The Ventura County Main Jail was opened in 1980 and is both a pre-trial detention center and county jail. It holds both male and female defendants awaiting their arraignment or trial as well as those inmates who have been found guilty and been sentenced to county jail. This includes inmates convicted of misdemeanors and felonies. Only female inmates are housed exclusively at the pre-trial detention center. Male inmates may be held either at the Todd Road Jail or the East County Jail.
The facility is certified for a maximum housing capacity of 823 inmates, though the population generally fluctuates at just under 900.
Traditional bail and the procedures for imposing it by the court and for friends, family or other representatives of the inmate to post it are still in effect despite recent legislation that will change the bail system. Beginning on October 1, 2019, inmates charged and being held on misdemeanor offenses will no longer be subject to any bail. Cash bail will also be eliminated for felony offenses to be replaced by a risk-assessment system that each of California’s 58 superior courts will be tasked with formulating.
Until then, the traditional system remains in place. Bail is essentially a form of guarantee that the defendant will appear in court on the next and all other scheduled court appearances by the payment of cash or a bail bond. The amount of bail is determined by the severity of the offense, the criminal record of the defendant, and the defendant’s ties to the community. It is generally assumed that the more severe the offense or length of or seriousness of the defendant’s criminal history, and the less community connections to the community, the more likely the defendant will present a flight risk. Consequently, the bail amount will be higher in such cases.
Many offenses have a pre-determined bail amount that anyone can review. Bail can be paid by any of the following methods:
- Payment by cash in full
- Credit card
- Money order
- Certified check
If you pay cash, present the exact amount as no change will be given. This can be done at any time and on any day at:
Venture County Main Jail, 800 South Victoria Avenue, Ventura, CA (805) 654-3335.
Credit cards are generally used for misdemeanor offenses since the bail amounts are lower than those imposed for felonies. You can do this online at https://www.govpaynow.com/gps/user/?plc=6404 or over the phone at (888) 604-7888. Be sure you have the inmate’s full name, booking number, and court case number. If you wish to pay online, the “Sheriff’s Pay Location Code” will be required, which is 6404.
For large bail amounts, most people will acquire a bond from a bail bondsman by paying 10% of the bail amount. If the bail is $10,000, you will pay the bondsman $1,000. This is a nonrefundable payment. In most cases, you will have to put up collateral such as real estate that covers the amount of the remaining bail. Should the inmate fail to appear at a scheduled court appearance and the court revokes the defendant’s bail, the person who posted the bail and provided the collateral will be required to pay the remaining bail amount to the bail agent.
Locating an Inmate
If you wish to find out if an individual has been incarcerated or is being held in the Ventura County Main Jail, you may do so via online at the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department inmate information site at http://www.vcsd.org/pr-inmate-information.php. Or you can call the Sheriff’s department at (805) 654-3335, which is accessible 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
You can visit an inmate at the Ventura jail twice per week, for 30-minutes per visit, and only on Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. You may be accompanied by one other adult or child. Minors must be accompanied by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian only. No one who had been booked into a Ventura County jail within one year of release is permitted to visit until one calendar year from their release has passed.
Visits are on a first-come, first-served basis. Check-ins are one hour prior to each session’s start time, but 2-hours before the afternoon session on Sundays.
Be aware that each housing unit may have different visiting hours so it is highly advised that you call the jail at (805) 654-3335 to ensure that the facility is open that day or if the hours have changed. Currently, the schedule for the various facility detention locations are:
8:30 am to 11:30 a.m.
- Sunday: None
- Wednesday: C.E.G
- Thursday: B.E, Special
- Saturday: A.F. WH
1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Sunday: B.G, Special
- Wednesday: F,B, 3MS. WH
- Thursday: A.G. SEG/3DS
- Saturday: C,E, 3MS
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Sunday: A,D,H, SEG/3DS
- Wednesday: D,H, SEG/3DS
- Thursday: C,F, 3MS, WH
- Saturday: D,H, Special
When you do come to visit, you must present the proper California or other government identification:
- California driver’s license
- California ID
- U.S. Passport
- Alien registration card
- U.S. military card
All visitors are subject to search. You are not permitted to bring anything to an inmate other than prescription eyeglasses that must be turned over to jail staff.
There are dress restrictions as well. No revealing clothing or dresswear that may be construed as provocative may be worn. It is entirely within the discretion of the jail staff as to whether your clothing fits this prohibition. This can include sandals, sheer clothing, strapless tops, midriff tops, or dresses or skirts deemed too short or revealing.
Further, you may not bring cigarettes, magazines, books, photos, or magazines, food, lighters, pens or pencils. No purses, wallets, backpacks, cameras, cellphones, or diaper bags. A diaper, baby bottle and blanket are permitted in the visiting area.
Inmates are not allowed to receive incoming calls. They are allowed to make certain free phone calls to contact an attorney, arrange for bail, or to inform family members of where they are being held. All other calls must be made collect or via prepaid account.
You can set up the prepaid account by calling Global Tel at (800) 483-8314, or by going online at www.globaltel*link. Have the inmate’s booking number and full name to open the account. You make pre-payments to the account by depositing $25 or $50 at a time.
An inmate can set up his/her own account but you will have to place money under the inmate’s name at the jail’s commissary. This is part of the money the inmate can use to buy food, snacks and other items. These accounts are only for inmates in the general population who are serving their sentences. If the inmate in only awaiting arraignment, then the inmate can only make collect calls.
Collecting or picking up an inmate’s property is relatively easy. When an inmate is brought to the jail, his/her clothing and property on their person is taken and stored. When the person is released, the property is returned to them.
If you wish to collect the inmate’s property, you can simply go the jail and ask a deputy for the property. The deputy merely has to obtain verbal authorization from the inmate to allow his/her property to be obtained by you. This process may take several hours.
There are strict procedures if you wish to correspond with an inmate. No mail in sealed envelopes is permitted. Instead, you can only send postcards that must be at least 4”x 6” and no larger than 6”x11”.
You can send the postcard by regular mail or by UPS or FedEx, or by simply depositing it at the jail in the lobby drop box. Be sure the postcard is properly addressed and has the inmate’s full name and booking number and addressed as follows:
Inmate name and booking number
The Ventura Pre-Trial Detention Facility
PO Box 6929
Ventura, CA 93006
Your return address on the postcard is required or it will not be delivered. Further, you may not mark up the postcard with crayons, paint, glitter, lipstick, or stains, or infuse it with perfume. Nude drawings or any symbols suggestive of gangs or gang activity, sexual activity, violence, or racism will not be delivered.
If you wish to send the inmate books or magazines, you may only do so via the publisher or online distributor such as Amazon or recognized online bookstore such as Random books or Barnes and Noble.
Inmates who wish to buy snacks, toothpaste, tooth brushes, brushes, shampoo, post cards, certain medicines, drinks, or prepaid calling cards will need to have an account at the jail commissary. Any money taken from the inmate when booked is included in the inmate’s account.
The Ventura County Jail uses the TouchPay system to establish money accounts at www.touchpayonline.com. You can set one up for the inmate at this online site or by calling them directly at (866) 232-1899. Your other option is to go directly to the jail to a kiosk where you can make deposits.
Another online deposit service is at www.connectnetworkcom/portal.
Deposits can be by cash at the kiosk, or by debit cards, credit card, or electronic check. Payments can be made 24-hours a day, 7-days per week. There is fee associated if you use the website or pay over the phone. Fees are only avoided if you make in-person deposits at a jail kiosk.
Inmates are permitted to make certain purchases using funds that are in their individual accounts. Products include snacks, drinks, medicines, hygiene products, art supplies, postcards and others.
Medical care is offered to inmates through on-site medical and mental health services that also includes substance abuse programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Medical personnel include physicians, nurses, psychiatrists and mental health workers. The staff handles chronic conditions such as diabetes and mental health issues. For more serious health conditions, inmates are transferred to the VCMC.
The jail has 18 cells for medically ill inmates and 2 cells for SPMI inmates, or those with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness. Approximately 42% of female inmates and 18% of male inmates exhibit mental health issues. 21% of female and 11% of male inmates are classified SPMI. Most mental health issues are associated with substance abuse.
Safety is always a concern in any prison population. There have been incidents of staff abusing inmates and of inmate-on-inmate assaults. Since the jail houses offenders who have committed violent crimes and inmates who exhibit and require psychiatric and other mental health services, there is a risk of an inmate being targeted or randomly chosen for assault.