California Jails

Jail BuildingCalifornia Jail System

The California jail system goes about preventing violence in its facilities in a different way than most other states do. Most state and county jails separate inmates based on ethnicity, race, and sexual orientation. The reasoning is that these issues are major factors to jail violence so by separating the inmates, there is fewer violent confrontations.

Many jails in the California jail system are dealing with serious overcrowding. This presents a lot of problems for officers in the jails such as increased inmate violence. It creates a vast array of opportunities for the inmates, however, who are allowed to serve shorter sentences than they would otherwise. In LA County Jail, for example, it is reported that the inmates serve about 10 percent of their sentence on average because of the overcrowding issues.

County jail inmates

The county jails in the California jail system normally house inmates who are doing less than a year and have been charged with misdemeanors.

The county jails in California have been assigned huge responsibilities by the state to handle corrections prisoners – including assuming oversight duties of many new types of offenders and parolees not previously housed in county jails. Since October 2011, local jails have been tasked with housing most non-violent, non-serious, non-sexual felons and parole violators. Both types of offenders now go to county jail rather than going to state prison.

A diverse number of jail facilities

Included in the different types of county jails are holding facilities for people accused of a crime who could post bail and be released, and temporary and long-term holding facilities, facilities. Long-term facilities are operated in all California counties except Alpine County. These facilities house most of the state’s inmates.

Prior to October 2011, the maximum stay in county jail was one year. Now that the county jails are hosing lower-level felons, this has changed – there is no limit on the number of years that these offenders may have to serve.

Men make up the majority of the county jails populations. More than 62 percent of the inmates in county jails are either waiting to stand trial, and have not been able to bond out, or are waiting to be sentenced.

County jail systems face crowding problems

As of September 2012, the average daily jail population was about 3,954 inmates over the state’s rated capacity. Twenty-one counties had an average daily population greater than their rated capacity. In 18 counties, there is a court-ordered population limit for in operation for at least one jail in their county. To address these overcrowding problems, counties released 7,050 pre-sentence inmates and 5,700 sentenced inmates in September 2012; up to 410 and 2,119 inmates, respectively, from September 2011.

The state is providing assistance

There has been $1.7 billion made available for jail expansion by the state. Twenty-one counties have taken advantage of the allocation and have added 10,926 new jail beds to the system after being awarded grants to construct or expand county facilities. The Legislative Analyst’s Office has stated that additional funding will be provided for the construction of up to 3,800 more jail beds. Since the construction costs of new jail space account for less than 10 percent of the total cost of jail over its lifetime, the counties will have to bear the largest share of the financial burden of these expansions. It is the prospect of these costs down the road that has led counties to strengthen their efforts to seek alternatives to putting people in jail.

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Auburn Jail
California Institution for Men
California Institution for Women
Chula Vista South Bay Detention Facility
Colusa Jail
Fairfield Jail
Fresno Jail
George F. Bailey Detention Facility
Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center
Huntington Beach Jail
James A. Musick Facility
Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility
Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility
Lodi Jail
Los Angeles Century Regional Detention Facility
Los Angeles Men's Central Jail
Martinez Jail
Marysville Jail
Merced Jail
Modesto Jail
Oakland Jail
Orange County Central Men's Jail
Orange County Central Women's Jail
Orange County Intake/Release Center
Oroville Jail
Placerville Jail
Pomona Jail
Redwood City Jail
Robert Presley Detention Center
Sacramento Jail
Salinas Jail
San Bernardino Central Detention Center
San Diego Central Jail
San Francisco Jail
San Jose Jail
San Rafael Jail
Santa Cruz Jail
Santa Rosa Jail
Shasta Jail
Southwest Detention Center
Stockton Jail
Theo Lacy Facility
Visalia Jail
Vista Detention Facility
West Valley Detention Center
Woodland Jail
Yuba City Jail


Published by Jose Espinoza, ,