|Address:||2584 W Sandy Mush Rd, Merced, CA 95341 Map|
|Website:||Merced County Sheriff’s Jail Information Page|
Overcrowding has long been in evidence in Merced County’s corrections system, and the JLCF recently received a government grant to allow for expansion. (Many California jails have been short on space since the passage of the 2011 Public Safety Realignment Act, which brought prison inmates into the county jail environment.) Unfortunately, several gang-related incidents of inmate violence have recently been reported in Merced County facilities.
To assist friends and family members of individuals detained and incarcerated in Merced County, our team of California criminal defense lawyers provide helpful information below. The following key topics are addressed:
- 1. How do I search for an inmate in Merced County?
- 2. How do I post bail at the John Latorraca Jail?
- 3. Can I call an inmate?
- 4. How do I put money on an inmate’s account?
- 5. What are the visiting hours and policies?
- 6. Can inmates send and receive mail?
- 7. What is life like at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility?
- 8. Property Release
1. How do I search for an inmate in Merced County?
If you believe your friend or loved one has been taken into custody in Merced County, you can verify this by going online to the County’s “inmate inquiry” search engine. This page allows you to conduct an inmate search with a name or potential date of arrest.
Details about each incarcerated inmate include a booking photo and description of his or her height and weight. Also provided is a list of specific criminal charges (with classification, misdemeanor or felony) as well as the bonding amount, if bail has been granted.
2. How do I post bail at the John Latorraca Jail?
The majority of detained individuals will have the chance to post bail and obtain temporary freedom from incarceration. You can locate specific bail information for your friend or family member on Merced County’s “inmate inquiry” page. For more detailed information about bail payment options, call the jail at (209) 385-7575 for assistance.
3. Can I call an inmate?
Under California law, all newly detained individuals will be permitted to place a minimum of three outgoing, local phone calls. These free calls are typically used to contact family and/or friends as well as to seek the assistance a criminal lawyer.
Personal incoming calls for detainees and inmates are not accepted at the John Latorraca Correctional Center, and staff members may not pass along messages. However, inmates are generally allowed access to phones each day between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Personal, outgoing calls are placed on a collect basis or can be funded with prepaid phone minutes.
Merced County inmate phone calls are facilitated through a third party company called I C Solutions. The cost of these calls starts at 21 cents a minute. To set up phone communication, go online to ICSolutions.com or call (888) 506-8407. You will have the option of setting up your account to facilitate delivery of 30-second voicemail messages for JLCF inmates. (Use the IC Solutions “Secure Mail” option.) Voicemail fees are $1.00 per message.
It is important to note: calls and messages for John Latorraca Detention Center inmates will be subject to monitoring and recording. Thus, to avoid harming your friend/loved one’s case, it is best to refrain from conversations pertaining to criminal charges.
4. How do I put money on an inmate’s account?
John Latorraca Jail inmates are provided weekly opportunities to purchase comfort items from the jail commissary. The selection will typically include snacks/treats, desired toiletry products, correspondence materials/stamps, and other items.
An inmate cash account is established initially with money confiscated during initial intake at the jail. Thereafter, funds for commissary can be replenished by friends and family, if desired. There are a few ways to make a deposit to the inmate trust account at this facility. In all cases, you will need to obtain an inmate identification number (available on “inmate inquiry” or call the jail) in order to make a deposit.
The following are the payment options available for funding an inmate account at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility:
- At the Jail – The JLCF provides a 24-hour kiosk in the lobby, which accepts cash, credit or debit cards. Note that only $5, $10 and $20 bills are accepted. There is a fee of $3.25 per transaction.
- Internet – You can make a deposit online at govpaynow.com. This website requires you to input a facility code, which is MCE, and pay location number: 5500.
- Telephone – To make a credit or debit card payment by phone, call GovPay at (888) 277-2535. You will need the facility code and pay location number (above) for phone payments.
Note that inmate cash accounts will be credited with deposits within 24 hours.
5. What are the visiting hours and policies?
Covid-19 Update: Visitors and inmates are required to be vaccinated in order to participate in visitation. Proof of vaccination is required. Visitors and inmates are also required to wear masks during visitation. Children under 12 are not required to be vaccinated.
Under normal circumstances, inmates at the John Latorraca Jail are permitted a minimum of two 30-minute visits per week. Each visit can include one or two people, and children and infants are included in this count. Before making plans to visit a Merced County inmate, you must ensure your name has been added to his or her “approved visiting list.” (Note that you will not be included on the list if you have an active warrant, an arrest within the past five years, a felony, drug, violent or sex crime conviction, or are party to a restraining order involving the inmate.)
Visitation at the detention center takes place every day of the week. You do not need to make appointments ahead of time, but are asked to sign up onsite on a first-come, first-serve basis. The sign-ups start 60 minutes before visiting hours begin each day, and you are expected to be present at the jail 15 minutes prior to your visit.
A visiting schedule for the John Latorraca Correctional Facility has been posted. To obtain more specific information and clarification regarding visiting your friend or loved one, call the jail at (209) 385-7410.
There is a list of visitation rules in Merced County, as follows:
- Valid, government-issued, photo identification must be presented.
- Personal objects should not be brought into the visitation area. Exceptions are: identification, car keys, and If you have an infant, a feeding bottle.
- Visitors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Documentation will be required (i.e. a birth certificate or guardianship papers). An emancipated minor or the under-18 spouse of an inmate will be allowed to visit with proper documentation.
- Children must be supervised at all times. Disruptive children may result in termination of the visit.
- Dress conservatively for visits. The jail’s general dress code specifies no provocative clothing, such as see-through or low cut garments.
- Inappropriate displays of affection and/or sexual activity are not permitted.
- Breastfeeding mothers are asked to remain discreetly covered while in the visitation area.
- If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may not visit.
- You must be prepared to submit to a search upon entry to the visitation area.
6. Can inmates send and receive mail?
You can send an unlimited quantity of postal mail to a JLCF inmate, and inmates are allowed to send unlimited personal mail. To facilitate outgoing inmate mail, correspondence materials and postage are available for purchase through the commissary. (Inmates who are without funds in their cash account are provided with the means to send out two personal letters each week.)
Mail to the John Latorraca Correctional Facility should be addressed as follows:
Inmate Name and ID number
2548 W. Sandy Mush Road
Merced, CA 95341
All incoming mail will be opened and inspected, and may be read. Legal mail is opened in the presence of the inmate.
Do not send any of the following items to an inmate by mail:
- Photos that depict full or partial nudity
- Postage stamps
- Packages of any kind
You are permitted to order magazines that arrive directly from the publisher. If a magazine’s contents is deemed objectionable by the jail staff, the periodical will not be accepted.
7. What is life like at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility?
Originally designed to hold 370 inmates requiring minimum and medium security housing, the John Latorraca Jail is now primarily a medium and maximum security facility. Many inmates sleep in dormitory-style areas with 20 beds per unit.
After initial booking, Merced County arrestees are assessed for a 72-hour period to determine housing classification status. The criminal record and history is considered, along with medical and behavioral health status and observed conduct and demeanor. Merced County inmates who require intensive medical and/or mental health care are generally housed in the JLCF facility rather than the Merced Main Jail.
Prescription medication is disbursed in the jail under the supervision of medical staff. Inmates who have need for healthcare can fill out a “Sick Call” request for treatment. Appointment co-pay costs of $3.00 are deducted from the inmate cash account, if funds are available. If there is a special dietary need for medical or religious reasons, this will need to be confirmed by medical staff or the chaplain.
Inmate services provided at the John Latorraca Detention Center include 12-step substance abuse programs and religious services. There are group classes addressing topics such as life skills, anger management, and parenting. Services also target improving employment readiness, including vocational job search help and GED study.
There is an inmate work release program facilitated by the Merced County Sheriff’s Department. For information on this program, call (209) 385-7575, extension 6.
Marin County states compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003. This includes a “zero tolerance policy” for acts of sexual abuse, sexual assault, or sexual harassment involving jail inmates or staff. Allegations of abuse are reportedly investigated.
8. Inmate property
All property found in an incoming inmate’s possession will be confiscated during booking and then stored at the jail pending release. If desired, inmates can authorize a friend or family member to pick up property at the jail. A property release authorization form must be filled out and any individuals seeking to pick up inmate property must have proper identification.
Property pick-up hours at JLCF are Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. These hours are extended to 24-hours a day for inmates who are being transferred to prison.