The Pitchess Detention Center...commonly referred to as the Wayside jail...has undergone a variety of changes since its original inception in 1938. Operated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the facility currently consists of four separate complexes:
- The East Facility (Opened in 1951 as a disciplinary unit, the East Facility is currently the oldest operating jail in L.A. County. Today, this Jail houses approximately 400 parole violators awaiting their parole revocation hearings.)
- The South Facility (The South Facility currently houses approximately 1,400 low-to-medium security inmates. It offers a variety of educational programs to qualified inmates that operate in conjunction with the Hacienda La Puente School District.)
- The North Facility (The North Facility can hold up to 1,500 inmates, although it currently houses less than five. This is because the North Facility unofficially closed late 2010 and is really only open as a "back up" in case there is overcrowding in the other three facilities. Per state regulations, it is required to house at least one inmate so that it may continue to operate).
The North County Correctional Facility ("NCCF") (This Facility is a maximum security complex which holds approximately 3,800 inmates. It houses five different jails which provide for disciplinary segregation and clinic level medical treatment of inmates).
These five jails are comprised of the following buildings:
- inmate services,
- kitchen and vocational training (focusing on printing, sign production and clothing manufacturing),
- health and intake, and
- inmate housing.
Even though the East, South, North and North County Correctional Facilites collectively comprise the Pitchess Detention Center, each is run by its own commander and staff.
The Detention Center is located at
29310 (The East Facility),
29320 (The North Facility),
29330 (The South Facility) and
The Old Road
Castaic, CA 91384
The Wayside Jail only houses male inmates. Females are housed at the Century Regional Detention Facility. And male inmates are sometimes transferred between Wayside and either the Los Angeles Twin Towers Facility or the L.A. County Men's Central Jail, depending on a variety of circumstances.
In this article, our Los Angeles County criminal defense attorneys1 will explain the following:
- 1. Procedures on How to Post Bail for an Inmate at the Los Angeles Pitchess Detention Center
- 2. How to Get Inmate Information
- 3. How to Contact an Inmate at the Wayside Jail
- 4. Pitchess Detention Center Visiting Hours and Policies
- 5. Rules and Regulations Regarding Mail Correspondence
- 6. How to Put Money "On the Books" for an Inmate Housed at the Wayside Jail
- 7. Inmate Services
- 8. Procedures for "Return of Property" at the Pitchess Detention Center
If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
When an arrestee is booked into a California jail, he is released
- on his own recognizance (known as an O.R. release),
- after he posts bail, or
- following the conclusion of his criminal case (either because he was acquitted or served his sentence).
"Bail" refers to the amount of money that a defendant must post in order to be released from jail. It is intended to assure the court 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 court appearances, he forfeits that money to the court.
Anyone can pay or "post" bail on another person's behalf. If you elect to post bail for an inmate being held at the Wayside Jail, you may do so 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at the L.A. Inmate Reception Center ("IRC") which is located at
450 Bauchet Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Cashier's Office (213) 893-5875
The Pitchess Detention Center does not have its own cashier and does not accept any money directly at the facility.
Bail for an inmate being held at Wayside is set according to the Los Angeles County bail schedule based on the crime(s) for which he was arrested.
The Inmate Reception Center accepts four types of bail payments (many of which are discussed in detail in our article on How to Post Bail in California): cash bail, cashier's checks, money orders and bail bonds.
If you post cash bail, it must be for the full bail amount. Once you post cash bail, the inmate is released pending his arraignment. If the inmate attends his 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 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 L.A. IRC only accepts California bank-drawn cashier's checks. Checks should be payable to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. They must also include the inmate's full name and booking number.
Because the funds must be verified before the staff at the Wayside 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.
IRC only accepts U.S. Postal Service money orders that are payable to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and that include the inmate's name and booking number. Like cash and cashier's checks, money orders must also be in the amount of the entire bail amount.
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. If the defendant makes all of his court appearances, you will only pay a maximum 10% of the total bail amount.
You obtain a bail bond from a bail bondsman (aka a bail agent). As long as the defendant makes all of his court appearances, you pay nothing on top of the 10%. However, 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 Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who can schedule a bail hearing to argue that the bail should be reduced or eliminated. One of our experienced local attorneys can also help devise the most effective legal defense to help your loved one fight his case.
You can obtain information on inmates housed at the Pitchess Detention Center in Los Angeles 24 hours a day / 7 days a week either by
- calling the L.A. Sheriff's Department inmate information line at (213) 473-6080, or
- visiting the Los Angeles Sheriff's inmate information website.
Inmate information is usually not available until at least two hours after the time of booking.
In order to get inmate information, you need to provide the inmate's complete name and date of birth or booking number. Once you have provided this information, a deputy will provide the inmate's
- booking number (if you don't already have it),
- next scheduled court date, and
- bail information.
And on that note, if you would like further case information on an inmate, such as an upcoming date for his
you may visit the Los Angeles County Case Information website.
When inmates are booked into Pitchess Detention Center, they may make one free outgoing phone call. Beyond that, all outgoing calls must be collect or placed with a calling card. Inmates are not allowed to receive incoming calls.
If you would like to send an inmate a prepaid calling card, you have three options:
- send the inmate money in accordance with the policies set forth under Section 6. How to Put Money "On the Books" so that he can purchase one at the Jail's commissary,
- send the inmate a prepaid calling card in a commissary care package (discussed below under Subsection 5.3. Care packages), or
- you may go online to Global Tel∗ Link or call them at (800) 483-8314 to set up a $25 or $50 account for the inmate to use.
If you have a loved one incarcerated at Wayside, you may want to contact your local telephone carrier to make sure that collect and calling card calls are not blocked on your telephone plan.
Contact with inmates at Pitchess isn't limited to phone calls. Inmates are not only allowed to receive visitors but are also allowed to correspond via mail. These options are discussed in the next two sections.
Most inmates housed at the Pitchess Detention Center are allowed to have friends and family visit them at the facility.
Visits at the Wayside Jail are limited to Saturdays, Sundays and the following holidays:
- New Year's Day,
- Memorial Day,
- Independence Day (the 4th of July),
- Labor Day,
- Thanksgiving Day, and
- Christmas Day.
Visiting hours are between 8:00am and 2:00pm. Each inmate is allowed to have one thirty-minute visit each weekend. An additional half-hour is permitted on holidays that fall on a weekday. Holidays that fall on a weekend will adhere to the regular weekend schedule with no additional visiting time.
A maximum of three (3) people may visit at a time, and minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Infants or toddlers who are constantly held by an adult do not count as one of the three visitors. Children of inmates are allowed to visit unaccompanied by an adult.
Attorneys and clergy members have their own visiting hours.
Attorneys may visit inmates at the South and East Facilities Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 8:00pm or outside of those hours with prior approval from the Watch Commander. Attorneys may visit inmates at the North County Correctional Facility Monday through Thursday during these same hours or Fridays 11:00am to 7:00pm.
Clergy members may make their own arrangements with the Wayside Chaplain's office.
Because visiting hours are subject to change without notice, it is a good idea to call the visitor's line prior to making a visit. You can reach the visitor's desk at (661) 295-8074.
Visits to the Pitchess Detention Center are arranged on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors must arrive at least one (1) hour before the desired time of the visit to allow for registration and instructions on how to navigate the facility.
That said, the fact is that the Wayside Jail may host as many as 4,500 to 6,000 visitors on any given Saturday or Sunday. As a result, a one-hour check-in may not be enough time to secure your visit. It is not uncommon for visitors to "camp out" the night before or the early morning of the time they wish to visit.
All visitors must enter the Pitchess Detention Center main gate and park in the visitor's center parking lot. Visitors must then proceed to the visitor's registration desk where they will complete a "request for visit" form. The form must include the inmate's name, booking number and name of the visitor(s). Once a visitor's pass is generated, visitors will be directed to the proper bus loading area and transported to the appropriate facility.
The average visit from arrival time to departure time is approximately four (4) hours.
All visitors 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.
Even with a valid I.D., certain individuals are prohibited from visiting inmates at the Pitchess Detention Center. This includes individuals who:
- have been incarcerated in the California state prison,
- are on formal probation and do not receive prior permission from the Jail's unit commander, or
- have an outstanding warrant.
All visitors of Wayside Jail are subject to a search of their person and property. It is okay for visitors to bring their personal belongings to the facility (such as a purse, backpack, etc.), but visitors may not bring
- metal cans,
- mirrors (including compacts),
- sharp objects,
- anything that may be used to injure another person, or
- anything inherently illegal
to the Jail.
In addition, all visitors must adhere to a proper dress code, which means that clothing may not be too provocative, offensive or bear any gang or sexual images. Anyone who
- doesn't conform to this policy,
- appears to be intoxicated, or
- poses a threat...or even a perceived threat...to the staff or inmates at Wayside
may be denied entry to the facility and may even face prosecution, depending on the circumstances.
At no time may visitors bring anything to the inmates.
If you wish to send mail to an inmate at the Wayside Jail, address it to
[Inmate's complete name and seven-digit booking number]
P.O. Box 86164
Los Angeles, CA 90086-0164
∗This is the mailing address for a variety of L.A. County correctional facilities, which is why it is critical to not only include the inmate's complete name but his booking number as well.
All mail must comply with the rules and regulations below. If it does not, it will be returned to the sender. However, if the mail contains anything inherently illegal, it will be stored as evidence and could subject you to criminal prosecution.
Prohibited items include (but are not limited to):
- stationary, blank envelopes, envelopes with metal clasps, paper clips, staples, pencils, glitter, stickers, postage stamps, glued or gummed labels, cellophane tape or any type of tape on a letter, or envelopes with gang or suggestive drawings/art work,
- cash, personal or second-party checks, traveler's checks, payroll checks, blank money orders, out-of-state non-U.S. Postal Service money orders, or any money order exceeding $200,
- musical, plastic or blank greeting/post cards larger than 6"x9",
- rosary beads, balloons, string bracelets or other jewelry items,
- lottery tickets, or
- pre-paid telephone cards.
You can send up to five (5) photographs to an inmate housed at the Pitchess Detention Center (inmates are only allowed to possess five (5) photos at any time) as long as they are a minimum of 2"x3" and a maximum of 4"x6". Photos containing any nude, sexually suggestive, or gang-related content will not be delivered.
And as far as reading materials are concerned, you may send up to (3) books per week and up to three (3) magazines per week, none of which may be sexually explicit in nature. That said, the only way that books, magazines, etc. will be accepted is if they are mailed directly from an actual or on-line bookstore or publisher.
Even though you are personally prohibited from sending certain items (such as food or pre-paid calling cards), you can have these types of items sent via a commissary care-package. The Keefe Commissary contracts with several L.A. County jails (including Wayside) and offers a variety of care packages that you may choose to have delivered to an inmate.
For more information, visit the Keefe Commissary website.
Please know that this link is the only way you can send a care package to an inmate. Not only do the Jail's mail rules and regulations prohibit you from sending these types of items on your own, but care packages sent from outside sources will not be accepted either.
When you put money "on the books" for an inmate, it means that you either create or add to an "in house" bank account. This account allows inmates to purchase a variety of items at the facility's commissary. Some of these items include stationary, snacks and beverages, hygiene items, games, books, etc.
You may personally put money "on the books" for an inmate or you may mail money to an inmate.
If you would like to mail money, send a California bank-drawn cashier's check, U.S. Postal Service Money Order or a California state money order payable to the inmate (and include the inmate's booking number on the check/money order) to
[Inmate's complete name and seven-digit booking number]
P.O. Box 86164
Los Angeles, CA 90086-0164
Be sure to follow the rules/regulations that were described above in Section 5. Rules and Regulations Regarding Mail Correspondence.
If you wish to put money "on the books" in person, you may do so 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at the cashier's office in the Inmate Reception Center, located at
450 Bauchet Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Cashier's Office (213) 893-5875
It bears repeating that the Pitchess Detention Center does not directly handle any money.
Because the Pitchess Detention Center is so large, it offers a number of services to its inmates. Some of these include:
- a variety of vocational training programs,
- education classes, including the ability to earn a General Education Degree ("GED"),
- a commissary where inmates can purchase a variety of items such as food, reading materials, hygiene products, games, etc.,
- outdoor recreational activities,
- television privileges,
- chapel services for all major religious denominations, and
- Alcoholics Anonymous "AA", Narcotics Anonymous "NA" and other substance abuse and alcohol counseling programs, and
- domestic violence counseling.
When an inmate is booked into the Wayside Jail, his belongings are collected and stored. This property is usually returned to the inmate upon his release. Alternatively, an inmate can designate another person to claim that property by filling out a property release form.
If an inmate fills out this form designating you as the person to whom property should be released, he may do so during a regular visit at which point you may go ahead and take home the inmate's property.
However, if you are trying to get an inmate's vehicle released, you must contact the arresting agency. They will be able to provide details about the particular vehicle in question, such as where the vehicle is located and whether or not it has been impounded (in which case, there is probably a requirement that it remain impounded for a specific period of time).
Call us for help...
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 can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.
1Our Los Angeles County defense attorneys have local law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, and Whittier.