The Elmwood Correctional Complex

A resource guide providing inmate, bail and visiting information for the Elmwood Correctional Complex

The Elmwood Correctional Complex.which is under the command of the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections.consists of two jail facilities:  the Elmwood Men's Correctional Facility and the Correctional Center for Women ("CCW").  This complex

  1. temporarily houses arrestees until they post bail or appear for their arraignment, and
  2. houses convicted defendants who have been sentenced to incarceration.

Elmwood Correctional Complex

The Correctional Center for Women can house about 600 inmates of all security levels.  The Elmwood Men's Facility can hold approximately 2,500 inmates in minimum to medium security sections.  Violent male offenders are taken to the Santa Clara County Main Jail .

The Elmwood Correctional Facility is located at

701 S. Abel Street
Milpitas, CA 95035

Map of The Elmwood Correctional Complex

In this article, our San Jose criminal defense attorneys1 provide information about the Elmwood Correctional Complex by explaining the following:

1. Procedures on How to Post Bail for an Inmate at the Elmwood Correctional Complex

1.1. Cash bail

1.2. Cashier's check

1.3. Money order

1.4. Bail bonds

2. How to Get Inmate Information
3. How to Contact an Inmate at the Elmwood Correctional Complex
4. Rules and Regulations Regarding Mail Correspondence

4.1. Prohibited items

5. Visiting Hours and Policies

5.1. Registration / requirements

5.2. Visitor restrictions

5.3. Visiting hours

6. How to "Put Money on the Books" for an Inmate at the Elmwood Correctional Complex
7. The Procedures for "Return of Property"
8. Inmate Services

8.1. The Elmwood Correctional Complex "Friends Outside" program

9. The Elmwood Correctional Complex's Weekend Work Program

If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

1. Procedures on How to Post Bail for an Inmate at the Elmwood Correctional Complex

"Bail" refers to the amount of money that a defendant.or, more likely, someone on the defendant's behalf.must pay to the Department of Corrections (DOC) in order to be released from jail.  It is intended to assure the DOC, prosecutor and judge that the defendant will appear in court as expected.

If the defendant attends all court appearances, the bail will be returned at the end of the case.  If the defendant does not attend all of his/her court appearances, he/she forfeits that money to the court.

With respect to inmates at the Elmwood Correctional Complex, the amount of bail that the defendant must pay (or "post") is governed by the Santa Clara County Bail Schedule and is set according to the criminal offense with which the inmate is charged.

You may post bail for an inmate at the Elmwood Correctional Complex daily between the hours of 5:00am and 1:00am at the San Jose Main Jail located at

150 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA

You can post bail in one of four ways (all of which are discussed in more detail in our article on How to Post Bail in California):

  1. cash bail,
  2. a cashier's check,
  3. a money order, or
  4. a bail bond.

1.1. Cash bail

"Cash" bail is just  If you decide to post cash bail, you must pay the entire bail amount.   Once paid, the Elmwood inmate will be released.  If the defendant makes all of his/her court appearances, the court will refund your money at the conclusion of the criminal case (minus a small processing fee).

1.2. Cashier's check

Similar to cash bail, if you opt to use a cashier's check, you must post the entire bail amount.  However the funds must clear before the inmate will be released.

Only California bank cashier's checks will be accepted and must be payable to the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections.  All cashier's checks should have the inmate's name, booking number and personal file number written on the check.

1.3. Money order

If you wish to post bail for an inmate at the Elmwood Correctional Complex using a money order, it must be a U.S. Postal Service Money Order that is also for the full bail amount.  And, like the cashier's check, the money order should include the inmate's name, booking number and personal file number.

1.4. Bail bonds

Bail bonds are the most common way to post bail.  When you secure a bail bond from a bail bondsman or bail agent, you only pay a maximum 10% of the bail amount.  The difference here is that the 10% is nonrefundable.  This means that even if the inmate makes all of his/her court appearances, you still lose that portion of the bail.  And if he/she fails to make those appearances, you are liable for repaying the full amount of the bail to the bondsman.

You can obtain a bail bond within about 20 minutes, although it generally takes another 30 minutes to four hours for the defendant to be released from custody.  Bail bondsmen advertise via the Internet and the phone book.  Be sure to verify the agent's license and retain copies of all your documents.

∗NOTE:  After you post bail for an inmate at the Elmwood Correctional Complex, you should immediately consult with an experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney to seek legal representation.  A savvy local attorney can even help you schedule a bail hearing to potentially reduce or even waive the inmate's bail.

2. How to Get Inmate Information

In order to get information about an inmate at the Elmwood Correctional Complex, you can call the facility's automated information line at (408) 976-5245 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.  If you wish to speak to a deputy, you can call the Complex between the hours of 5:00am until 1:00am at (408) 299-2305.  You must know the inmate's full name and the correct spelling of that name before you will be able to obtain information.

It is important to ask for the inmate's personal file number which is not only necessary to acquire any future information about the inmate but must appear on a variety of documents and in certain correspondence.

You can also access information online via the Santa Clara Department of Corrections inmate information website.

Know that inmate information generally isn't available for at least 4-6 hours after the time of arrest.

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 or defendant being housed at Elmwood Correctional, visit the Santa Clara County case information website.

3. How to Contact an Inmate at the Elmwood Correctional Complex

Inmates at Elmwood are not allowed to receive incoming telephone calls.  They are, however, allowed to place collect calls.

Or if you choose, you can set up a calling card account online through Global Tel* Link or by calling (800) 483-8314.  These cards are available in increments of $25 and $50.  In order to make sure that the correct inmate receives the card, be sure to specify the inmate's booking number and full and complete name.

You may want to call your local telephone provider to make sure that you can receive these types of calls (as well as collect calls) and that they are not blocked on your phone.  If you currently have this type of restriction, it may take up to 72 hours for the collect or calling card calls to come through once you remove it.

You can also contact inmates at the Elmwood Complex via mail (discussed below under Section 4. Rules and Regulations Regarding Mail Correspondence) or in person (discussed below under Section 5. Visiting Hours and Policies).

4. Rules and Regulations Regarding Mail Correspondence

Inmates at the Elmwood Correctional Complex are provided with an unlimited amount of writing supplies and stationary to correspond with their loved ones.  If you choose to correspond with an inmate via the mail, there are a variety of rules and regulations to which you must adhere.  If you do not, the deputies may refuse to deliver your mail.

All mail must be sent through the U.S. Postal Service - any mail sent through UPS, FedEx or any other mail courier will not be accepted.  And all mail will be searched for any possible security breaches.

4.1. Prohibited items

The following items may not be sent to Elmwood through the mail:

  • plastics, cardboard, double-ply cards, laminated items, greeting cards larger than 5"x7", postage stamps, staples, paper clips, stamped and/or padded envelopes, items that are taped or blank paper,
  • artwork done with wax, water colors or heavy crayons,
  • packages,
  • pictures larger than 4"x6", Polaroid or other "instant" pictures, or any photos that depict gang-related activities or that are sexual in nature,
  • items that are homemade, have stains or suspicious prints or markings on them,
  • cash, illegal items or drugs,
  • flowers, or
  • any type of food or drinks.

You may send an inmate a newspaper, softbound book or magazine as long as you have them mailed directly from the publisher via the U.S. Postal Service.

Send all mail to:

Santa Clara County Department of Corrections
Elmwood Correctional Complex
∗[Inmate's name, booking number and personal file number]
701 South Abel Street
Milpitas, CA 95035

5. Visiting Hours and Policies

If you wish to visit an inmate at the Elmwood Complex, you are allowed to do so, provided that you comply with Elmwood's visiting hours and policies.  Visits are typically scheduled ahead of time, and visitors are required to register when they make their appointments.

5.1. Registration / requirements

You can register up to three (3) weeks prior to the requested date but no less than 24 hours in advance.  You can register in one of four different ways:

    1. online at (please allow 3-4 days for processing),
    2. via mail or fax by printing out a visitor registration form from the website and then either mailing it to
      Department of Correction Elmwood Complex
      Attn: Visiting Office
      701 South Abel Street
      Milpitas, CA 95035
      or faxing it to
      (408) 957-5921,
  1. by telephone at (408) 957-5900, or
  2. in person by going directly to the Elmwood Complex.

All appointments must be scheduled at least one (1) day prior to your visit.  Once an appointment has been scheduled, it may not be changed on the same day.  And all visitors and their property are subject to search prior to entry.  Any illegal items will be confiscated and may subject you to criminal prosecution.

Each visitor must provide a government issued photo I.D. card, such as

  • a California driver's license,
  • a California identification card,
  • a U.S. Passport,
  • an alien registration card, or
  • a U.S. military card.

Minors must have an original or notarized copy of their birth certificate and must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian at all times.  These identification cards and a single key are the only items that will be allowed inside the facility.  The only exception is that visitors who bring an infant will be permitted to bring one (1) baby bottle.

5.2. Visitor restrictions

All inmates are entitled to two (2) visits per week including one (1) during the weekdays and one (1) on the weekend.  Each visit may consist of up to two (2) adults and one (1) child.

Only one (1) visit per day is allowed and visits are limited to 30 minutes.  Visitors must arrive at least half an hour prior to their scheduled visit to allow enough time to adhere to the visiting procedures.

In order to be admitted into the Elmwood Correctional Complex, all visitors must be properly dressed.  The dress code is strictly enforced, and failure to comply will result in a denial of entrance.

You may not wear/carry:

  • revealing and/or sexually provocative clothing,
  • clothing with offensive or obscene images or words,
  • clothing with patterns that illustrate or resemble law enforcement or military emblems,
  • clothing that is similar to that of the inmates',
  • clothing or footwear with metal parts (*∗shoes must be worn at all times),
  • hats, caps, bandanas or any other "headgear", or
  • handbags, purses, wallets, cell phones or pagers.

And any visitor displaying a tattoo of an offensive nature or that is gang-related will be denied visitation.

Anyone with internal metal hardware for medical reasons must bring written verification signed by a doctor.  Anyone who appears to be intoxicated will be denied entry.  And regardless of any other circumstances, the staff at the Elmwood Correctional Complex reserves the right to deny any visitor access that they deem may pose a security threat to the staff or inmates.

5.3. Visiting hours

For the Elmwood Men's Facility, visiting hours are as follows:

  • Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:00pm - 4:30pm and evenings from 7:00pm - 10:30pm,
  • Fridays from 8:00am - 10:30am and from 1:00pm - 4:30pm, and
  • weekends and court-observed holidays from 7:00am - 10:30am and from 1:00pm - 4:30pm.

The visitors schedule for the Elmwood Correctional Center for Women is less straight-forward.  This is because different inmates.depending on their security level and exact location within the center.have different visiting hours.

As a result, if you wish to visit a female inmate, you should call the facility directly at (408) 957-5900 to find out the applicable visiting hours.

Attorneys and clergy members are not restricted to Elmwood's normal visiting hours.  Attorneys of record may visit their clients anytime.  And as long as members of the clergy contact the jail's chaplain's office for pre-approval, they may visit anytime as well.

6. How to "Put Money on the Books" for an Inmate at the Elmwood Correctional Complex

Once an inmate is booked into the Elmwood Correctional Complex, all of his/her property is confiscated and stored.  If the inmate has any cash in his/her possession, it will be deposited into an account for the inmate that he/she can use to purchase items from the jail's commissary.  In addition, friends and family members can choose to deposit money into an inmate's account to allow the inmate to purchase additional items in the commissary.

In you decide that you want to send money to an inmate (a process known as "putting money on the books"), you may do so by mailing a money order or cashier's check through the U.S. Postal Service.

You must include the inmate's correctly spelled name, booking number and personal file number on the order or check as well as on the outer envelope.  Make these checks payable to the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections.  Errors will result in a denial of the funds and the cashier's check or money order being returned to the sender.

Each check or money order may not exceed $300.  Once the funds are verified, they will be available to the inmate.  An inmate may transfer funds to anyone he/she wishes except to another inmate.  In the alternative, any unused funds will be refunded once the inmate is released (discussed below in the next section).

7. The Procedures for "Return of Property"

The Elmwood Correctional Complex will return confiscated property to an inmate once he/she is either transferred into a different jail/prison facility or when the inmate serves his/her sentence and is released from the Complex.

If the inmate desires, he/she can choose to release his/her property to a friend or family member prior to the inmate's release.  When an inmate decides to release any of his/her property, the inmate must release all of the property with the exception of personal clothing.  Personal clothing will only be released upon discharge from the facility or transfer to a California state prison.

If an inmate has chosen you to pick up his/her property, you must bring a government issued I.D. (listed above under Section 5. Visiting Hours and Policies) directly to the Elmwood facility where you will be given the inmate's property.

And if the inmate is being transferred to state prison, he/she must make arrangements to have his/her property released to another person.  If it is not collected prior to the transfer, it will be destroyed after 180 days.

8. Inmate Services

The Elmwood Correctional Complex offers a variety of mental/medical, educational and recreational programs for its inmates.  Some of these include (but are not limited to):

  • mental health counseling,
  • religious services,
  • drug and/or alcohol counseling and meetings,
  • anger management and parenting classes,
  • English as a second language classes, computer classes, literacy classes and the opportunity to earn a general education diploma ("G.E.D") or high school diploma,
  • work programs,
  • community work skills such as grounds, roads, parks and school maintenance, and
  • a library for minimum security inmates.

8.1. The Elmwood Correctional Complex "Friends Outside" program

In addition, the Elmwood Correctional Complex has a special program called "Friends Outside".  It allows the inmates to maintain a connection with the "outside" world for other needs that may not easily be met in the facility.  The types of services that "Friends Outside" provides include (but are not limited to):

  • cashing payroll checks,
  • verifying scheduled court appearances,
  • maintaining contact with inmate's probation or parole officers,
  • helping with any legal documents, and
  • providing clothing to inmates who will be attending a jury trial.

Inmates or their friends/family may contact "Friends Outside" by

    1. accessing their website,
    2. emailing them at [email protected],
    3. mailing them at

      Friends Outside in Santa Clara County
      Catholic Charities Building, Suite 210
      2625 Zanker Road
      San Jose, CA 95134, or
  1. calling them at (408) 468-0100 Monday through Friday from 9:00am-5:00pm.
9. The Elmwood Correctional Complex's Weekend Work Program

As an alternative to traditional jail, the Weekend Work Program ("WWP") offers low-risk offenders the opportunity to serve their sentences by performing community labor in lieu of incarceration.  Participants pay to participate, so there is no cost to the citizens of Santa Clara County or the Department of Corrections.

WWP participants perform their service on the weekends so that it does not interfere with their regular employment.  There are a variety of local agencies that utilize WWP workers.  All participants are carefully screened by the courts and probation department prior to being accepted into the program.  For more information, visit the Weekend Work Program rules website.

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If you or loved one is charged with a crime and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We have offices conveniently located in downtown San Jose, and we represent clients throughout Santa Clara County and the South Bay.

1Our San Jose criminal defense attorneys' offices are located at 95 S. Market St., Suite 300, San Jose, CA 95113.  Our telephone number is (408) 347-1200.  In addition, our California criminal defense lawyers have local law offices conveniently located throughout the state in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.


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