Clicking on any of the San Mateo County or city facilities below will direct you to an information page with Inmate Search, Visitation, Mail, Phone, Email, Court cases, Most Wanted, Recent Arrests, Bail/Bond and more.
Understanding the Difference Between San Mateo County Jails and California Prisons
City Jails – City Jails in San Mateo County are run by a city or town municipality. In general, these are staffed and maintained by the local police department, however in a few of America’s largest cities that have their own city jails, such as Baltimore and New York City, the jails are run by a separate Department of Corrections. With few exceptions, such as those cities mentioned above, offenders that are arrested and locked up in a city jail in San Mateo County are only held for approximately 72 hours, where if they are to remain in jail, will be transferred to a San Mateo County jail where they will remain until their trial, or their sentence is completed in full.
County Jails – San Mateo County Jails are maintained and run by this county. Almost all county jails in America are staffed and managed by the county sheriff’s department. In a few states, such as in Kentucky, West Virginia and regional jails in Virginia and Ohio, they are run by a separate government organization. In Kentucky, the counties elect a Jailer every two years, who is responsible for managing the jail operations, like what a mayor or city manager does. You can get access to all the information you want about other neighboring county jails near San Mateo County by clicking on any of the counties on the map above. For a national directory of all county jails in the United States, go here.
San Mateo County Jail offenders, unless they are bailed or bonded out, or released on their own recognizance, will remain locked up until their trial. Once convicted and sentenced, as long as the sentence is under one year, offenders will do their time in a facility in San Mateo County.
Regional Jails – Regional Jails are staffed and managed by a separate division made up of board members from several cities, towns, and counties from a state. Regional jails are funded by the jurisdictions that have inmates in the regional jail and pay their share of the overall cost based upon the number of beds they have committed to.
State Prisons – State Prisons are run by California and paid for with taxes from California taxpayers. To be sent to a California State Prison, a person has to be convicted and sentenced in a court in San Mateo County to a period of time in excess of a year, all the way up to the rest of their life.
Federal Prisons – The United States has different type of federal prisons: The Bureau of Prisons (BOP), ICE Facilities (Immigration), Military Prisons, and jails that are run by various Native American tribes, although Native Americans convicted of major crimes on a reservation, do their time in the United States Bureau of Prisons, not a state prison in the state where their tribe is located. For a complete list of all the BOP facilities in the United States and information about them, go here.
Every San Mateo County Jail page linked to above will provide you with information regarding:
A list or search page of the inmates in custody, arrest reports, mugshots (if provided), criminal charges, court dates, how to communicate with them by phone, mail, remote video visitation, text and email (when available). The page will have links on how to send them money to purchase commissary, how to send them commissary care packs, how to rent them a tablet, how to bail or bond them out, and their release date, when available.
Unfortunately, not every City or San Mateo County Jail provides services like those mentioned above, and if you even want to know if a particular inmate is in custody, you may have to phone the jail for information, but if this is the case, we have the phone number you need to call to find out information about your inmate.