∗A resource guide providing inmate, bail and visiting information for the California Lancaster Jail
The Lancaster Jail...operated by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department...temporarily houses male and female arrestees until they
- are released on their own recognizance (known as an "O.R." release),
- post bail, or
- are taken to court for their arraignment.
Male defendants who must return to jail...either because they can't post bail or because they have been convicted of their offense...will generally be transferred to a larger Los Angeles County jail such as the Los Angeles Twin Towers Jail or the Los Angeles Men's Central Jail. Women will be transferred to the Century Regional Detention Facility.
The Lancaster Jail is located at
501 West Lancaster Boulevard
Lancaster, CA 93534
In this article, our Lancaster criminal defense attorneys1 will provide information about the Lancaster Jail by explain the following:
If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
You may also find helpful information in our related articles on California's Arraignment Process; How to Post Bail; O.R. Release; The Los Angeles Twin Towers Jail; The Los Angeles Men's Central Jail; The Century Regional Detention Facility; The Los Angeles County Bail Schedule; Bail Hearings; Pretrial Hearings; and Case Information.
When an arrestee is brought into the Lancaster Jail, his/her bail is set according to the Los Angeles County Bail Schedule and is determined based on the criminal offense(s) for which the inmate was arrested.
"Bail" refers to an amount of money that will reasonably assure the arresting agency and court that the defendant will make his/her court appearances. Once the bail has been set, anyone may post bail on the inmate's behalf.
The Lancaster Jail accepts three forms of bail: cash bail, cashier's check and bail bonds, all of which are discussed in detail in our article "How to Post Bail in California".
You may post bail directly at the Lancaster Jail 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.
If you post cash bail, it must be for the full bail amount. Once you post cash bail, the inmate is released pending his/her arraignment. If the inmate attends his/her court appearances, the bail will be returned following the conclusion of the criminal case (minus a small administrative fee). If the inmate does not attend those appearances, he/she forfeits your money to the court.
Similar to cash bail, if you opt to use a cashier's check, you must post the entire bail amount. The Lancaster Jail only accepts California bank-drawn cashier's checks. Checks should be payable to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. They should also include the inmate's full name and booking number.
Because the funds must be verified before the jail will release an inmate, the inmate's release may take a while, depending on the time of day and whether the arrest takes place on a weekend.
Since most people don't have the funds to post cash bail or a cashier's check, posting a bail bond is the most common way to bail someone out of jail. This is because...assuming the defendant makes all of his/her court appearances...you are only required to pay a maximum 10% of the total bail amount.
You obtain a bail bond from a bail bondsman (aka a bail agent). If the defendant makes all of his/her court appearances, you pay nothing on top of the 10%, but you do not get that 10% back...it is the bondsman's nonrefundable fee. If the inmate doesn't make those appearances, you will be liable for repaying the entire bail amount to the agent.
When you use a bail bond, the application process only takes about half an hour. The inmate is usually released shortly after that.
You can search for bail bondsmen via the Internet or in the phone book. Make sure you verify the bondsman's license and retain copies of any documents for your records.
∗NOTE: Once you post bail, you should immediately consult with a skilled Lancaster criminal defense lawyer who can schedule a bail hearing to argue that the bail should be reduced or eliminated. An experienced local attorney can also help devise the most effective legal defense to help your loved one fight his/her case.
If you wish to obtain information about an inmate being held at the Lancaster jail, you may do so in one of two ways: via the Internet or by telephone.
You can access inmate information online by visiting the Los Angeles Sheriff's inmate information website. Be sure that you know the inmate's correct legal name and date of birth.
You can also call the Lancaster Sheriff's station at (661) 948-8466 to speak to a deputy or call the L.A. Sheriff's inmate information line at (213) 473-6100.
Typically, inmates who are being held in custody must be arraigned within two (2) days of being arrested. At that point, the judge will either continue the arraignment or will set the case for a pre-trial hearing. If you wish to look up the case information for an inmate being housed at the Lancaster Jail, visit the Los Angeles County case information website.
Once a person is booked into the Lancaster Jail, he/she is entitled to make one free phone call. After that, all outgoing calls must be collect. If you know you have a loved one in the Lancaster Jail, it is important to contact your local telephone company to make sure that collect calls are not blocked on your telephone line.
Inmates at the Lancaster Jail may not receive any incoming calls. And because inmates are only housed at the Jail for a brief period of time, there is no time to mail an inmate a calling card. On that note, inmates at the Lancaster Jail may not receive any mail at all due to their brief stay.
You can, however, visit an inmate in person.
Inmates at the Lancaster Jail are allowed to have two visits per day. Saturday and Sunday visiting hours are between 9:00am and 11:00am and 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Monday through Friday visiting hours are between 10:00am and11:00am and 6:00pm to 8:00pm. And while reservations are not necessary, visits are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Attorneys and members of the clergy who are from the L.A. County Chaplain's office are not bound by these hours and have unlimited access to inmates.
All visitors who wish to enter the Lancaster Jail must be prepared to present a valid government issued photo I.D. card, such as
- a California driver's license or identification card,
- a U.S. Passport,
- an alien registration card, or
- a U.S. military card.
Visitors may not bring anything to the inmates and are not permitted to enter the facility with food, drinks or any weapons or other contraband. Everyone who attempts to visit an inmate at the Lancaster Jail is subject to a search of his/her person and property.
Once an inmate has been booked into the Lancaster Jail, all of the property that he/she had at the time of arrest will be collected and stored by the Jail's staff. This property will returned to the inmate once he/she is released.
If, however, the inmate would like to designate someone else to pick up the property, he/she may sign a release form which allows the Jail to release the property to the designated individual. If you are that person, be sure to bring a valid form of I.D. (discussed above under Section 4. Visiting Hours and Policies). You may collect the inmate's property 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at the Jail lobby or during a regular visit. You do not need to make arrangements ahead of time.
Call us for help...
For more information about the Lancaster Jail, or to discuss your loved one's case confidentially with one of our experienced Lancaster criminal defense lawyers, do not hesitate to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
1Our Lancaster criminal defense attorneys serve the areas of Lancaster, Palmdale, Acton and the Antelope Valley. In addition, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers have local law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, and Whittier.