California Corrections System

An overview of the corrections system in the state. How many jails are there? State corrections facilities? Is it a death penalty state? Who are some of the wardens? Who oversees the prison system. Do privatized prisons exist? How many people are incarcerated per year on avg, etc?

Inmate Records Check

Arrests, Mugshot, Bookings & More

California Inmate and Roster Search

Information on current inmates in California can be obtained by searching for specific inmates through a database. You have the option to search by the inmate’s identification number, last name, or date of birth. Some jails have full online rosters that display all the inmates, but most only offer a search feature. Some jails may offer Inmate Information phone numbers to find information about an inmate.

The searchable databases or rosters are typically located within a sheriff’s office website or a city police website. Inmate information that can be viewed includes date of birth, ID number, specific jail, booking date and charges, bond amount, case number, any fines and fees, and upcoming court dates.

Most local California jails are under the control of the county or city in which they’re located. County sheriff offices are often in charge of county jails. The leadership of the jail is typically a captain. The state is in charge of actual prisons in California. California is a death penalty state, but there is a moratorium on death sentences. Approximately 199,000 people are incarcerated in California.

There are 114 local jails in California, while there are 34 prisons. Some of the jails are county jails, some are city jails, and some are combined. There are currently no private prisons in California.

California Visitation Guidelines and Hours

Inmates are usually allowed at least 2 visits per week, with each visit lasting 30-60 minutes. Some jails allow onsite visits where the inmate and visitor can physically see each other, while others only offer video visitation. Some jails have the option of remote visitation, meaning that you don’t have to travel to the jail. Onsite visits are typically free, while remote visitation may have a fee. Securus and Connect Network GTL are a couple of providers for video visits.

Visits are usually limited to 1-2 people. Visits often must be scheduled in advance. For onsite visits, the visitor must arrive at least 15-30 minutes in advance and have a government ID.

Onsite visits are usually restricted to certain days and hours, but typically include at least one weekend day. Remote visits offer more flexibility, with extended hours.

There are many visitation rules.

  • Visitors must leave all belongings in storage lockers in the lobby.
  • No food or drinks.
  • No weapons are allowed.
  • Visitors may not leave packages, mail, or photos for inmates.
  • No see-through or revealing clothing.
  • Sleeves can’t be shorter than halfway down the upper arm.
  • No leggings.
  • Dresses, skirts, and shorts must be longer than mid-thigh.
  • No clothing that has offensive language, gang affiliations, or drawings.

California Direct Inmate Communication

Inmates in California jails typically do not have the ability to receive phone calls, but they can make calls. Those calls are either made collect or through a prepaid program offered by a phone service provider. Some jails actually offer free unlimited phone calls for jail inmates.

Once the prepaid account is established, the inmate can dial the phone number. When a prepaid account is verified, the call will go through, and the receiving person can accept the phone call.

Some of the phone service providers used in California jails include Securus and Via Path by GTL. Video calls may be allowed if remote online visitation is allowed. Some calls made from the jail may be blocked, and all calls may be monitored and/or recorded.

California Inmate Mail

All mail to inmates must include a complete return address and the sender’s name, the inmate’s full name and identification number, and the inmate’s jail name and housing location. If any of that information is missing, the mail will be returned to the sender or back to the post office. Some jails process the mail in another location and only send digital copies to inmates.

An example of how to address a letter to an inmate in California:

Inmate Name, Booking Number
PO BOX 86164
Terminal Annex
Los Angeles, CA 90086-0164

All mail is inspected. Mail with perfume, lipstick, or other substances will be returned to the sender. Newspapers, books, or magazines must be mailed directly from the publisher, if they are allowed at all. Some jails may allow photographs to be sent in the mail, but others may not.

The following are considered contraband and will be disposed of:

  • Envelopes and greeting cards
  • Pens and pencils
  • Obscene photo
  • Markers, stickers
  • Stamps
  • Cash or money orders

California Sending Money to Inmates

There are accounts that money can be deposited into for inmates at California jails. Funds can be deposited and then used by the inmate for commissary purchases. Commissary purchases may be allowed 1-2 times per week. Funds can be sent through the mail, online deposits, kiosk locations, over the phone, and at certain retailers. Smart Deposit and Access Corrections are common providers used for money deposits.

Money orders and online deposits are the preferred methods to send money to inmates. Cash may be allowed at a jail kiosk. Some jails have a monetary limit of how much you can deposit in cash at one time.

California Inmate Records, Bookings, and Mugshots

Information about active warrants can often be found at county sheriff’s offices’ websites.

Court records can be obtained from the Superior Court in each county. For other records, you can contact the County Clerk or the specific department.

The booking process takes place after a person is arrested. The person is then taken to a police station or jail, where they are searched, and information is recorded. The person is fingerprinted and turns over any personal possessions to be held until they are released. A health history will be taken, and a check for any active warrants on the person will be conducted. The entire process can take anywhere from 1-2 hours to possibly a day.

In 2010, there were more than 1.15 million crimes reported in California, and the overall crime rate in California was 3,069.5 per 100,000 people. The murder rate was 4.8 per 100,000 people, and the forcible rape crime rate was 22.3 per 100,000 people. The robbery crime rate was 155.6 per 100,000 people, with an aggravated assault crime rate of 256.8 per 100,000 people. The property crime rate was 2,629.9 per 100,000 people.

Total Facilities and Growing

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