San Francisco County Jail

The San Francisco County Jail consists of seven different jail facilities in various locations. Locations are specific to intake and release, classification, and housing; wiith five of the facilities being solely dedicated to housing inmates. The newest facility was opened in 1994 and houses two of the jails; one a direct supervision facility that is a national model for prisoner rehabilitation and the other the main intake and release facility for the City of San Francisco. The second is also praised for its architecture. The San Francisco Jail also has an entire floor to itself at the San Francisco General Hospital.

The jails house about 2,200 inmates each day, with a yearly booking of 55,000. When someone is arrested they are initially taken to the intake/release building of the jail system. Here they are booked and evaluated for any medical conditions. Minor medical treatments can be conducted on-site. If more intense medical treatment is needed, they are moved to the hospital jail facility. Once bail has been posted and cleared, an inmate is released immediately. Inmates can be held at the intake/release building for up to 24 hours before being moved to one of the several housing facilities. Women inmates are housed at facility number two, with male inmates held at the remaining facilities.

The San Francisco County Jail

When an inmate is arrested they are entitled to phone calls to let friends or family know of their whereabouts, request bail, or to contact an attorney. However, inmates cannot receive incoming calls. Those who know an inmate and expect to receive calls from them should contact their telephone provider to make sure collect and calling card calls are not blocked from their service, so that they may receive calls from the inmate.

Visiting hours take place on weekends and holidays at all facilities. Times may vary depending upon facility. Dependent upon their behavior most inmates are allowed to have visitors. All visitations are limited to 20-30 minutes, consisting of a maximum of three visitors. Some visits require pre-registration and others are offered on a walk-in basis. Check with the specific jail facility for more information. However, inmates in the intake/release facility are only allowed visits from their attorneys since they are only at the facility for 24 hours or less. Visitors should be prepared to show a valid form of identification, and should not carry weapons of any kind, drugs or alcohol, and they must be free of gang related materials or clothing.

All inmates are allowed to send and receive unlimited amounts of mail at the San Francisco County Jail. Books may even be sent to an inmate as long as the book is sent directly from the publisher and the publisher mails it through the United States Postal Service. Mail sent to inmates can consist of letters and photos, but cannot be gang-related, violent, or depict nudity. All mail is screened prior to being given to the inmate.

Having a friend, relative, or loved one in the San Francisco Jail can be quite disturbing and stressful. Knowing facts about the jail, how the jail process works, and how to visit or contact the inmate can help relieve some of the stress and disturbance during this time. With knowledge, patience and understanding this process can be made easier, and sometimes even quicker.

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