We've all seen all of the funny criminal mug shots out there. Some of them are absolutely hilarious. It's a riot to see famous people in jail, and take a look at their photos. There are many sites out there that will show you all of the criminal mug shots you could possibly want to see. Have you ever wondered how to take these? I know how, I've taken hundreds of inmate photos over the years. Here's how it goes down.
The jail guard will generally take the criminal mug shots of the inmate near the end of the booking process. Again, generally speaking, the inmate will need to be fairly cooperative, but cooperation isn't always required. I'm sure you've seen the inmate pictures where their are several sets on hands on the head and face. That happens when cooperation isn't going on. In most cases, the criminal mug shots are not optional, they must happen to complete the booking process. For this reason, force is sometimes used to take the inmate's picture.
The number of criminal mug shots needed from each inmate will vary a little by agency. All are required to do the full face frontal, as the minimum. Many others are required to take a left and right profile photo as well. The order that the pictures are taken in can make a difference for some booking systems. For this reason, the process may be very stable, without variation. Criminal mug shots aren't very difficult to take. There are many pictures of people in jail out there.
A placard is often used when taking criminal mug shots. Generally speaking, the placard will show the name of the agency or jail, the date, and a booking number. Typically, the booking number is used only for record keeping at the jail level, they are not the same as the state and FBI identification numbers.
In the vast majority of cases, the inmate will stand in front of a height strip. The strip is typically painted or glued to the wall, so it remains accurate. In recent years, some agencies have done away with height strips, relying instead on the booking process to get accurate information about height. The vast majority of criminal mug shots are taken by one of these strips.
Criminal mug shots will almost always show the placard in plain view. Some of them will have a small rope attached to them, so the inmate can wear them like a necklace. In other agencies, the jail guard or inmate will hold it for the the photo.
The inmate pictures are sent to the FBI. This is done electronically, and in some cases, automatically when an inmate is booked in. It's not something that can be avoided, it's mandatory for the jail to comply with this regulation.