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November 2, 2010

Jail Notary Jobs from A to Z

Have you ever done a jail notary?

Have you ever visited a Jail? Would you be afraid to go to one?
In reality, a jail is a very place place to visit. There are guards everywhere, and the bad guys are behind bars. Notaries make a pretty penny notarizing at jails, in fact some make so much it should be criminal to charge that much! You can charge a lot higher travel fee going to a jail because its a lot more trouble than a regular signing, and few notaries are willing to go. There is also more to know. Jail signings are usually the result of physical or online yellow page advertising, not directories that cater to loan signings ( such as ours ).

Who hires you to do a jail signing?
If you are called to do a Jail signing, it is never the inmate who calls you, but their girlfriend, family member, or attorney. The inmates don’t want to blow their (1) phone call calling a notary – and I don’t blame them. You need to arrange a time and meeting point near the jail where you are sure to be able to spot each other – at the same place at the same time. Its easy to get lost at a jail.

Idenfication for jail-birds
When you get the call, ask them if they have identification for the signer, and if they do, then have them read it to you – including the expiration date, before you book an appointment. If they don’t have ID, don’t use the jail bracelet wristband, thats not acceptable by notary standards. You might be able to use credible witnesses if you can get two of them who have ID that is current – if credible witnesses are allowed in your state. If you can’t get identification, you might be able to do a Jurat which doesn’t require identification in most states. However, California now requires ID for Jurats as well. Unfortunately, most documents such as a power of attorney or grant deed are normally done with an acknowlegment, not a jurat. But, you can attach a Jurat form and hope for the best. A recorded document might not be accepted for recording if its not done with the proper wording, but you never know.

Where do you meet your client for a jail signing?
You have to arrange to meet a stranger at the jail at a certain time. Jails are large confusing places, so it might be better to meet at a well marked street corner. If you meet in a jail, you might not know which part of the jail to meet. Waiting room? Hall to the waiting room? Front dest? Out side the bront door? IN the parking lot? Its easy for two people to be at opposite ends of the same facility or get lost. Make sure the person meeting you has a cell phone and make sure you confirm with them, otherwise you might be making a trip for nothing. Jail notaries are not for the elite of society and blowing off a notary would not ruffle the conscience of most of your potential clients for this type of job.

Logistics at the jail.
Once you are actually at the jail, you meet the client, and then fill out forms with the guards to be granted permission to enter. Make sure you know what cell the inmate is in and that they haven’t been moved. Be prepared to wait – jails have a very different sense of time from the way a busy notaries sees time. Follow the instructions for where to go, and then find a guard to bring the inmate to you once you are there. You will have to pass your journal and forms through slits with help of the guard.

You might also like:

Find a Notary who can notarize at a Los Angeles County jail

A typical botched jail job: fees at the door misunderstood

Putting hospitals & jails in your notes section on your profile



  1. I will be very careful to get proper id from now on when doing jail inmates.

    Comment by Neil Kleeger — February 19, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

  2. Psych hospitals are very similar to jails. I had a patient leap at me shouting “I’m gonna rip your ears off”. It was only the quick action of the guard that saved me. NEVER at either a jail or psych hospital be out of sight of a guard, and it’s better to request that one remain VERY close by.

    Comment by kenneth edelstein — October 4, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

  3. I did a jail signing this year. The poor old woman was in there for months on a charge of accessory to 1st degree murder. Thanks to Google, I knew the circumstances before I had ever met her. When she looked me in the eye and proclaimed her innocence, I believed her and I felt very bad for her. I had to meet with her and her husband separately, and they had not been together for many months, not even for visitation.

    Jails are very depressing, although I think a house that stinks of cat piss is worse.

    Comment by Michael Gelman — October 11, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  4. Is there anyway that a notary can become “registered” with the jails in CA so that they do not need to go through the WAITING process of standing in line, etc? I had heard from an employee at one of the jails where I did a signing that notaries can go through a pre screening process and they can then visit the inmates almost anytime. Of course the employee had no idea how to go about the process. I don’t mind going to the jails, it’s the waiting that I cannot stand and I find that most family members do not want to pay extra for the tremendous amount of time it takes.

    Comment by Barbara — March 31, 2012 @ 5:57 am

  5. Hi, I’m still unclear… what id is required to notarize in prisons in California? Thank you.

    Comment by Jay — February 4, 2013 @ 4:58 am

  6. I have been interested in doing notary work in jail. I started an LLC recently with my business partner & we mainly do loan closings, refis, reversals, & I’m wanting to diversify. I read that advertising for notary work in jail is100% up to the notary. How do I go about getting ahold of Lawyers to let them know I’m available and willing to do notary signings for the incarcerated? Also, how do I advertise to the willing families & loved ones of the incarcerated that I’m willing to do notary work for their loved ones??
    Any advice , ideas, & or suggestions would be much appreciated.
    Thank You,
    Scott Sander
    Accurate Signings,LLC.

    Comment by Scott Sander — December 3, 2013 @ 1:13 am

  7. In the last cople of years I have been asked to go the Metropolitan Correction Facility in Brooklyn. The first time was a real problem because i was not aware of the protocols involved. So that’s my first piece of advice – call the jail or prison to find out how it is you can gain admittance to meet with your signer. I had to submit to a background check which takes a few days to come back, though once it does you are a registered visitor and it’s good for a year.

    Wait times have varied despite being registered. On my last visit it was over an hour and that as with the inmates lawyer in tow. He compensated for the time. Patience is a requisite.

    Another piece of advice…. dress simply. Entry to a prison is harder than going through the TSA at customs. Wear slip-ons and avoid unnecessary accessories. At Metropolitan you’re given a locker into which I put everything except a pen, my journal and notary stamp.

    Lastly be courteous to everyone that works there, it pays high dividends.

    Comment by William Ponsot — February 18, 2016 @ 8:45 pm

  8. Thanks for your information. Very interesting.
    I am encouraged.

    Comment by Pauline Fernandez — January 14, 2019 @ 7:02 pm

  9. Completed a loan signing on Wednesday. Title called and stated they wanted me to go back next day (with a fee) and get two documents completed that they forgot. Called the wife and she advised her husband was now in jail on a drug charge. Called title, renegotiated another signing fee and went to the Metro Detention Center. Everyone goes through the same line to be “sorted out.” I was shunted behind the guard interview station to an door marked “Official.” In New Mexico a Notary is an officer of the state. Guess that’s official enough for the jail.

    Placed my brief case on the table, but they are not allowed to look inside, just ask questions. I go through the metal detector and retrieve my brief case. A guard opens a door to a long hallway and tells me to “Go down to Pod C” by myself. Myself? A group of prisoners in a line march by me twice, both groups escorted by a guard. No one pays attention to me. The Pod C guard sees me and lets me in the door, then another door, and there I am in the Gen Pop for Pod C. The guard on the overlook says have a seat at a table and calls out my client’s name. Out of a cluster of orange-suited individuals comes my borrower. He apologizes for the inconvenience, we sign, and I prepare to leave, telling the guard I am ready to go. He buzzes both doors and off I go. The hallway is quite empty as I walk alone down to the Exit door. The guard greets me and I am buzzed out a private exit and there I am in the parking lot. The whole event there took 35 minutes. Collected the entire signing fee twice. The funny thing? Neither form needed to be notarized.

    Comment by Ralph Wedertz — November 25, 2019 @ 9:06 pm

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