The Orange County Central Jail Complex (CJX) Orange, CA


exterior of orange county central jail
The Orange County Central Jail Complex

The Orange County Central Jail Complex (CJX)...operated by the California Orange County Sheriff's comprised of four separate bureaus that are inter-connected by a series of tunnels and corridors.  These include

  • the Central Men's Jail,
  • the Central Women's Jail,
  • the Intake Release Center (IRC), and
  • the Transportation Bureau.

The Central Men's Jail is a traditional cell-block and dormitory-style facility that

  1. temporarily houses arrestees until they

    • post bail,
    • are released on their own recognizance (known as an O.R. release),
    • appear for their arraignment, or
    • go to trial, and
  2. houses convicted maximum security defendants who have been sentenced to incarceration.

The Central Women's Jail was actually closed in 2010.  It may reopen later this year or next, but there is no specific timeframe for doing so.  Currently, female inmates are housed at the James A. Musick Jail.

The Intake Release Center is where inmates are booked before they are placed within one of the above bureaus or are transferred to a different Orange County correctional facility such as the Theo Lacy Jail or the James A. Musick Jail.

The IRC also houses male and female inmates who suffer from severe mental or physical medical issues.

Finally, the Transportation Bureau is responsible for transporting inmates to court, work sites, other correctional facilities and hospitals when necessary.

The Orange County Central Jail Complex is located at

550 N. Flower St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703
(714) 647-4666

In this article, our Santa Ana criminal defense attorneys1 provide information about the Orange County Central Jail Complex by addressing the following:

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 Orange County Central Jail Complex

Bail for the CJX is set according to the Orange County Bail Schedule and is determined based on the crime(s) for which the inmate was arrested.

"Bail" refers to the money that the inmate (or someone on the inmate's behalf) pays to assure the arresting agency and court that the inmate will make his/her court appearances after being released from jail.

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, the inmate forfeits that money to the court.

If you wish to bail someone out of the Orange County Central Jail Complex, you may do so 24 hours a day / 7 days a week directly at the facility's Intake Release Center.  Because of the size of this complex, this process can take an average of six (6) to eight (8) hours.

To find out the amount of bail that has been set for an inmate, you may call the Sheriff's records' department at (714) 935-6940.

The Intake Release Center accepts the following forms of bail:

  • Cash (If you pay "or post" cash bail, you must pay the full amount),
  • Cashier's checks (If you pay with a cashier's check, it, too, must be for the full amount.  It must be on a California bank-drawn check payable to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.  Once the jail verifies the funds, the inmate will be released),
  • Personal checks (Make your check payable to the Orange County Superior Court.  The maximum amount that you can write a check for is $7,500.  Be sure that the check corresponds with the issuer's driver's license or California identification card and that it is a California bank check),
  • Traveler's checks (Traveler's checks should be payable to the Orange County Sheriff's Department and will only be accepted if signed in the presence of a cashier at the cashier's office at the time you are posting bail),
  • Money orders (Money orders - issued from any state - should be payable to the Orange County Sheriff's Department and must be for the exact bail amount), and
  • Bail bonds (Bail bonds are the most common way to post bail, as they only require you to pay a nonrefundable maximum of 10% of the total bond.  The catch is that if the inmate doesn't make all of his/her court appearances, you will be liable for repaying the bondsman the full bail amount.  You can search for a bail bondsman via the Internet or in the phone book.  Make sure you ask for the bondsman's license for verification.  You should also request copies of all documents and maintain them for your records).

∗NOTE:  After you post bail, you should immediately consult with one of our local Orange County criminal defense attorneys.  Not only can we help create the most effective defense to help clear your loved one of his/her charges, but we can schedule a bail hearing to potentially reduce or even waive the inmate's bail.

And a word of caution - the Orange County Jail does not permit you to combine checks, money orders and cash to make a bail payment.  You must post bail using only one type of payment.

2. How to Get Inmate Information

If you wish to obtain information about an inmate at the Orange County Central Jail Complex, you can

Before you will be given information, you must know the inmate's full name and his/her date of birth.

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

you may visit the Orange County case information website.

3. How to Contact an Inmate at the Central Jail Complex

Inmates at the Orange County Central Jail Complex are allowed to make one free outgoing phone call when they arrive at the facility.  Beyond that, inmates are only allowed to place outgoing phone calls that are either collect or made with a calling card.

If you wish to buy a calling card for an inmate, you may send the inmate money in accordance with the policies set forth under Section 6. How to Put Money "On the Books" At the Orange County Central Jail so that he/she can purchase one at the Jail's commissary,

If you have a loved one in this Jail, you may want to contact your local telephone company to ensure that collect and calling card calls are not blocked on your telephone plan.

Inmates are not allowed to receive incoming calls.  You may, however, opt to visit an inmate in person or engage in mail correspondence.  Both of these options are discussed in the two sections that follow.

4. The Orange County Central Jail Complex's Visiting Hours and Policies

The Inmate Release Center and Central Men's Jail hold visiting hours Friday through Sunday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.  All visits are actually conducted in the IRC.

Specific visiting hours vary, depending on

  1. whether the inmate is housed at IRC or Men's Central, and
  2. the specific level of security assigned to a particular inmate.

To find out the exact visiting hours, you can call the Jail directly at (714) 647-4666 or access them online on the CJX visiting hours website.

Inmates are allowed one 30-minute visit per day from a maximum of two adults and one child under 5.  Visits take place on a first-come, first-served basis, so the Jail urges visitors to coordinate visits with other loved ones to avoid a situation where multiple visitors arrive to visit the same inmate at different times.  Should this happen, the second visitor will be turned away.

Attorneys and members of the clergy are not bound by these hours and have unrestricted access to inmates.

4.1. Rules and Restrictions

The only items visitors are allowed to bring into the visiting area are identification and keys (with the exception of certain necessities for those bringing babies into the facility).  Valid identification consists of 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.

In addition, visitors must not bring any

  • food,
  • drinks,
  • cigarettes,
  • matches,
  • lighters,
  • cell phones, or
  • anything else deemed "inappropriate" for a jail visit.

Anyone wearing offensive or inappropriate clothing may be denied entry, as will anyone who is disruptive, intoxicated or poses a security threat.  And on that note, anyone found in violation of any law will be subject to arrest.

5. Rules and Regulations Regarding
Mail Correspondence

Inmates at the Orange County Central Jail Complex are allowed to send and receive an unlimited number of letters each day.  However...for security reasons...all incoming and outgoing mail is subject to search prior to being delivered or posted.

If you wish to send mail to an inmate at CJX, address it to

[Inmate's name and booking number]
550 N. Flower St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703

Be sure to include a return address because, if you do not, your mail will not be delivered.  Similarly, envelopes with any unnecessary writings, markings or drawings will be rejected.

All mail must comply with the facility's rules and regulations below.

5.1. Acceptable mail items

  • Money orders made payable to the Orange County Sheriff's Department that include the inmate's full name and booking number,
  • up to ten (10) pages of photocopied/reproduced or printed material,
  • up to ten (10) photos that are 8x10 or smaller (as long as they do not depict any nudity or sexually suggestive matter), and
  • new paperback reading materials that are sent directly from a publishing company or distributor (,, etc.)  ∗Each inmate at the Orange County Jail may have up to five (5) books at any given time.

5.2. Unacceptable mail items

You are prohibited from sending

  • anything that can't go through an inspection without being damaged,
  • any item that contains foil, metal, glass, wood, hard plastic, rubber or any illegal substance,
  • maps, travel brochures, calendars or posters,
  • cash, credit cards, checkbooks, personal or payroll checks,
  • food,
  • clothing, hygiene items or other personal property,
  • padded envelopes, or
  • any item that an inmate can buy from the Jail's commissary (many of which can be viewed by clicking here).

Prohibited mail will not be delivered to the inmate.

6. How to Put Money "On the Books" At the Orange County Central Jail

Putting money "on the books" is a procedure that conveniently offers family members or friends of inmates at the CJX the opportunity to deposit money into an inmate's in-house bank account.  Any cash that the inmate had at the time of booking will also be deposited into this account unless the money was confiscated by the arresting agency as evidence of a crime.

This account allows inmates to purchase items that are available at the commissary, such as food, drinks, games, and cosmetics while they are incarcerated at this facility.

If you wish to "put money on the books", you may do so with cash, a government check or a money order.  No other forms of payment will be accepted.  Each inmate is allowed to have a maximum of $500 in his/her account at any one time.

If you choose to deposit money in person, you may do so at either

  • the Central Jail's cashier's office 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, or
  • the Theo Lacy Jail's cashier's office Monday through Thursday from 6:30pm to 1:30am or Friday through Sunday from 8:00am to 1:30am,

depending on which location is more convenient for you. Theo Lacy is located at

501 The City Drive South
Orange, CA 92868

∗In-person deposits must be made with cash or a money order payable in U.S. dollars to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.  Money orders must include the inmate's name and booking number on the reference line.

You can alternatively choose to mail an inmate money.  If you choose to deposit money via the mail, you may send a money order that adheres to the specifications above, or you may mail a government check.   And be sure to comply with the additional rules and regulations that pertain to mail described above under Section 5. Rules and Regulations Regarding Mail Correspondence.

Regardless of whether you choose to make an in-person or mail deposit, funds are available for the inmate's use immediately after they are placed in the inmate's account.

7. Inmate Services

The Orange County Jail Complex offers its inmates a variety of services.  Some of these include:

  • television access,
  • outdoor recreation,
  • access to local newspapers,
  • a commissary,
  • medical and dental care,
  • religious services (conducted by chaplains from a wide variety of religious denominations),
  • vocational and educational programs,
  • substance abuse treatment, and
  • the opportunity to work in the Jail's kitchen or other facilities to earn "work-time" credits to reduce their sentence.
8. Procedures Regarding the Return of Property at Orange County Central

When inmates are taken to the Orange County Central Jail Complex, any property they have at the time of arrest is collected and stored.  This property is typically stored until the inmate is released.  However, an inmate may designate a friend/family member to collect it on his/her behalf.

If you know that an inmate would like you to pick up his/her property, you can fill out a property release form at a regular visit.  A staff member will have the inmate sign the form, and then you will be able to retrieve his/her property.  This arrangement does not have to be made ahead of time.

Clothing will not be released unless you provide an exchange.

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 Santa Ana criminal defense attorneys have a local law office located at 500 North State College Blvd., Suite 1100, Orange, CA 92868.  Our telephone number is (714) 288-9455.  In addition, our Orange County criminal defense attorneys serve the areas of Newport Beach, Fullerton, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Anaheim and Westminster.  And our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers have local law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, and Whittier.

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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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