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How to Deposit Money For an Inmate in LA

Hopefully, you will never need to know how to deposit money for an inmate in Los Angeles county. But if you are one of the unfortunate ones that need this information, read on.

One way you can deposit money is to visit the inmate during normal visiting hours and there will be a way to deposit money there. In the old days, it was called a “wet 40,” because the limit was $40 and they would wash it to remove any drugs before giving the wet money to the inmate.  But that was back in the day when females went to Sybil Brand. These days, the money goes into a computer and the inmate no longer receives the actual cash, but instead has an “account” with the county.

However, there are 2 downsides to depositing money in this way.

First of all, you have to have a valid photo ID. Valid ID means not expired. Also, they may check your ID to see if you have any outstanding warrants. So if you are not squeaky clean, visiting an inmate is not a good idea. Of course, you can go there and just deposit the money without visiting, but Wayside and other prisons can be very far to drive for many people.

The second problem is just the long wait. You have to get there early in the morning and wait to check-in, then wait for the bus, then be taken to the section they’re in, then wait again until the inmate comes out to the talking area. The lines are like at Disneyland except there are no rides at the end. This process pretty much blows your entire Saturday day, or you can take a day off from work during the week.

But I digress.

If you want to avoid all this waiting and risk of being arrested, there’s now a 24 hour method to deposit money.

First, you need the inmates booking number. If you don’t have it, you need his/her full name and date of birth. If you don’t have that, you don’t know them well enough to be depositing money for them.

You can obtain the booking number by going to the LASD inmate information center website at:

Here, enter the name and date of birth to get the inmate number.

If you don’t have access to the Internet, you can call the Inmate Information line at 213-473-6100. You will need the inmates’ complete name, birth date and date of arrest. The operator will provide the inmate’s booking number,  jail housing location, next scheduled court date and the bail amount. But how are you reading this article if you… never mind.

Once you have the booking number, go to the “Inmate Reception Center” (IRC) in Downtown Los Angeles at:

450 Bauchet Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012


This place used to be closed at 11pm but now apparently they are open 24 hours a day because I went there at 3am. Not only was it open, there were not one, but 2 cashiers available. The cashier is on the second floor. You can also call the cashier’s office at the IRC at 213-893-5875 if you have any questions. Bring cash.

First, wait behind the “red and white” line, even if there is nobody there. The cashiers there seem to like to follow the rules. Once called to the window, obtain and deposit slip and fill it out with all the required information, including your name. Next, wait behind the line again until called. When called, give the cashier the deposit slip and the cash. They will give you a computer generated receipt.

You are done.

There is one small problem however. The inmate is not notified in any way that the money was deposited. So if you are not in touch with their attorney, or have not visited them, they will not know the money is there unless it was pre-planned. You’d think the inmate could get a twitter or SMS message. Oh, I guess not.

Some other things to remember. Do not talk to other people there, especially at 3am. Do not wake the homeless man sleeping on the bench, even if his cell phone is ringing. Do not solicit anyone, a prostitute or otherwise. Do not argue with the cashier in any way whatsoever, even if what they tell you seems retarded to you.

Lastly, do not use the bathroom there. You can’t really see it in the picture below but it looked like somebody tried to take a shower from the sink and there’s about a centimeter of water everywhere, along with a bunch of jumpsuits the inmates wear while in the holding area. I guess the jumpsuits are free for the taking but I left them there.


Now that you know the trick, depositing money is easy and convenient. Enjoy.

Update May 2014:
Unfortunately, I’m having to deposit money for another inmate again. However, this time, I found out that you can simply use your credit card and do it online. First, find your inmate booking number:
You only need their full name without their birthdate to do the search. When you see a list of possible matches, click on the booking number. Write this number down in case you need it for later. You will then see a list of all the charges and in the upper left corner, there is a button labeled, “Deposit Money For This Inmate.”
Next, follow the instructions and fill out the credit card information.

Update February 2015:
As of this month, they no longer take credit cards deposits online and there doesn’t seem to be any plans to bring it back for now. So you will have to go back to depositing cash downtown. I was just there and they told me it is not open 24 hours, and is closed from 11pm to 12:30am every night.


  1. Jeez, they treat the inmates as if they are common criminals. Oh, wait…

    Seriously, it's an interesting system. Did you know you can mail money to inmates in state prison? But only in the form of a Bank Check or Postal Money Order. You send it to a special P.O. Box and they credit it to the inmate's account. If the inmate owes restitution, then a percentage is deducted before they are given the remainder. (I think it's 30%.)

    • I didn't know about that. It's getting easier and easier to deposit money for inmates.

      But until I can use paypal and my cellphone, it's not Prison 2.0 yet.

  2. The reason those particular disposable jump suits are left in the restroom is because inmates that were housed in the jail the night before who go to court from the jail and subsequently release by the court walk straight out of the court house and return to the Inmate Reception Center to claim their clothing, property and money.

  3. They do not notify the inmate of any funds but they do hold the funds and if the inmate is arrested again then the funds are transferred to them….yet they are still not notified of any available funds. So make sure you let your person in custody know that you’re going to or have deposited money for them.

    Also, keep the receipt bc the cashier will not be able to help locate any money deposited without a receipt #. With the receipt number they will tell you how much was deposited, when, and even tell you when and how much the inmate used which I think is kinda cool.

  4. Selina Ramirez

    I used a website called JailBread.com to make a deposit online. It was fast and easy to use. So if you live out of state like me, or just don’t want the hassle of driving down to the jail to make a deposit, it’s a great option.

    • What is the process to use this site? My son is at Men’s Central Jail. Thanks in advance and I hope you see this.

    • I see that the link currently does not work. I assume they are updating their website but perhaps there is a new site.

  5. What time does the cashier in Lynnwood open and close