The Sacramento County Main Jail


A tall imposing building
Sacramento County Main Jail

The Sacramento County Main Jail is under the command of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.  This Jail primarily serves as a temporary housing facility for male and female arrestees until they

  • post bail,
  • are released on their own recognizance (known as an O.R. release),
  • appear for their arraignment, or
  • await their trial.

It also houses some convicted defendants, although most post-conviction defendants serve their time in the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Facility.

The Sacramento County Main Jail is located at

651 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 874-6752

In this article, our Sacramento criminal defense attorneys1 provide information about the Sacramento County Main Jail by explaining the following:

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

1. How do you post bail for an inmate at the Sacramento Main Jail?

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

Bail bonds ss
Bail bonds are the most common way to bail someone out of jail

If the defendant attends all of his/her 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.

After an inmate has been booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail, his/her bail will be set according to the Sacramento County bail schedule and based on the crime(s) for which the inmate was arrested.

You may post bail for an inmate at the Jail's cashier's office 24 hours a day / 7 days a week with the daily exception of 6:00am to 8:00am and 6:00pm to 8:00pm.  The Sacramento Main Jail accepts three forms of bail: cash bail, cashier's checks and bail bonds, all of which are discussed in detail in our article "How to Post Bail in California".

1.1. Cash bail

"Cash" bail is just  If you post cash bail, you must pay the entire bail amount.  When you do, the inmate will be released pending his/her arraignment.

If the inmate attends all of his/her court appearances, the bail will be returned at the conclusion of the criminal case (minus a small administrative fee).  However, if the inmate does not attend all of those appearances, he/she forfeits that money to the court.

1.2. Cashier's check

Cashier's checks are a type of cash bail.  This means that if you choose to post a cashier's check, you must also post the entire bail amount.  Checks must be bank-drawn and made payable to the Sacramento County Superior Court.  They must also include the name and booking number of the inmate.

The inmate's release could take a while to secure with a cashier's check, since the Jail will not release an inmate until it can verify the funds.  This means that if you post a cashier's check after banking hours or on the weekend, the inmate may still have to wait quite some time before being released.

1.3. Bail bonds

Because most people don't have the money to post full cash bail, bail bonds are the most common way to bail someone out of jail.  When you use a bail bond, you are only required to pay a nonrefundable maximum of 10% of the total bond...that is, assuming that the inmate attends all of his/her court appearances.

You obtain a bail bond from a bail bondsman (aka a bail agent).  If the defendant makes all of his/her court appearances, you pay nothing on top of the 10%, but you do not get that 10% 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.

Local bail bondsmen advertise via the Internet and in the phone book.  Make sure you verify the bondsman's license, and retain copies of any documents for your records.

∗NOTE:  After you post bail, you should immediately consult with one of our experienced Sacramento criminal defense attorneys who can help you schedule a bail hearing to hopefully reduce or even waive the inmate's bail.  One of our savvy local attorneys can also review the case to help develop the most comprehensive legal defense to help your loved one fight his/her charges.

2. How to Get Inmate Information

In order to obtain information about an inmate incarcerated at the Sacramento Main Jail, you may call the facility directly at (916) 874-6752, or you may visit the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department inmate information website.

You must provide the inmate's full name and date of birth before a deputy will give you information about a specific inmate.

If you would like case information on an inmate, such as an upcoming date for his/her

you may visit the Sacramento County Case Information website.

3. How to Contact an Inmate at the Sacramento County Main Jail

When inmates are booked into the Sacramento Jail, they are entitled to make one free local outgoing telephone call to let someone know where they are.  Beyond that, all phone calls must be collect or placed with a prepaid calling account.  Inmates are not allowed to receive incoming calls.

If you would like to help fund an inmate prepaid calling account, you may go online to ICSolutions or call them at (888) 506-8407 to create or add to a prepaid collect caller account.

If you have a loved one incarcerated in the Sacramento Main Jail, you may want to contact your local telephone carrier to make sure that collect calls are not blocked on your telephone plan.

The good news is that contact with inmates at the Sacramento Jail 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.

4. The Sacramento County Main Jail's Visiting Hours and Policies

With little exception, inmates at the Main Jail are permitted to have friends and family visit them at the facility.

4.1. Visiting hours

visiting hours written on chalk board
Visiting hours take place every day between 7:45am and 3:00pm and from 5:00pm until 11:00pm

Inmates are allowed to have two 45-minute visits per week.  Visiting hours take place every day between 7:45am and 3:00pm and from 5:00pm until 11:00pm, starting every hour on the hour.  Visitors must register an hour before they wish to visit.

Visits are limited to three people at a time (including children and infants).

Attorneys and members of the clergy are not bound by these hours and are permitted to visit inmates 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.

4.2. Visitor rules / regulations

Upon entering the facility, visitors are subject to a search of their person and property.  No personal belongings will be allowed into the Jail.  In fact, the only items that will be permitted in the visiting area are keys, a small wallet and a valid identification 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.

Persons who have been released from the Main Jail or from Rio Cosumnes Correctional Facility within 30 days are prohibited from visiting inmates without prior consent from the Jail Commander or watch supervisor.  The same rules apply to anyone who has been previously convicted of a felony and confined in any California state prison.

All visitors must comply with the Jail's dress code.  If they do not, they will be denied entrance into the facility.  The following clothing is not permitted:

  • tube tops, tank tops with thin straps, backless or sleeveless tops,
  • midriff or cutoff shirts or bathing tops,
  • see through mesh material,
  • short shorts or micro mini-skirts, and/or
  • any clothing that is excessively provocative or promotes
    • violence,
    • hate,
    • drugs,
    • profanity,
    • sex, or
    • gangs.

5. Rules and Regulations Regarding Mail Correspondence

All mail must comply with the rules and regulations outlined 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.

Send all mail to

Inmate's Name, "X"-reference number, Housing Location
Sacramento County Main Jail
651 "I" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814


Doe, John X-1234567, 6W303
Sacramento County Main Jail
651 "I" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Remember to include a complete, legible return address on the envelope - if you do not, the mail will be rejected or returned.  Envelopes displaying drawings will also be rejected.

5.1. Prohibited items

Items that aren't necessarily illegal but that are prohibited include (but are not limited to):

  • food,
  • cosmetic products,
  • board games, CDs, DVDs or tapes,
  • clothing,
  • stationary, blank envelopes, padded envelopes, envelopes with metal clasps, paper clips, staples, pencils, pens, glitter, stickers, postage stamps, glued or gummed labels, bubble wrap, plastic, cellophane tape or any type of tape on a letter, or envelopes with gang or suggestive drawings/art work,
  • any type of cash, checks, etc. other than money orders that are completely filled out with the inmate's full name "X"-reference number, housing location and the purchaser's full name and address,
  • musical, plastic or blank greeting/post cards larger than 6"x9",
  • "Polaroid" photographs, photos larger than 4" x 6", photos that are pornographic, nude, suggestive, or that depict gangs or gang activity,
  • rosary beads, balloons, string bracelets or other jewelry items,
  • lottery tickets,
  • identification cards or pre-paid telephone cards, or
  • any item that may compromise the security of the Main Jail.

5.2. Regarding books/magazines

You can send up to five (5) paperback books, newspapers or magazines to an inmate housed at the Sacramento County Main Jail.  Inmates are only allowed to possess five (5) of these items at any given time.  Hardcover books will not be delivered.

Books, magazines and newspapers must be mailed directly from the publisher or through a reputable online service such as or  Any of these items that are mailed from a book store or an individual will be rejected.

And books that contain pictures relating to

  • gangs,
  • drugs,
  • pornography,
  • nudity,
  • obscenity, or

material that tends to incite

  • murder,
  • arson,
  • riot, or
  • racism

will also be rejected.

5.3. Care packages

Even though you are personally prohibited from sending certain items (such as food or stationary supplies), you can have these types of items sent via a commissary care-package.  The Sacramento County Jail Commissary offers in-jail and online care packages through its supplier ICare.

ICare gift services allows friends and family to send care packages to their loved ones.  ICare delivers packages on Saturdays and Sundays to the Jail, depending on exactly where the inmate is housed.  To ensure delivery, place your order by midnight on Wednesday.

Please know that ICare gift services provides the only option for sending 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.

person holding a few dollar bills
Inmates at the Sacramento County Main Jail are allowed to have in-house money accounts to make purchases at the Jail's commissary

6. How to Put Money "On the Books" for an Inmate at the Sacramento Jail

Inmates at the Sacramento County Main Jail are allowed to have in-house money accounts to make purchases at the Jail's commissary.  Such purchases may include snacks, drinks, phone cards, cosmetics or hygiene items and writing materials.

Whatever money is in the inmate's possession at the time of booking will be placed into his/her account (as long as it was not stored as evidence relating to the arrest).  And in addition to this money, almost anyone else may deposit money into an inmate's account in person or by mail...a process known as putting money "on the books".

The exception to this rule applies to anyone who has been detained in the Main Jail or Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center within 30 days.  These individuals are prohibited from making deposits into inmate accounts.

If you choose to deposit money in person, you may do so at the Jail's cashier's office 7 days a week from 8:00am to 12:00pm, from 1:00pm to 6:00pm, and from 8:00pm to 11:00pm.

As long as you have a valid I.D. card (discussed above under Section 4.2. Visitor rules/regulations), you may personally deposit cash, a cashier's check, a money order or use an ATM card (personal checks will not be accepted).  Money orders and cashier's checks must be payable to the inmate (according to the exact name under which he/she was booked) and must include his/her "X"-reference number.

Deposit slips which must accompany all transactions are located in the Jail front lobby.  The cashier will not provide change, so make sure that checks and money orders are made out for the exact amount you wish to deposit.

If you wish to mail money, you may only mail in cashier's checks or money orders that comply with the mail rules and regulations described above in Section 5.

If the Jail isn't conveniently located and/or mailing a money order or cashier's check is too inconvenient, there are a few companies that allow you to deposit money into an inmate's account from their own locations.

∗Note, each of these companies charges a fee for their services.

ACE Cash Express - You may deposit money for an inmate at any ACE office as long as you pay in cash and have the inmate's "X"-reference number.

Western Union - Similarly, you may send money to an inmate from any Western Union office as long as you have the inmate's name, "X"-reference number and Sacramento County Sheriff's I.D. code which is SSIT.

Touchpay Direct - This company allows you to place money "on the books" for an inmate over the phone at (866) 232-1899 or via the Internet on their homepage.  Here, too, you will need the inmate's name, "X"-reference number and the Sacramento County Main Jail's facility number which is 257501.

7. The Procedures for "Return of Property"

Once an inmate is booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail, his/her clothing and other personal property are collected and stored.  This property is generally returned to the inmate once he/she is released.  If, however, an inmate wishes to release his/her property to another person, he/she must simply sign a release of property form.

Property release forms are available at the Jail lobby at the registration table or at the front counter.  If an inmate has designated you to pick up his/her property, you must have a valid California driver's license or valid California I.D. card, as these are the only two forms of identification that will be accepted for property release.

Once you have submitted the form to an officer at the public counter, you must wait for the property to be delivered.  All property (with the exception of clothing) will be released, not just portions of it.  The time that it takes to complete this process will vary depending on how crowded the Jail is at the time of the request.

8. Inmate Services

The Sacramento County Main Jail offers a variety of services to its inmates.  Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • mental health counseling,
  • religious services,
  • drug and/or alcohol counseling and meetings,
  • anger management,
  • domestic violence counseling,
  • 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, and
  • work programs.

9. Sacramento County Sheriff's Work Release Program

Defendants who

  1. are sentenced to less than 60 days jail,
  2. were convicted of nonviolent misdemeanor crimes,
  3. receive the sentencing judge's approval, and
  4. meet the eligibility requirements of the program

may participate in the County's inmate work program in lieu of incarceration.

As an alternative to traditional jail, this program offers low-risk offenders the opportunity to serve their sentences by performing community labor in lieu of jail.  Participants pay an $80 application fee and $40 a day to participate.

They perform their community labor from 7:45am until 3:00pm and are then free to go home at night before they must report back for duty.

Participants are carefully screened by the courts and probation department prior to being accepted into the program.  For more information about this program, call (916) 874-1417.

Call us for help...

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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 Sacramento criminal defense attorneys' offices are located at 455 Capitol Mall, Suite 604, Sacramento, CA 95814.  Our telephone number is (916) 391-6500.  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, the San Francisco Bay area (which includes Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose), and several nearby cities.

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The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

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