The Peter J. Pitchess Detention Center, also referred to as the Wayside Jail, is located in Castaic, California off of Highway 5 in the northern part of LA County and houses only male inmates. Originally built in 1938, it has undergone several changes and additions and currently has about 9000 inmates.
It is spread over 2,600 acres and is comprised of 4 facilities:
- North Facility–built in 1987, it holds up to 1,500 inmates but has no more than 500 since it is currently used for the overflow of inmates from other facilities. It was unofficially closed in 2015. It has 4 modules with each containing 4 dormitories, 8 disciplinary cells, a visiting area, medical office, main control room and 2 dorm control rooms. Each dorm has a sleeping and dining areas along with day room.
- East Facility–built in 1991, parole violators are incarcerated here while awaiting revocation hearings. It can hold up to 850 inmates
- South Facility–constructed in 1971, it houses 1,400 low to medium security level inmates. It has a firefighter training program for non-violent, non-sex crime related offenders
- North County Correctional–consisting of 5 jails, it is a high security facility. It was built in 1990 and can house up to 4,295 inmates though it is past capacity. It has 5 housing pods.
Each facility has separate staff and its own Unit Commander.
Bail is a process whereby a person arrested and detained or incarcerated may be released on the payment of a certain sum of money. Most crimes have bail amounts that are set forth in a bail schedule but these may be higher for individuals accused of serious offenses such as homicide or serious crimes involving firearms, have prior felony convictions, pose a danger to the community or are considered a flight risk.
Once the inmate’s court proceedings is resolved by plea agreement, verdict or dismissal, the cash is returned to the inmate. This does not include the funds you paid to the bail bondsman.
- Certified check on a California bank or credit union
- US Postal money order
- Bail bond
For any bail, you can pay cash for the entire amount owed. If doing so, have a valid, government-issued photo ID with you. This can be:
- Driver’s license
- California ID
- US passport
- Green card
- Foreign passport with supporting documents.
- Military card
Even with cash, it can take up to 6 hours for processing before the inmate is released.
Your certified check or money order is to be made out the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and include the inmate’s name and 7-digit booking number. Certified checks must be from a California bank or credit union. Only US Postal money orders are accepted.
Once you have the cash, check or money order, you can deposit it at the LA Inmate Reception area at 441 Bauchet Street, which is open 24 hours per day, every day of the week.
Bail bonds are obtained from a bail bondsman who can verify the amount of the bail. You will need some kind of collateral such as a car, house or other property of substantive value. You will pay 10% of the bail amount, which is nonrefundable. Bail bond companies can be found on the internet and are usually in close proximity to the jail or courthouse.
If the inmate for whom you posted bail or bond fails to appear at any mandatory court appearance, the court can forfeit the bail and you will lose the cash. Also, the bail bondsman will come after you for the bail that can be in the thousands of dollars.
When bail is posted, the inmate may be transferred to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility where he will be released. While using a bond may shorten the time for the inmate to be released, the process usually takes at least 4 hours.
You can locate an inmate by either going to the LA Sheriff website for Inmate Information Center or call the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department inmate information line at (213) 473-6080. Have the inmate’s full name and birth date and booking number if you know it. You will have to wait at least 2 hours after the inmate has been booked before his information will be available.
This information will contain:
- Inmate’s booking number
- Next court appearance
- Bail information
For additional information on the inmate’s pretrial hearing, trial date or sentencing, go to the LA County Court Information link.
Visiting hours at Pitchess are:
Saturday and Sunday: 8:00 am to 2:00 pm
Inmates may have one visit per day. Each visit is limited to 30-minutes.
You are advised to schedule a visit with the inmate by registering with the Inmate Visitation Scheduling Center and selecting an open slot since you risk not having an open spot if you arrive without an appointment. By going to this website, you can see if the inmate has visiting privileges and what open slots are available. When visiting, be sure to have your confirmation number from the website unless you are a walk-in. If you do walk-in without a slotted time, you may not receive a slot unless one is canceled.
Also, arrive at least one hour before your scheduled visit or your registered slot will be canceled.
Holiday visits are permitted on:
- New Year’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
Inmates are allowed one visit per visiting day with no more than 3 persons per visit, including any family members. Any visitor under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Additionally, all visitors must have a valid, government-issued photo ID which may be any of the following:
- California driver’s license
- California ID card
- US passport
- Foreign passport with supporting documents such as alien registration card or US visa
- US military card
- Consulate card from Mexico or Argentina
- School photo ID for children 14 to 17
You are not permitted to visit if you are of the following status:
- On formal probation
- Have an outstanding warrant
- Previously served time in a California state prison
You can still visit if you are on formal probation if you receive permission from the unit commander at the jail before you arrive and submit a completed Visiting Questionnaire for Probationers and Ex-Felons. All visitors are subject to a records check.
You are not permitted to bring anything to an inmate and you can be searched before you can visit the inmate. Be aware that your vehicle may be subject to a search. Also, please leave the following items behind and do not bring them into the visiting lobby:
- Cell phones
- Pads or other writing tablets
- Recording devices
- Weapons including knives or firearms regardless if you have a license to possess one
- Tobacco items
- Health products
- Lighters or matches
- Hand sanitizers with alcohol
These items should be left in your vehicle or may be stored at a locker at the jail.
Do not wear revealing clothing, short skirts, tube tops, strapless tops, bare midriffs, muscle shirts or sleeveless shirts. You must have a shirt and shoes. Provocative clothing in the opinion of the staff will bar you visiting the inmate. No clothing that is suggestive of gang affiliation or is indicative of drugs or violence is allowed or your visit will be denied.
Be aware that visiting hours may be suspended if there is a lock down or other emergency. Also, the inmate you are visiting may have lost visiting privileges for disciplinary reasons. Always check before you visit to see if the inmate has visiting privileges and if visits in general are allowed that day.
Inmates are not allowed incoming calls. They do get a free call upon booking at Wayside Jail but all subsequent calls can only be made via collect or by use of a prepaid calling card. You should ask your phone carrier if your plan allows for collect calls or use of a prepaid card.
Inmates can purchase prepaid calling cards at the commissary or you can assist the inmate in making calls by these methods:
- Deposit funds in the inmates in-house bank account so he can purchase one himself at the commissary
- Purchase one yourself at the jail commissary and have it sent to the inmate
- Visit Global Tel Link and go to Inmate Communications Solutions or call the company at (800) 483-8314 to set up an inmate account that he can use to call out
When entering Wayside Jail, inmates surrender any items in their possession including their clothes. Surrender of personal property includes vehicles if the inmate was arrested while driving one or if it was involved in the commission of a crime such as robbery, use as a getaway vehicle or in transporting drugs.
All items are inventoried and stored. When the inmate is released, these items are returned to the inmate. Inmates can designate another person to collect these items for them but must have a Property Release Form, which can be obtained at the check-in window at the Wayside Jail visiting window. The forms are processed at the Inmate Reception Center. Property other than motor vehicles may be retrieved between the hours of 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. The designated individual may have to wait 24-48 hours after submitting the form before the property may be collected.
If a vehicle needs to be retrieved, you or your designate must contact the arresting agency, such as the CHP or FBI. The department will advise you of where the vehicle is located. If it has been impounded, however, it will likely not be released depending on whether it was used as evidence in a crime or if it is awaiting a search for contraband or even DNA. Vehicles are often impounded for offenses such as vehicular manslaughter, transporting controlled substances or for DUI. You will need to contact an attorney regarding your options for retrieving it as it may be impounded for a specific time.
For information on inmate property, call (213) 473-6191.
You can deposit cash, certified check or money order in-person for the inmate’s in-house account at the cashier’s office at the LA Inmate Reception Center located at:
441 Bauchet Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Do not go to the Wayside Jail as they will not accept money for the inmate. For information, call the cashier’s office at (213) 893-5875. It is open everyday at all hours.
Mailed money orders or certified checks may not exceed $200. Mail them to:
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
P.O. Box 86164 Terminal Annex
Los Angeles, CA 90086-0164
Attn: Inmate Name, Booking Number
The Los Angeles Sheriffs Department’s Medical Services Bureau is the largest of its kind in the world. It has physicians, nurses, dental staff, pharmacies, radiology and labs that serve between 15,000 and 20,000 inmates in the county correctional system.
Mental and Physical Health
When brought to the Inmate Reception Center (IRC), the inmate is given a mental health screening. If your loved one is at a city jail and you are concerned about your loved one’s condition, contact the Watch Commander and let him know that your relative has mental illness issues and describe the condition and diagnosis. You can ask that the person be transferred to the County Jail IRC. Should your relative have severe mental health issues, ask that a “5150” hold be placed on the individual, which is a 3-day involuntary hold at a psychiatric facility. Medications are available at the hospital or the County IRC.
If your relative is an inmate with serious medical and/or mental health issues, you may send a fax with the information described below to:
Mental Health Services
If there are medical issues, then also send the same fax to:
Medical Services Bureau
Include the following information in your fax:
- Inmate’s name
- Birth date
- Booking number
- Location of inmate
- Name and contact information of psychiatrist
- Medications including dosage and when to be administered
- Side effects
- History of suicide or aggression with brief description of episodes
- Urgent medical conditions that may require immediate attention such as diabetes, heart problems or high blood pressure
- Name of treating physician and contact information to verify the inmate’s condition
- Ask that inmate sign a waiver of confidentiality or fax one if the inmate/relative has signed a previous one
The MCJ has a fully equipped hospital to treat most inmate illnesses and other medical and mental issues. Inmates with severe problems are transferred to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility for treatment.
Jails are obviously not pleasant places since they house violent and mentally ill inmates. The guards are under constant stress from attacks by inmates and having to deal with fights, complaints, stealing, drugs and non-cooperation. Still, it is not uncommon for guards to be overly aggressive toward certain inmates.
A 2015 article in Mother Jones magazine cited MCJ as one of the 10 worst jails or prisons in America while referring to an ACLU lawsuit that alleged numerous episodes of jail staff taunting inmates with homophobic slurs along with beatings and taserings. Inmate complaints were routinely dismissed as unfounded and injuries suffered by inmates were classified as unprovoked inmate-on-deputy assaults. There has been an ongoing FBI investigation into staff abuses. Sheriff Lee Baca has admitted that at least some of the reported staff assaults are
Pitchess Detention Facility–North
29320 The Old Road
Castaic, CA 90012
Pitchess Detention Facility–East
29310 The Old Road
Castaic, CA 90012
Pitchess Detention Facility–South
29330 The Old Road
Castaic, CA 90012
The Inmate Reception Center is at:
441 Bauchet Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
- Inmate Information: (213) 473-6100
- Inmate Booking Number: (213) 893-5327
- Cashier Office: (213) 473-6049
- Inmate Property: (213) 893-4428
- Release information: (213) 893-5347
- Medical Services: (213) 974-0149
- Visiting Lobby: (213) 974-4927
If you have been arrested and would like to learn more about how attorneys charge.
If you want to understand why its important to have an attorney represent you.
If you would like to discuss a pending case with an attorney contact the Aizman Law Firm at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.