Serving Time in Columbus, Ohio Jail or Prison: What to Expect
You’re likely intimidated by the thought of incarceration. If you’re sentenced to do time behind bars in Columbus, Franklin County, or the surrounding areas, whether it’s in county jail or state prison, you should know what to expect. It’s also important to know your rights when entering a correctional facility.
This article is not a substitute for professional legal advice. While an experienced criminal defense attorney can hopefully keep you out of the situation, to begin with, your attorney can also help you understand what will happen if you do go to jail.
Contact Luftman, Heck, & Associates to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable and highly skilled Columbus-area defense lawyer. Call (614) 500-3836 or reach out online for a free and confidential evaluation.
The Types of Correctional Facilities in Ohio
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction (ODRC) oversees a network of correctional facilities throughout the state. These state facilities are prisons where inmates serve time if they have been sentenced on felony charges. Additionally, prisons are long-term facilities for those serving longer sentences.
Jails, on the other hand, are different than prisons. They are short-term facilities, typically operated by counties in Ohio. They house those who are awaiting trial or serving short sentences for misdemeanors.
Other incarceration options in Ohio include:
- Work Release Programs – The Ohio work release program allows selected inmates to participate in private industry and agriculture programs outside the ODRC’s institutions.
- Home Detention – Home detention, or “house arrest,” is a period of confinement of an offender in their home or other premises as specified by the court. The offender must remain at the location during specified times and report periodically to a parole officer.
- Rehabilitation Center – Often called “halfway houses,” are facilities licensed by the ODRC to prepare offenders for release into the “real world.”
In some cases, your attorney may be able to negotiate an alternative to jail or prison as part of your sentencing. Even if this doesn’t occur before your sentencing hearing, your attorney may be able to request early release into one of these alternative programs if you are considered a good candidate.
Central Ohio Jails & Prisons
There are several jails, prisons, and alternative locations in Central Ohio, including the following:
- Franklin County Jail
Contact Info: 2460 Jackson Pike, Columbus, OH 43223 | Phone: (614) 525-3368
Website: Franklin County Jail
- Franklin County Correction Center I
Contact Info: 370 S Front St, Columbus, OH 43215 | Phone: (614) 525-3368
- Franklin County Corrections Center
Contact Info: 2551 Fisher Rd, Columbus, OH 43204
Website: Franklin County Correction Center
- Franklin County Correction Center II
Contact Info: 2460 Jackson Pike, Columbus, OH 43223 | Phone: (614) 525-7100
- Franklin County Community-Based Correctional Facility
Contact Info: 1745 Alum Creek Dr, Columbus, OH 43207 | Phone: (614) 525-4600
- Franklin County Work Release
Contact Info: 369 S High St # 4, Columbus, OH 43215 | Phone: (614) 462-3089
Website: Franklin County Work Release
- Kendall Manor
Contact Info: 1337 Bryden Rd, Columbus, OH 43205 | Phone: (380) 799-2919
Website: Kendall Manor
- Pickaway Correctional Institution
Contact Info: 11781 St. Rt. 762 Orient, OH 43146 | Phone: (614) 877-4362
Website: Pickaway Correctional Institution
- Pickaway County Jail
Contact Info: 600 Island Rd, Circleville, OH 43113 | Phone: (740) 477-6156
Website: Pickaway County Jail
- Marion Correctional Institution
Contact Info: 940 Marion-Williamsport Road, Marion, OH 43302 | Phone: (740) 382-5781
Website: Marion Correctional Institution
- Fairfield County Jail
Contact Info: 345 Lincoln Ave., Lancaster, OH 43130 | Phone: (740) 652-7252
Website: Fairfield County Jail
How to Prepare for Serving Time in Custody
Going to jail or prison is never something you want to happen. But some things can help you transition to your new normal. You will likely be stressed about the situation. You may relieve some of that anxiety by learning how to prepare yourself.
Preparing Emotionally for Prison or Jail
Going to jail or prison will require you to have the right attitude and focus on the end goal. You are in prison to rehabilitate and eventually return to society. If you have a life sentence, you can still have a life behind bars. Your life is not over.
Try to stay positive. This may require counseling or therapy to come to terms with your sentence. Once you find peace within yourself, you will have a better outcome of your incarceration.
What to Bring & Not Bring
You cannot take much with you when you head behind bars. However, there are some things that you might need that can come.
You can bring prescription glasses and some other medical devices. You should get a list of your medications but do not need to provide your prescriptions to the facility. The jail or prison will provide medications, clothing, and most other things you need.
You are not allowed to bring a phone, iPod, games, cards, books, or anything else with you during incarceration. You cannot bring actual money with you either. Many of these items and issues will be handled after you are processed into jail or prison.
Legal Preparation for Jail or Prison
Here are some steps you should take to handle your legal and financial affairs before going behind bars.
You should appoint someone with a power of attorney (POA) to handle your affairs while you are gone. This could be a spouse, parent, child, sibling, or trusted friend.
You should draft a financial plan determining how your finances should be utilized in prison. You may also create a budget for your financial needs in prison and coordinate who can put money on your books or commissary account.
Make sure you designate a primary point of contact while you are incarcerated. They can advise your friends and family of any updates on your status, location, and other information they might need. You can even sign a release of information authorization allowing prison staff to disclose information to that person.
Questions & Concerns about Incarceration
You likely have many questions if you are headed to jail or prison. We have answers. If you don’t find the information you need here, you can call Luftman, Heck & Associates for personalized and confidential legal advice.
What Should I Expect During the Intake Process?
The prison or jail intake process can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. It is important to know what to expect so that you can be prepared.
Here is a general overview of the intake process:
- Arrival. You will be transported to the prison by the authorities who arrested you. You will be strip-searched, and all your personal belongings will be confiscated.
- Identification. You will be photographed and fingerprinted. Your identification information will be entered into the correctional facility system’s database.
- Medical and mental health screenings. You will be screened for any medical or mental health conditions. You may also be given a physical exam.
- Classification. You will be classified based on your security risk and other factors. This will determine the facility you are assigned to and the level of security you will be under.
- Orientation. You will receive an orientation to the prison facility. This will include information about the rules and regulations, programs and services available, and how to get around.
Once you have completed intake, you will be assigned to a cell and begin your sentence.
Do I Have Any Rights in Prison/Jail?
It is also important to remember that you have rights, even though you are in custody. You have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity. You also have the right to access medical care and other essential services.
How Do I Make Phone Calls?
Each county jail has various methods of making phone calls for inmates. To contact an inmate in a county jail facility, you will need to review the specific requirements of that county.
Those serving time in Ohio prisons use ViaPath Technologies or Global Tel*Link telephone services. Inmates may use phones with three payment options:
- Standard Collect Calls
- Pre-Paid Collect Calls
- Offender Commissary Calls
What Are Visitation Rules?
Visitation rules in prison can vary depending on the prison facility. However, some general rules apply to most prisons.
Here is a general overview of prison visitation rules:
- The prison administration must approve visitors.
- Visitors must be 18 years of age or older unless they are the child of an inmate.
- Visitors must present their identification at the time of visitation.
- Visitors may be subject to a search before entering the prison.
- Visitors may be limited in the amount of time they can spend with an inmate.
- Visitors are not allowed to bring any contraband into the prison.
Some prisons may have additional visitation rules, such as dress code requirements or restrictions on the number of visitors an inmate can receive at one time. It is important to check with the specific facility for visitation rules. You can usually find this information on the prison’s website or by calling the facility’s administration.
What Is the Policy on Receiving Mail or Packages?
Inmates in Ohio prisons can receive packages via U.S. Mail. When addressing the package, you need to include the individual’s name, inmate number, and the address of their institution.
All inmate mail may be opened, screened, copied, and inspected for contraband. Incarcerated individuals may receive the following in a first-class letter:
- Up to five photographs (no nudes)
- Five newspaper clippings
- Five pages of written/typed correspondence
- Color greeting cards that have not been altered
- Religious medallions
Many items are prohibited, including:
- Postage stamps
- Laminated stickers
Packages, including food and sundry items, must be ordered from approved vendors. Family and friends can send other items but must follow proper mailing guidelines.
How Do I Get Medical Care?
All correctional facilities have medical services. If you are injured or become ill in prison, you can request to see a doctor or nurse. They must allow you to see a medical professional right away.
In Ohio, the first and most basic level of care is provided at facility infirmaries. The ODRC also operates two skilled nursing facilities, Frazier Health Center in Orient, Ohio, and Franklin Medical Center in Franklin County. These facilities are available for serious illnesses and permanent disabilities.
The Ohio State University Medical Center is a third level of medical care for inmates in Ohio. They provide emergency services and inpatient hospital services.
Can I Attend Educational or Rehab Programs?
You can attend educational or rehabilitation programs in prison. Most prisons offer a variety of programs to help inmates learn new skills, improve their education, and prepare for re-entry into society.
Prison educational programs can range from basic literacy and numeracy classes to college-level courses. Rehabilitation programs can include substance abuse treatment, anger management classes, and job training programs.
To attend an educational or rehabilitation program in prison, you must meet the eligibility requirements. For example, some programs may have a minimum age requirement or require inmates to have a certain level of education.
You should contact the prison administration to learn more about the educational and rehabilitation programs available at your prison. You can usually find this information on the prison’s website or by calling the prison administration.
What Jobs Are Available Inside the Facility?
Employment opportunities in prison can vary depending on the facility. However, some general types of jobs are available to inmates.
Here is a general overview of prison employment opportunities:
- Food Service: Inmates may work in the prison kitchen, serving food to other inmates.
- Maintenance: Inmates may work on the prison grounds, performing tasks such as mowing lawns or cleaning buildings.
- Laundry: Inmates may work in the prison laundry, washing and folding clothes for other inmates.
- Library: Inmates may work in the prison library, helping to check out and check in books.
- Educational Programs: Inmates may work as teaching assistants or tutors in the prison’s educational programs.
Some prisons may also offer other employment opportunities, such as working in the prison’s factory or warehouse.
Once released, offenders may participate in work-release programs, which involve employment in the private sector.
Resources and Further Reading
- Can I Get Out of Jail for Good Behavior in Ohio?
- 5 Questions to Ask a Criminal Defense Lawyer During a Free Consultation
- Arrested in Columbus, Ohio, or the Suburbs? Here’s What to Know
- Inside the Courtroom: Preliminary Hearings in Franklin County, Ohio
- Why Hire an Attorney for a Bail Hearing?
- How Do Plea Bargains Work in Columbus Criminal Cases?
- Do Confidential Informants Get Charges Dropped?
A Columbus Criminal Defense Lawyer with LHA Can Help
If you have been sentenced to jail or prison, you should begin preparing yourself and your family for what is to come. Being aware of your rights and opportunities while behind bars is important.