Jailbirds and phones


I took care of a prisoner yesterday with her own personal guard. The guard requested a phone in the room so she could check in every hour with her facility. Several of the staff told me not to do this. They said our policy was to not let prisoners talk on phones and the guard would have to go to the nurses station to use the phone. There is no written policy. I felt that the guard should say what the patient was allowed to do regarding phone privileges and I really didn't want the guard at the nurses station Q1H. Any thoughts?


333 Posts

Specializes in correctional, psych, ICU, CCU, ER.

Well, as most inmates know, (better than lawyers,) they have their rights. The right to make calls is one of them. Now that doesn't mean that your facility has to foot the bill for her long distance or toll-calls. but the guard should have acell phone provided by the jail for her to check in. The guard shouldn't be leaving the prisoner q hr for anything, esp. to check in-too easy for the inmate to get a message to the outside world (sorry, you didn't say what kind of facility you work in) that q hr she is alone and gee, that would be a swell time to get her outta there.. Safety risk. Also, the facility probably needs better policies.

Good luck

BadBird, BSN, RN

1,126 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

So what is wrong with telling the prisoner, no you can not use the phone.

Specializes in correctional-CCHCP/detox nurse, DOULA-Birth Assist.

JailRN is right nobody knows a prisoners rights better than a prisoner, just ask them they will tell you what they deserve...YEAH RIGHT !!!

I don't know what your facility P&Ps are but every patient is allowed access to a phone, every prisoner is allowed access to a phone unless they are in segregation and phone access has been denied. This is up to the security staff not the hospital staff this person is still a "patient " in your hospital. The correctional officer does need a phone for backup (esp if they don't have a radio, why they wouldn't have a radio is beyond me).

Our hospital duty officers work in pairs, THE PATIENT IS NEVER LEFT ALONE. Where the patient goes we go, even pre-op and recovery. Its the officers responsibility to monitor visitors and security for the prisoner its the nurses job to take care of the patient. We had our correctional staff thrown out of the nurses area because one of our COs got into a tiff with one of the nurses about the patients rights (the nurse and the CO were both out of line on this). I understand the nurses and corectional officer's point of view because I am both and have been the guard and the nurse at the hospital. You need a policy written on patient prisoners that the hospital and the correctional facility write together so everybody knows whats goin on.

doobiedo, RN

59 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, Long Term Care. Has 22 years experience.

I use to work in facility that had the contract for the local prison. If the pt was on a med surg floor each room had a phone and it was functional and I'm the state footed the bill. If the pt was in ICU we had floater phones for the pts and one was in the prisoners room at all times for the guard...no questions asked. I want that guard in that room, with the prisoner not out and about looking for a phone....then who is with the prisoner! Not me!


6,011 Posts

Specializes in ORTHOPAEDICS-CERTIFIED SINCE 89. Has 30 years experience.

Our place supplied a telephone cord long enough to reach a table outside the door. Most of the prisoners were shackled with at least one and sometimes 2 guards. Even the ones in traction or braces were shackled.

What used to really irk me is the law enforcement agencies would bring an injured "perp" to our ER and if they were admitted they'd NOT arrest them until discharge. Seems the agency would have to foot the bill if they were under arrest. Then we had rent-a-copsecurity guards outside the room. Fortunately the State Psychiatric Hospital had a forensic unit we coud transfer them to quite soon.


375 Posts

Most guards who sit with the prisoners we get on the floor enforce the same rules that would be in effect at the jail, for example lights out at 10pm. Not sure how they handle phone calls though.

A little off subject but we had a pt who obtained inhalation and skin burns when he wrecked his moble meth lab. He was on police watch but had no guard present. We called the jail that he was supposed to go to after discharged and asked them what was going on with him not having a guard, because I am NOT putting myself between him and the door if he tries to leave. He was an angry little man, there's no telling what he would try!! They said 'We just want you to contact us when he is to be discharged', alrightly then. The next day he walk his little angry a$$ right out the door. That really pi$$ed me off, he is still on the street...making meth...:angryfire

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