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Understanding How to Serve Someone Who’s Incarcerated

If you need to serve process to someone who is currently incarcerated in the state of Florida, you may be unsure of where to begin. Fortunately, the state of Florida looks at service of process on inmates as if they were any other person on the street, and since locating an inmate can be much easier than finding the average Joe, service on an inmate can be quick and painless. In this post, we’ll outline the steps required to serve process on an inmate in Florida.

Step 1: Locate the Inmate

The first step in serving process on an inmate in Florida is to figure out exactly where they are being housed. Florida has a large network of jails, prisons, and other correctional facilities, along with some federal prisons. To find an inmate in Florida, try using the Florida Department of Corrections Offender Search or the Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Search.

Step 2: Contact the Correctional Facility

Once you’ve located the inmate’s record and current location, contact the facility where they are incarcerated and inquire about their rules for process servers. Each facility can have their own unique rules that must be followed, along with all state laws and regulations. Process servers will likely need to complete an application and background check in order to visit inmates at the facility, along with some other possible hoops to jump through.

Step 3: Set Up a Visit with the Inmate

Once you’re all cleared to visit the prison, it’s time to set up a visit with the inmate you need to serve. Most of the time this goes smoothly, but remember that inmates do have the right to refuse visits. If this happens, you may need to explore an alternative service method (see step 4 below).

Step 4: Serve the Process

Bring your client’s process with you on the date of your visit with the inmate. You’ll probably need to give the prison administrators or guards the paperwork first for inspection prior to actually serving the inmate. They may even want to give the inmate a copy of the paperwork instead of the originals. Comply with whatever requests the prison personnel make of you unless it violates laws or ethics. Once you’re given the okay to serve the inmate, proceed just as you would with any other service.

If the inmate refuses the visit entirely, you’ll have to go another route. After at least one attempt to serve the process in person, you may have to return to the originating court to request permission to use an alternative service method, such as service by substitution. Never attempt alternative service in Florida prior to getting express written permission from a judge.

Step 5: File Proof of Service

After process has been served on the inmate, complete the proof of service form just like any other service. Keep a copy of the proof of service for your records, file a copy with the originating court, and provide a copy to your client.

Process Service for Inmates in Volusia County & Beyond

Serving process on an inmate in Florida is pretty straightforward. With a bit of planning ahead of time, you should be able to locate and serve the inmate before the court-set deadline. At Accurate Serve of Daytona Beach, Titusville, and Palm Coast, we are experienced in serving inmates in Volusia County and beyond. For more information, give us a call at 386-569-8475 or email