Columbia County Jail – Portage, WI

Columbia County Jail is in Columbia County, WI and is the correctional facility for the area. Looking for somebody locked up at Columbia County Jail? This guide will tell you information about everything you might need to know about Columbia County Jail,like the following: How to do a jail inmate search. Find mugshots and inmate photos. The jail’s address and phone number. Bail and how to get out of jail. Booking and intake procedures. Court information. And much, much more.

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The prospect of getting arrested and going to jail is a scary and stressfull idea, not only for whoever is incarcerated, but also that person’s family and friends. The goal of this guide is to offer info that you need to make getting locked up a lot easier. If you have a specific question, feel free to ask them, and any comments or feedback that could be a benefit to others would be appreciated.

General Information


Columbia County Jail
403 Jackson Street
Portage, WI 53901

Phone Number and Fax Number


Map and Directions

Inmate Search – Find Out Who’s In Jail

Do you know someone that is locked up and want to contact them?

Has a family member or friend that’s been arrested and you don’t know how to locate them?

In order to find out who’s in jail at Columbia County Jail you have to navigate to their website and use the inmate lookup.

Inmate Locator

The Columbia County Jail Inmate Lookup has information on people who are in jail, which includes current status, bail amount, and visiting hours. You can also get info about anybody processed or released within the last 24 hours. Jail inmates are shown in alphabetical order by last name. You will be able to find their inmate information fast if you have the arrestee’s full name, birth date, or inmate ID Number.

If your friend or loved one may be at another county jail you will want to look here: Wisconsin County Jails Listing


A mugshot, or jail processing photograph, is a photograph that the jail takes when you are processed at the jail intake. A mugshot is actually two photos one face photo and a side photo. Your full name and jail booking number will appear on the pictures, and they are kept on file at the jail.

View Mugshots

Mugshots are on the Columbia County Jail website, or you can view them at the Columbia County Jail. When you search for mugshots online you will need to enter the name, and the booking date, if you know it.

How To Get Your Mugshot Removed

Are you trying to get your mugshot taken down from the Columbia County Jail website? This can be tricky, because your mugshot is a matter of public record. To get your mugshot taken down you have to file a ‘Petition to Expunge’. What this means is that your arrest record will be sealed, so no one will be able to access them. Unfortunately, this happens very rarely.

To learn more about getting your mugshot removed, the many different websites with mugshots, and the mugshot removal websites: How To Get Your Mugshot Removed

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Bail & Bail Bondsmen – How To Get Out of Jail

Naturally, once you are in jail, your main thought is about how to get out. After you’ve gone through the booking process, bail will be set by the magistrate. If no bail is set this can mean that you will either be free to go until your trial, or you don’t get released while you wait for your court date.

If you are are released you will have to promise to be there for your court date, and you must not leave the county.

Typically, a prisoner can earn early release in exchange for good behavior if they don’t break the rules and conduct themselves properly while locked up.

If you do exhibit good behavior and the jail believes you can be trusted, you might be allowed to participate in work release. You will be required to stay jail at the end of the day when you’re finished with work, or you might be allowed to sleep in a halfway house instead of jail, so it is kind of like an early release.


Your bail is the amount of money that you are required to pay in order to be released from jail pending trial. The amount you will be required to pay all depends on how serious your crime is. You or someone you know will have to post 10 percent of the total set before you can be released from jail. If you don’t go to your court date, whoever posted your bail won’t get their money back.

Find Out How Much Someone’s Bail Is

In order to find out how much someon’s bail is, you will need to call the Columbia County Jail. If you’ve got the person’s info, like name, address and date of birth, they will tell you the bail amount. Also, you can see the bail amount on the jail website.

How To Bail Someone Out of Jail

Bailing out of jail is no fun, but usually, it’s really easy if you have the money. To start with, you have to find out if they have a “Cash Bond Only”. If so, you won’t be able to use the services of a bail bondsman. They only accept cash at the jail, so you have to take cash – the jail won’t take a personal check. Once you have paid the bond, the prisoner will be released to your care. If the conditions of bail are not violated, you will get this money back.

Bail Bondsman

If the bail amount is too high, or you just can’t afford it, you you should hire a bail bondsman. Bondsmen will usually have a fee of 10 to 15 percent of the total amount of bail set, and sometimes have a minimum of $100. This money will not be returned to you and bondsmen usually only accept cash. If bail is very large, the bail bondsman will usually use assets as collateral for the bond in addition to their charges.

If you need a bail bondsman click here: Find a bail bondsman

Have you ever used the services of Bail Bondsman for yourself, a family member or friend? If you have, please leave a comment below and tell about your experience, and let us know how things turned out.

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Other Ways to Get Out of Jail

  • Time Off For Good Behavior
  • Work Release
  • Time Served
  • Be Released on a Pre-Trial Release Program
  • Get Released on House Arrest
  • Own Recognizance

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Jail Policies and Procedures

Intake Procedures / Booking

The intake process is made up of these steps:

  • They’ll put you in a holding cell. If the jail is busy, you will have to wait a while to get processed.
  • You must answer some questions, such as your full name, address, birthdate and contact person.
  • They’ll also ask about your mental and medical history.
  • You will be given an inmate number.
  • You will be fingerprinted.
  • They will take your mugshot.
  • Any property you have will be taken away from you and stored until you get released.
  • You will be allowed to make a telephone call in order to call a member of your family, friend, or bail bondsman.
  • If you think you will get released quickly, you will be allowed to keep wearing street clothes, but if you are not expected to make bail quickly you you will have to wear a jail jumpsuit.

Have you ever been arrested and gone through the jail intake procedure? If so, please tell us how it happened. How long did it take to get processed? How did the guards treat you? Can you tell us secrets that might help others to get through the process?

Click here to post a comment

Discharge Procedures

Once you are able to post bail, you will be allowed to go home after you get discharged. This process may take anywhere from 30 minutes to all day long. In other words the faster you can post bail, the sooner you can get released from jail. Also, how fast you get released can depend on whether or not you’ve been given a cash bond amount or if the magistrate still needs to figure out your bail amount. For lesser charges, you will simply be booked and released on your own recognizance. When you have served out your jail sentence and have a date of your release, plan to be released anywhere between the hours of 9am and 12pm.

How To Turn Yourself In

If there is a, or if you need to begin your sentence in jail, it is recommended that you follow the rules and turn yourself in. In the case of an outstanding warrant, report to the jail, and let them know that you think there may be an outstanding warrant for your arrest. They will do a record check, and if there is one, they will take you into custody. If you have a jail sentence to serve, go to the jail at the time and date that the sentence order requires you to. Be very careful that you aren’t late. Make sure that you only bring necessary items when you go to jail, like your drivers license or even photo ID, any prescription medication you might take, along with your doctor’s prescription, and the sentencing order.

Visitation Procedures

Inmates must give each visitor’s name and date of birth to the jail in advance. Your visitor’s information will go into a log of visitors as an approved visitor. Each and every visitor will be required to provide proof of identification. Any visitors arriving late or that does not have a visting order will not be allowed to visit the inmate.
Jail visitation policies are always changing, so make sure that you double-check the official site before you go to the jail to visit.

Visiting Hours

Phone Calls & Phone Usage Policy

The only phone calls that inmates are allowed to make are with a pre-paid phone card or account, or are collect calls . These phone calls are usually pricier than regular phone calls. Inmates are able to make phone calls, with restrictions on when and how often you can use the phone, but inmates should keep in mind that every inmate wants to use the phone too, so they can call their family. If you break the jail rules, an inmate’s ability to use the phone might get reduced or eliminated altogether.

The Columbia County Jail phone number is:

Sending Mail to Inmates

All inmate mail must be sent via the US Postal Service. You cannot use any other method of delivery. Clearly print the prisoner’s name, inmate ID, and jail address on the letter that you send. Don’t mail a package or box, padded envelope, plastic or paper bag, or an envelope containing metal parts. All mail sent to inmates will be opened and inspected by staff, and will get sent back to the person who mailed it if deemed inappropriate.

Mailing Address

If you would like to send a letter to an inmate at Columbia County Jail, use this address:

Columbia County Jail
403 Jackson Street
Portage, WI 53901

Here is how you should address the letter:

Columbia County Jail
403 Jackson Street
Portage, WI 53901

The mail policy can change, so you should review the the Columbia County Jail website before you send a letter.

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Court Information

Get A Lawyer

If you have been arrested, you have particular rights, the first of which is your right to request an attorney. You don’t get to make many phone calls when you get arrested, so make sure to get a friend or family member to locate an attorney when you call them. You might be asking yourself ‘I don’t have to get a lawyer – I can just represent myself’ While you are not required to have one, a criminal defense lawyer will advise you about your rights, help protect your interests and help you navigate the complicated legal system that you are now faced with. The sooner you hire an attorney to represent you and work on your situation, the better.

To read more about how to find an attorney, visit: How to Find a Lawyer

Public Defender

If you can’t afford an attorney, you will get a public defender. Also, the Public Defender has access to independent investigators, forensics experts as well as case workers. All Public Defenders are full-fledged attorneys who are admitted to the State Bar and are fully licensed to represent you in court and practice law.

Have you ever had to use a court appointed attorney or Public Defender? Are you happy with how they handled your case?

Court Records

Columbia County court records are public records. They contain a file with a docket sheet and each of the motions, documents, and evidence that have been filed. You are able to access your court case records using the online service, or at the Clerk of Court where the case was filed.

Clerk of Court

The Columbia County Clerk of Court is an official part of the court that manages court records. The Clerk of Court also administer the oath for any court participant who must be under oath, and read the verdict when decided by the jury. All records, documents, and evidence from your case are kept at the office of the Clerk of Court.


Court fees and costs are the charges associated with your court case, such as filing fees, motion fees and various court charges. If you cannot afford these fees and have been assigned a Public Defender, you may not have to pay the fees.


The Columbia County magistrate acts as the judge that rules over your court case. Magistrate judges do many different things, which include setting bail amounts, issuing arrest warrants, and overseeing first court appearances and detention hearings.


A defendant’s pre-sentencing report is put together with your background information and as much detail about the defendant’s life, which the magistrate judge will review and take into consideration when determining your sentence. Information will be solicited from the defendant, the defendant’s family, and in some circumstances the victim. Remember you are allowed to ask to see your own copy of the pre-sentencing report before you are sentenced, so you have the opportunity to correct any inaccurate information.


If you get convicted of a crime, you will be given a sentence for your crime. There are a number of different options, ranging from community service and probation, to prison or jail time. Depending on sentencing guidelines and the severity of your crime, you may be locked up immediately, or you could get a date to go to jail to serve your jail time according to your sentence.

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Public Records

Inmate Inquiry

Are you trying to find out if a family member of friend is incarcerated, or has ever been in jail?

You can you will have to visit the jail’s website, and search using:

  • The inmate’s name.
  • Birth date.
  • Their approximate booking date.
  • or inmate ID.

If you’re not sure if your friend or family member is in jail, you should call the jail get confirmation.

Warrant Inquiry

If you think you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest, you can check the court records on the website or call the jail. You have to have the person’s first and last name. You can also go to the local jail and ask one of the officers. Keep in mind that if you do have an outstanding warrant, you should be prepared to get taken into custody immediately.

Arrest Inquiry

If you know the person’s name, as well as their arrest date, contact the Columbia County jail, by phone, go there in person, or find out online. Arrest records are in the public record and these records are accessible to anyone.

Civil Inquiry

Civil processes are when when you are served with legal papers, like court orders. You can find these civil process orders by going to the Columbia County Sheriff’s office, by phone or online.

Sex Offender Search / Lookup

All registered sex offenders are required to be listed and registered on both a national and state sex offender database. Those listed on these databases have been convicted of a sex or kidnapping crime. You can access this information on the internet, but you should know that you won’t get the actual address, rather the block they live on.

Court Records

Court Records are considered public records, so they are accessible to anyone who requests them. They include a case file that includes a court docket and any of the documents filed in the court case. You can access your court records on the website, or at the clerk’s office of the court in the county where the case was filed.

Criminal Records

Each state maintains a record of their state citizen’s criminal past. These state databases are all connected so you are able to track criminal convictions from any other state. You are able to go to the Columbia County Courthouse and check in person, or check online. You must know which county the crime occured in, and if it was in a different state, you may have to pay a fee for a more complete search.

When you look up a person’s crminal records you can get a report detailing any arrests, charges, or convictions that may be on a person’s record for the following crimes:

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
  • Drug offenses.
  • Kidnapping.
  • Sexual offenses including rape, assault.
  • Violent crimes like assault or murder.
  • Theft.

But, when you do a criminal records check, in most cases won’t be able to see if someone has had any:

  • Speeding or wreckless driving.
  • Drivers license revoked or suspended.
  • Been in a traffic accident.
  • Other moving violations.
  • Parking Tickets.
  • To find this kind of information, you will have to do a search for their driving record.

    Have you ever needed to find criminal records? Was it easy? Did you search online or did you have to make a phone call to the local courthouse? Did you get information that was correct? There are lots of reasons that people search for criminal records and backgrounds, and your account may help other people.

    Tell Your Story

    Most Wanted

    For Federal crimes, the FBI maintains a list of the Top Ten Most Wanted Criminals. In Columbia County,the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department keeps their own list of most wanted criminals and fugitives.

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    Life In Jail / What Its Like

    Daily Life

    Everyone knows that getting locked up in Columbia County Jail is something you wish you could avoid, you will soon get accustomed to the daily routine there. All inmates get an alarm to wake up at about 6:00AM, and then you’ll have roll call. You will then get breakfast. After breakfast, you will have to work in the program that has been assigned to you. This could be working in the kitchen, laundry, or some sort of manufacturing job. While this may seem tedious, it may help you when you leave jail, as you are gaining experience in a certain field of work. Other inmates go to school, while some take part in mandated treatment programs. After lunch, there will be another roll call, then back to work. Your evening will be spent either in your cell or a common room. During this time dinner is served and you will be expected to take a shower. After another roll call, it’s lights out. Even though you will be confined to your cell, there may be enough light to read or write letters. Then again, most inmates welcome lights out, and try to get as much sleep as they can.

    Most people are frightened at the idea of jail because they don’t know what to expect. If you have spent any time in Columbia County Jail, your experiences would be welcomed, if it can help another person to deal with it.

    Dress Code

    When incarcerated, all inmates are expected to wear the Columbia County Jail uniform. This is normally a jumpsuit or scrubs. Of note to anyone visiting an inmate – you must be properly dressed. Any clothing considered inappropriate will not be permitted.

    How To Send Money to an Inmate

    You will have your own ‘bank account’ while in jail. This money is used to purchase items from the Commissary. Family and friends can deposit money into this account for you, and any money you earn while in prison will also be deposited into your account. Outside money can be paid in to your account via a money order, cash or check. If someone sends a check or money order, make sure that they write your inmate ID on it. The maximum amount you are allowed in your account is $290 per month.

    The process for sending money to inmates is likely to change, so we suggest that you visit the the Columbia County Jail website before you send money to an inmate.


    The commissary is the jail store. You can purchase a number of things here, such as toiletries, snacks and writing supplies. Bear in mind that you will probably want to use the commissary daily, and any infractions will get that privilege taken away from you.

    Inmate Medications

    If you are on any type of prescription medication, you will be allowed to continue taking it while in jail. When you are first processed, you will be asked what medication you take. You will then be referred to the jail nurse or doctor who will be in charge of monitoring your health and prescribing your medication.


    You will get three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. As expected, they are very basic, but healthy. A typical breakfast might be cereal, toast, coffee and fruit. Lunch might be spaghetti, salad, bread and milk. Dinner could be chicken casserole, rice, vegetables, dessert and milk. Contrary to popular belief, prison food has greatly improved over the years, and you might find that it’s not much different from what you would eat at home.

    Pods / The Yard

    The jail is designed in a ‘pod’ layout, with self contained housing arranged around an outdoor yard. Each pod has a central control station and a common room, and the inmates take turns in using the yard. The jail is designed this way to keep certain inmates together, and others away from the general population.


    As with life in general, gangs are a part of prison life. Obviously it is best to avoid becoming a part of this environment as it will only lead to trouble. When you first enter prison, you might find yourself being ‘primed’ to join a gang, or worse, you might get their attention in a negative way. The best thing to do is keep your head down and don’t get involved.

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    News and Media


    Photos / Pictures


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    Types of Jobs at Columbia County Jail

    The Deputy Sheriff is the second in command at the Columbia County Jail, overseeing the day to day operations and administration of the jail. An inmate is unlikely to have much interaction with the Deputy Sheriff, unless they have committed an infraction. Detention Officers are responsible for the custody and care of the inmates. They maintain order in the jail, and handle security. A Detention Officer is assigned to a certain pod, and therefore is responsible for the same inmates each day. They get to know the inmates on a certain level, and are well equipped to handle any problems that may occur.

    Apply for a Job at Columbia County Jail


    • You have to be over the age of 21.
    • You have to possess a High School Diploma or GED
    • You have to be a US Citizen.
    • You have to pass a Criminal, Credit and Driving History background check.
    • You have to pass a drug test.
    • You have to have a good level of fitness.
    • You have to be in good health.
    • You have to have a valid Drivers License
    • An applicant for Deputy Sheriff must possess a Law Enforcement Certification.

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    Family Resources

    There are resources for families of both the perpetrator of the crime and the victim. The social and emotional impact of crime is far reaching, affecting many. Families can receive professional counseling, court related assistance, social services assistance and help in navigating the criminal justice system.

    If you are a family member, which resources did you find to be particularly helpful? Please let us know, as this will be helpful to other families in the same situation.

    Click here to post a comment

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    Victim Resources

    Important Note: If you, or someone you know, are in immediate danger, call 911.

    Victim’s Rights

    The Victim Rights Act grants victims the following rights:

    • The right to protection from the accused.
    • The right to notification.
    • The right to attend proceedings.
    • The right to speak at criminal justice proceedings.
    • The right to consult with the prosecuting attorney.
    • The right to restitution.
    • The right to a speedy trial.
    • The right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect.

    The definition of victim includes:

    • Spouses and children of all victims.
    • Parents and guardians of minor victims.
    • Parents, guardians and siblings of mentally or physically incapacitated victims or victims of homicide.
    • Foster parents or other caregivers, under certain circumstances.

    There are a number of services and programs designed to help victims and their families. You can find out about these services by contacting the courthouse, or local law enforcement agency.

    Victim Notification

    The Department of Justice Victim Notification System (VNS) is a system that provides victims with information pertaining to their case and/or any defendants in the case. You will receive a Victim Identification Number (VIN) and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that will allow you to access VNS via the internet or by phone. Here, you will find information about future court hearings, historical court events, and detailed information about the defendant. This will include criminal charges filed, the outcome of charges, sentence imposed, custody location, projected release date and any other release information. The VNS website is updated daily. You will also receive any ongoing information by mail or email.

    Have you, a family member or friend ever used the Victim Notification System? If so, was it effective? Did you get the information in a timely manner? Was the system difficult to use? We would like to hear from you, so please post any comments here.

    Click here to tell about all about it

    Sex Offender Information and Search

    All people registered as sex offenders are registered on either a national or state sex offender database. The people on these databases have been convicted of a sex or kidnapping crime. You can access this information online, but bear in mind that you will not get the exact address, rather the block that they live on.

    Domestic Violence

    If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are services to help you. Your county will have a Domestic Violence Services office. They provide free and confidential services, such as emergency shelter information, legal advocacy, support groups and domestic violence education. They will work to help you create a safe and violence-free life, and heal from the trauma of abuse.

    Important Note: If you, or someone you know, are in immediate danger, call 911.

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    Reviews of this Jail

    Have you ever been locked up in this jail? Do you know anybody that is a prisoner there? Have you ever been to visit an inmate at this jail?

    If yes, then please tell us about it. Write about your experience because others can learn what to expect.

    Things you could write in what you write:

    • Conditions in Columbia County Jail.
    • Jail layout and facility
    • Guards and jail staff
    • Commissary and food
    • Having Visitors
    • The other inmates.
    • Prisoner safety
    • Jail gangs
    • Prisoner activities and programs

    Write a Review

    Tell Your Story

    Everbody that’s been incarcerated has at least one story to tell about it. Why’d you end up in jail? Were you mistreated? What happened to you while you were locked up? Were the other inmates cool? How has this experience impacted your life?

    Post A Comment

    Throw A Shout Out to Your Cell Mate

    Did you make friends in jail? Are you trying to get in touch with somebody you met when you were locked up? Then send them a message by posting a comment below.

    Say Hello to Columbia County Jail

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