concrete floor. In the holding tank, there is a metal toilet with a drinking fountain/ sink on the top for your convenience. Toilet paper and privacy are in no way guaranteed. Be prepared to use the “restroom” in the presence of your 20 new friends. “Courtesy flush” and “put some water on it” are frequent audience requests. Hopefully your name is not called while you are busy, because you definitely do not want to miss the opportunity to move on to the next cell or tent.
Personal Property and clothing are given special attention during processing. Any items deemed “unacceptable” will be confiscated and stored in a property bag. While processing out, these items will be returned, however, you are not permitted to open them until after you are released.
If you are assigned to a full custody yard (Tent City’s In-Tents n and o yards, for instance) your clothing will be taken and added to your “property” during processing in. A large plastic bag will be provided to put your clothes and shoes in. Fold these items with care: you will be wearing them again in the (hopefully) not too distant future. You will then receive your celebrated new wardrobe of “stripes” and pink underwear. The inmates’ mandated outfit consists of black and white horizontally striped top and bottom, pink boxers or underwear, pink socks, and a pair of shower shoes/ plastic sandals. Female inmates are also given a pink sports bra. If you are fortunate, in colder weather you may receive a pair of top and bottom pink thermals. This normally occurs during clothing exchange when you have a job and work. If you are processing to go to Con-Tents to serve Work Furlough, Work Release, or Overnight sentences, you are allowed to stay in your (approved) civilian clothing. Gloves, hats, and hoods are not permitted.
Processing out is much like processing in. Often, it can take even more time. Each inmate will be informed of the expected date (but not the time) that he will be processed out. An inmate can occasionally be called several hours early for processing out. It is necessary to listen to the overhead speakers for your name to be called—this can happen at any time. Being called early is not indicative that processing will be completed ahead of schedule. During the processing times, inmates receive “Ladmo Bags” (bagged meals that may or may not contain edible food and drink). When being released, it is important to remember that the area of release is not the same as your area of admittance. About a 20 minute walk separates on spot from the other.