Located in Richmond, CA, the West County Detention Facility is one of three correctional centers operated by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department. This is the newest of the three jails, built in 1991, and is described as a medium security, “program-oriented facility.”
Richmond’s West County Detention Center can accommodate up to 1,096 adult male and female detainees and inmates sentenced for a misdemeanor or felony crime. You can find out more information on the differences between a felony and a misdemeanor here. It was previously also used as a holding facility for U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) detainees, but as of August, 2018, the Richmond Jail no longer houses detained immigrants .
The West County Detention Facility is located about 17 miles northeast of San Francisco in the city’s East Bay area. The address and phone number is:
5555 Giant Highway
Richmond, CA 94806
If your friend or loved one has been detained or incarcerated in the West County Jail, the information below may be of interest to you. Our team of California criminal defense lawyers provide important details about the following topics:
- 1. Locate an Inmate
- 2. Bail Bonding in Richmond
- 3. Inmate Phone Policies
- 4. Commissary and Cash Accounts
- 5. West County Jail Visitation
- 6. Mail and Packages
- 7. Life at the Richmond Facility
- 8. Alternative Incarceration Programs
- 9. Inmate Property Retrieval
1. Contra Costa County Inmate Search
The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s website provides a “Public Report” page from which you can locate a loved one who may be detained at the West County Jail. An “Inmate booking report” dropdown selection calls up a PDF listing of recent criminal bookings throughout the County.
This inmate locator provides many details, including criminal charges, date and time of arrest, bail amounts (if available), and the booking number, as well as the birthdate and descriptive physical characteristics of each listed individual.
Alternatively, you can call the jail at (510) 262-4200 and obtain inmate information.
2. Bail Bond Payment
If your loved one has been granted release through bail bonding, you can determine the amount on the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s “Public Report” page or by calling the jail at (510) 262-4200. Bail can be paid at the facility or alternatively, you can use the services of a licensed bail bondsman to post bond.
3. Inmate Phone Communication
Friends and family are not permitted to call into the West County Detention Facility to speak to detainees and inmates. All arrested individuals in California are allowed to make initial outgoing phone calls, and Richmond inmates are regularly provided with the opportunity to make collect calls.
To facilitate funding of inmate phone calls, the California Department of Corrections uses Global Tel*Link (GTL). You will need to set up an account on the website and use the “Advance Pay” function for payment.
When speaking with a detainee at the West County Jail, it is important to be aware that your conversations are subject to monitoring and recording. It is best to refrain from discussing your loved one’s case in order to avoid making potentially incriminating statements.
4. Commissary Funding
The West County Detention Facility provides options for inmates to order comfort items from the commissary, including food items, toiletries, and correspondence materials. Friends and family members can contribute funds for the inmate cash account or order gift packages.
To order items directly with a credit or debit card, go to the MyCarePack.com website. Orders must be placed by midnight on Mondays to provide for a Tuesday delivery at the Richmond Jail. Note that there is a spending limit (per inmate) of $100 a week for products, and a $6.95 processing fee per order.
There is also a “Smart Deposit” function on the same website which allows you to deposit funds for the inmate to use as desired. The cash funding deposit limit is $300 per week.
If you prefer, you can also mail payment to the jail to fund a cash account. The West County Detention Center accepts cashier’s checks, money orders, traveler’s checks and government-issued checks. Checks should be made out to the inmate’s name and include a booking number (or date of birth) on the face. No personal checks or cash through the mail is accepted.
5. Visiting a Richmond Inmate
Appointments for West County Facility visitation are made by the inmates themselves, and your name must be included on a visitation list or you will not be admitted. Inmates are allowed two 30 minute visits per week. Visiting hours are every day except Friday, and the appointment options are as follows:
Monday through Thursday: 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:15 p.m. (Thursday only), 4:15 p.m. (Thursday only)
Saturday and Sunday: 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m.
West County Detention Center residents can have as many as four visitors at a time. Infants and toddlers will not count toward this allotment as long as they are carried by a visitor. Note that visits are on a no contact basis, so you will be able to see but not touch your friend or loved one.
For a visitation appointment, visitors must arrive in time to check in and register 30 minutes ahead of schedule. The inmate must also be present in the visiting area 15 minutes before the visit. Visits may be cancelled if parties do not arrive on time.
There are many other visitation rules provided by the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office. Of primary interest are these regulations:
- Current, government-issued photo identification will be required for each adult visitor.
- Minors under the age of 18 must be in the company of a parent or legal guardian.
- Children must be under continual, close supervision throughout the visitation process.
- Nursing mothers are expected to remain covered if a child breastfeeds in the visiting area.
- Food or drink may not be brought into the visitation area.
- Visitors who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be denied entry (and also risk arrest).
- Tobacco and tobacco products are prohibited.
- Personal items, including cell phones, laptops, cameras, recording devices, bags, purses, and briefcases, should be left at home or in the car. There are storage lockers available in the lobby for necessary items.
- Visitors are restricted to visit only with the one inmate they are pre-scheduled to see.
- Once the visit is ended, you must not linger, but should proceed to exit the area.
- Individuals incarcerated in Costa Contra County in the past six months are not permitted to visit the facility.
There is also a strict dress code for West County Jail visitation. Shoes are required, and prohibited clothing includes:
- Outfits that resemble typical inmate attire or a law enforcement or military uniform
- Clothes that are considered excessively tight or revealing of the breasts, chest, buttocks or crotch area
- Skirts, dresses or shorts that expose the thigh higher than two inches above the knee
- Items that display obscene or offensive wording, symbols or pictures
- Clothes styled in recognized gang fashion or displaying gang-related graphics or symbols
- Coats or jackets
All types of head coverings, including wigs and hairpieces, are prohibited, as are gloves. If there is a special circumstance, contact the jail to obtain approval for these items ahead of time.
6. Richmond Mail Policies
Friends and family are encouraged to write to West County Detention Facility inmates and are allowed to send packages. Correspondence should be addressed as follows:
Inmates full name, Booking #
West County Detention Facility
5555 Giant Highway
Richmond, CA 94806
All mail will be opened and all mail except legal mail can be read by staff. Legal mail is opened and inspected in front of the inmate, but the text should remain private.
There is a list of items the Contra Costa Sheriff does not allow inmates to receive. These include:
- Envelopes containing marks, stains or excessive writing
- Polaroid pictures
- Any item that is too large to fit in a typical drawer
- Material of a sexually explicit nature
- Material that depicts or may incite violence, racially motivated hate crimes or any type of illegal activity
- Material containing instructions for the manufacture or use of weapons or unlawful substances
Incoming mail should be delivered to your friend or loved one within two days of receipt by the detention center. Inmates can send outgoing mail, and writing materials and stamped envelopes are available through commissary. Indigent inmates are provided with necessary materials and postage to send out two personal letters weekly and an unlimited amount of legal mail.
7. Life and Health at the Detention Center
This facility is described as a “campus style” setting, where West County inmates are held in one of five separate housing units. There are four units for male inmates and one designated for females. The housing units have their own separate courtyards, which are used for outdoor activities.
This facility offers many educational and vocational programs, including classes to work toward obtaining a GED, English as a second language, and computer classes. The opportunity is provided to work in a sign/engraving shop or a frame shop to learn these trades. (Items produced are used by nonprofit and government organizations.) There is also a landscaping program to teach irrigation and plant education and a kitchen and laundry vocational training program.
West County Detention Center inmates have access to medical, dental, and mental health care as well as religious counseling and services. Staff and/or volunteers hold 12-step program meetings, anger management classes, and parenting classes and provide transitional services aimed at preventing recidivism (return to incarceration).
8. Custody Alternatives
The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s office facilitates custody alternative programs for individuals who have been granted this privilege by the court. There is a “Work Alternative Program” for inmates receiving a sentence of 30 days or less. Selected inmates with longer sentences are allowed to serve their time at home using “Electronic Home Detention.”
There are a variety of fees assessed for participants in custody alternative programs. A Custody Alternative Handbook provides more details or call (925) 313-4260.
9. Inmate Property
Inmate personal property is typically confiscated by staff for storage at the detention center. There is an authorization property release form that may be signed by the inmate to allow for property pick up. Friends or family members with proper photo identification can come in to the jail and pick-up property once the release has been placed on file.