The Merced County Main Jail is located in the central California city of Merced, which is about an hour north of Fresno. Together with the John Latorraca Correctional Facility, the The Merced Main Jail is under the jurisdiction of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office. Merced County Correctional Center “guests” include men and women awaiting adjudication for misdemeanor and felony crimes, as well as those currently serving a post-conviction sentence.
The Merced County Jail system has experienced overcrowded conditions, due in part to California’s 2011 California Public Safety Realignment Act, which provided for the transfer of inmates from prisons to county jails. The Main Merced County Jail has apparently been plagued with incidents of inmate-on- inmate violence, as reported in this 2018 article.
The address and main phone number of the Merced County Jail is:
700 W. 22nd St.
Merced, CA 95340
Phone: (209) 385-7410
Below, friends and family members of individuals currently incarcerated in Merced County will find important information about the jail. Our team of California criminal defense lawyers provide helpful data to address the following topics:
- 1. Search for an Inmate
- 2. Bail Bonding
- 3. Inmate Telephone Communication
- 4. Cash Accounts for Commissary
- 5. Merced County Jail Visitation
- 6. Mail Policies
- 7. Life at the Detention Center
- 8. Property Release
- 9. Talk to a Criminal Lawyer
1. Locate a Merced County Inmate
To help you determine if your friend or loved one has been booked into custody, Merced County provides an online “inmate inquiry” search engine. On this page, you can conduct an inmate search by name or use a range of potential arrest dates.
Links to each inmate will bring you a booking photo and other identifying details, such as height and weight. You can also find criminal charges, classification (misdemeanor or felony) and the bail bonding amount, if eligible.
2. How to Post Bail
In many cases, your detained friend or loved one will have an opportunity to obtain temporary freedom from incarceration by posting a bail bond. You can locate bail information on the Merced County “inmate inquiry” page, or call the jail at (209) 385-7410 for assistance.
3. Inmate Phone Calls
California law mandates that arrestees have the opportunity to make at least three free phone calls. These calls can be used to notify family and/or friends and to seek counsel from a criminal lawyer.
Family members and friends cannot call into the jail and speak directly with a detainee or inmate, and the staff is not permitted to pass along messages. Merced County Detention Center inmates are allowed access to telephones each day between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Outgoing inmate calls must be placed collect or funded by prepaid phone minutes.
To set up an account for phone funding, go online to ICSolutions.com or call (888) 506-8407. Through this application’s “Secure Mail” option, you can also leave 30-second voicemail messages for Merced County inmates. (The fee is $1.00 per voicemail, and phone calls start at 21 cents a minute.) Keep in mind that all calls and messages are subject to monitoring and recording by jail staff. Therefore, it is best to avoid discussing any aspect of the inmate’s criminal case.
4. Deposits for Inmate Cash Accounts
Merced County Jail inmates will have the opportunity to make purchases from the jail commissary, which offers a selection of comfort items (i.e. snacks, preferred hygiene products, correspondence materials/stamps, etc.). Any money found on the inmate’s person when booked into jail will be placed in his or her trust account, and can be used for commissary.
In addition, friends and family can contribute funds to the inmate cash account. You must have the correct inmate number (available on “inmate inquiry” or by calling the jail) in order to provide commissary funds.
The following payment options are available if you wish to deposit funds for an inmate at the Merced Jail:
- At the Jail – The sheriff’s office has a 24-hour kiosk in the lobby that accepts cash, credit or debit cards. Note that $1 bills are not accepted. The fee is $3.25 per transaction.
- Internet – Go to govpaynow.com or to courtmoney.com to make an online deposit. The facility code is MCE and the pay location number is 5500.
- By Phone – Call GovPay at (888) 277-2535 or Court Money at (800) 352-9870 to make a payment over the phone with your debit or credit card.
5. Visitation at the Jail
To visit an inmate at the Merced County Correctional Facility, your name must appear on his or her “approved visiting list.”* Inmates can have up to two 30-minute visits per week. A maximum of two people can visit at one time, counting children and infants.
Visitation in Merced takes place every day of the week except Monday. Visitation privileges are on a first-come, first-serve basis, with sign-ups beginning an hour before visitation starts each day,. You should plan to be present no more than 15 minutes prior to your planned visit.
To verify specific visiting days and visiting hours for your friend or loved one, call the jail at (209) 385-7419. A “Visiting Schedule” for the Merced County Main Jail is provided on the county website. Specific visiting days and times are designated according to cell block locations.
*Individuals with active warrants, an arrest in the past five years, or a felony, drug,, violent or sex crime conviction cannot visit a Merced inmate. A restraining order involving the inmate also denies visitation.
There is a list of rules for Merced County Jail visitors, as follows:
- You must bring valid, government-issued, photo identification to visitation.
- Do not bring in any personal objects other than your ID and car keys. If you have an infant with you, you can also bring in a feeding bottle.
- Visitors under the age 18 must be in the company of a parent or legal guardian. A birth certificate or other legal documentation is required. Documented emancipated minors or the underage spouse of an inmate will be allowed to visit.
- Children must be supervised, and disruptive children may be cause to end the visit.
- The jail’s dress code specifies no provocative clothing, such as see-through or low cut clothes. Conservative dress is recommended to avoid being turned away.
- Inappropriate displays of affection or sexual activity will terminate the visit.
- Breastfeeding mothers are asked to remain covered in the visitation area.
- You may not visit if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or refuse to submit to a search.
6. Merced County Inmate Mail Policies
Mail to Merced County Main Jail inmates should be addressed as follows:
P.O. Box 2267
Merced, CA 95344
You can send an unlimited amount of postal mail to your incarcerated friend/loved one and inmates can purchase materials and stamps through commissary for outgoing mail. Inmates who do not have commissary funds are provided with two postage-paid envelopes and writing paper to send out personal mail each week.
All incoming mail will be opened and inspected prior to disbursement to the inmate. Legal mail will be opened in the presence of the inmate.
You may not send the following items in the mail:
- Images showing nudity or partial nudity
- Postage stamps
- Packages of any kind
You can order magazines to arrive directly from the publisher. If a magazine’s contents are objectionable to the staff, it will not be accepted.
7. Life and Health at the Jail
The Main Merced Jail was originally constructed in 1968, so this is an aging facility that likely needs modernization. Incoming inmates may be housed here or, alternatively, at the newer facility (John Latorraca Correctional). There is minimum, medium, and maximum security housing available.
Housing status is determined by a classification process and is generally decided within 72 hours of arrival. Current and past criminal records are considered, the inmate is interviewed/observed by staff, and medical/psychiatric needs are also taken into account.
Medical and mental health care is available at the facility on a daily basis. Inmates can fill out a “Sick Call” request for treatment, if needed. There are $3.00 co-pays for medical visits, which are deducted from funds in the inmate cash account, if available.
Approved medication may be disbursed on a supervised basis. Special dietary needs will be accommodated if medically prescribed or necessary (upon Chaplain approval) for religious reasons.
A variety of services are provided to Merced Correctional Facility inmates, including religious services, 12 step substance abuse programs, and classes in anger management, parenting, and life skills. There is also assistance with GED study, employment readiness and vocational job search.
The Marin County Detention Center complies with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003. They state a “zero tolerance policy” for acts of sexual abuse, sexual assault, or sexual harassment by inmates or staff. All allegations of abuse are reportedly investigated.
8. Inmate property
Property and money is confiscated from incoming detainees at booking and will be stored at the jail pending release. Incarcerated inmates can fill out a property release authorization form to designate an individual who will schedule a property pick up. Photo identification will be required for any individual picking up inmate property.
9. Help From a Criminal Attorney
If you or your loved one needs legal counsel after an arrest, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced criminal attorneys at the California Legal Defense Group. With a strong record of past results for clients, our lawyers have helped many people beat criminal charges or significantly reduce harsh consequences. We are aggressive legal advocates who work to prevent incarceration and other penalties. For a free consultation and case assessment, please call or contact us online today.