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Lexington Jail Records Inmate Calls

Lexington Jail Records Inmate Calls

At the Lexington County Detention Center, the telephone systems used by inmates automatically records all phone calls. Inmates are required to dial out using an identification code- identifying which inmate made the call. While the system does advise inmates that calls are recording, we have seen numerous examples of situations where distraught inmates don’t actually understand what this means, or how dangerous this can be for their case.

These recordings can be stored for years. Law enforcement investigators and the prosecutor’s office have easy access to the recordings. Anything that the inmate says on the calls can be used as evidence against them in court. When inmates discuss their legal strategies, or the substance of their discussions with their lawyer, they can also jeopardize their defense.

Other pitfalls include situations where inmates violate the no-contact provisions of their bond (such as speaking to a spouse in a domestic violence case). Inmates who communicate with witnesses in their own case can also be accused of tampering, which can be a separate felony charge.

While it seems unfair for inmate calls to be used against them, this has been upheld as legal by the court. Although in most run-of-the-mill cases no one will ever take the time to listen in on calls, they are almost always reviewed in serious cases and in cases going to trial. They also may be reviewed when the inmate is suspected of having knowledge of other crimes, or if there are suspicious of contact in domestic violence cases. But regardless of the exact situation, any call is subject to monitoring.

Here are our recommendations:

  1. Telephone calls should be limited to subjects that do not concern the case or the legal strategy. Sports, weather, current events, family news, are all safe topics. Don’t stray into discussions about your case.
  2. Do not attempt to communicate with your lawyer’s officer on monitored lines.
  3. Friends and family members should not attempt to “three-way” the inmate with people that they are not supposed to be communicating with.
  4. Do not violate any no-contact provisions, or attempt to discuss any aspect of their case with any possible witness.
  5. Do not “trash talk” the prosecutor, judges, police officers, or anyone else involved in your case. Imagine that everything you say is going to be considered by the decision maker regarding a dismissal, reduction, verdict, or sentence.

Lexington County is not the only jail recording inmate calls. The same occurs at other jails throughout South Carolina, including at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County.


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