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Visiting Inmates At Men’s County Jail In Los Angeles


I’ve been visiting my clients at the Men’s County Jail and Wayside and Lynwood for the past twenty-five years, so I know the jail system pretty well. For many, many years it was very difficult to visit inmates – all kinds of issues – and I think to some degree that still exists as I post this. But there was a sweeping investigation of the Los Angeles jails a few years ago and that did help with some of the issues relating to seeing inmates and some of the things that the deputies in LA county do in order to make it very difficult to see inmates in LA county.

If you’re somebody who has a loved one, a friend or family member in LA county jail and you want to visit them, obviously you want to do a little bit of homework and legwork before you actually go to visit them. There are all kinds of visiting hours, rules – and be prepared to spend some time there because you never know what’s going to happen there. There can be floods at the jail, there can be lock-downs. All kinds of different issues tend to pop up there even for attorneys, but for the general public, forget about it, they will make you wait there as long as they want, and they really don’t care if it’s an inconvenience or a problem for you.

So, you probably want to coordinate your interview by going online to booking information – Los Angeles – the Sheriff’s Department – then you can identify where the person is. In other words, where they’re being housed in LA county and then figure out on the internet what the procedures are to see that person – have their booking number ready – and again, be prepared to spend some time there. It does take a while to visit somebody in LA county. Another thing you want to do is figure out which jail they are in and within that jail, which facility they’re in. If the case is in Men’s Central Jail downtown Los Angeles near Bouche Street, then there’s just really one place to go, you give them the booking number, they’re able to pull the person up and get them in to be visited. If, on the other hand, you’re going to go to Wayside which is out in Valencia, Castaic area at the Peter Pitchess Honor Ranch, that location has a number of different housing locations, so you’re going to want to have that information so that when you go there, you’re actually able to see your inmate and not be shut out and waste a trip down there.

Even if you go down there perfectly prepared you can still get shut out because if there’s a lock-down at the jail, they just turn everybody away and you have to come back another day. Why lock-downs occur is still a mystery to most, but usually, it’s because of some sort of a fight or some sort of an issue or disturbance within the jail, or some sort of a technical problem on the part of the Sheriffs that block somebody from seeing to see their loved one or family member.

What About Attorneys Seeing Inmates In Los Angeles County?

Attorneys obviously are given priority when it comes to seeing their clients and it’s much easier for an attorney to visit a client than it is for somebody from the general public. But speaking as an attorney having visited inmates in LA county for many years, I can tell you right now that it is not always easy to do. As I write this post I am waiting at the Men’s Central Jail to see one of my clients because there’s some sort of a flood right near the entrance where they let the attorneys in. And, of course, they have no other entrance somehow, so you just have to wait, and they just don’t care and there’s not much you can do about it. That FBI sting that they put against the Sheriffs was probably one of the only bodies or entities that could get to these guys and be able to make them do things the right way and not make people wait a long time or abuse their power, because the Sheriff’s Department definitely has a lot of power and can do a lot of things if they choose to.

So, the bottom line is the best way to see an inmate, get information and make sure that they’re safe and to have somebody talk to them is by way of an attorney. An attorney has a lot of different authority and somebody who knows what they’re doing and has been around the block is obviously going to be able to get into the jail, see the person and hopefully make that person feel better that they’ve got somebody on their side fighting for them and also appease the family and let the family know that the attorney has checked on the person, they’re okay, they’re doing well and somebody’s there to help them.

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About the Author

Named Top Los Angeles Criminal Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 criminal defense attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.

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