Tips for Taking Prison Depositions: Take Only the Essentials, Florida Court Reporting School Advises
As a successful stenographer, you’ll soon learn that not all court reporting goes on in the court room. From time to time, you may be assigned a deposition that will take place where the defendant resides – in the county jail or state or federal prison.
When preparing for a behind-bars deposition, you’ll need to call ahead of time to find out what requirements or restrictions are for the facility you’ll visit. Different prisons have different rules, but generally speaking, it comes down to one phrase: “essentials only.”
If you’re new on the job, the Stenotype Institute, Florida’s top court reporting school and one of the most respected in the nation, offers these tips:
- Most prisons won’t allow purses or bags. So, take your writer and the few essentials you’ll need with it including a roll of steno paper. Even if purses and bags are allowed, they likely must meet a maximum size requirement, so bring something small. And be assured that your purse or bag will be searched, so clear out items like nail clippers, glass perfume bottles, etc.
- You’ll definitely need a driver’s license or other state-issued ID, so don’t leave it in your purse or you’ll find yourself in a race back to the parking lot.
- Most prisons won’t allow cell phones either. Leave it at home, at your office or hidden and locked in your car.
- Dress simply, but professionally. Wear closed-toed shoes and avoid anything metal. Jewelry, high-heeled shoes, belt buckles, studs or other metal clothing embellishments, even underwire bras have set off metal detectors. Often, you’ll have to remove any metal accessories or items – including that underwire bra – before being allowed past the security point.
- Depending upon the situation, there may be a protective divider between you and the prisoner whose deposition you’ll take. If not, and/or if you’ll have to walk past general population areas to get to the deposition site, you’ll need to leave behind anything that can possibly be used as a weapon. This may include pens and pencils. Some prisons won’t even allow handkerchiefs, so be sure to ask for a checklist of prohibited items before your visit.
- Make sure the batteries in your writer are fully charged and/or bring a long extension cord, as outlets may be far away from where you’ll take the deposition.
- Many prisons will ask you to leave your keys in a locker in the lobby. Often, these lockers are coin-operated, so bring change.
- Prisons often require written releases for equipment such as your steno writer and laptop computer. Be sure to gather and complete any necessary forms before your visit.
Court reporting can be a challenging and meaningful career. Start yours today by calling the Stenotype Institute at 800-273-5090 and talking with an enrollment specialist today. We have beautiful, state-of-the-art campuses in Jacksonville and Orlando, serving students from cities throughout Florida and southern Georgia including Naples, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Cocoa Beach, Gainesville, Ocala, Lake City, Ft. Walton Beach, Panama City, Tallahassee, Pensacola, Tampa, St. Petersburg , Sarasota, Albany, Brunswick and Savannah.