Alameda City Jail Sending Money
The information below provides complete instructions regarding the Alameda City Jail:
Follow these instructions exactly to help ensure that your inmate has access to commissary, and in some cases medical and bail money, as soon as possible.
How to Put Money on an Inmate Account in the Alameda City Jail
There are usually four options for putting money on an inmate's books:
Option 1 - Dropping Money at the Jail
Bring money to the jail in person.
Either the jail personnel will process the Inmate Account payment or you will use a self-serve kiosk in the lobbies that accepts cash, debit or credit cards.
Option 2 - Deposit Inmate Money Online
Alameda City Jail and others often use a private company to process all online deposits to an inmate's account. The company charges you a small fee for doing so, but the fee probably isn't as much as gas and parking would cost to take it to the jail in person.
Option 3 - Mail the Inmate Deposit to the Jail
Mailing a deposit takes more time to process than the other methods but can be done if you live too far away to bring it in person and you don't have a debit/credit card for online deposits. Never send cash. Always send a Money Order from the US Post Office, a reputable bank or Western Union.
Make the Money Order out to the inmate's name and put their Inmate ID# in memo section of the Money Order.
Call Alameda City Jail at to confirm the address to send the money order to and how they want it made out.
Failure to do this properly will delay your inmate getting his account credited and may require you to have to resubmit a second money order.
Call to ask facility personnel who to make the money order out to, and where to send it.
Option 4 - Make an Inmate Deposit over the Phone
Most of the online companies that provide deposit services will accept deposits over the phone with a debit or credit card.
To do this you will need the inmate's offender # (inmate ID #) and full legal name.
What can an Inmate Purchase through Commissary?
People who have never been to jail would be surprised by the large amount of candy, snacks, art supplies, playing cards, hygiene products and clothing that can be purchased through a jail's commissary.
The Alameda City Jail Commissary Instructions and Information can be found here. If you need more information contact the jail by calling .
Who Can Put Money in an Inmate's Account?
Anybody can contribute to an inmate's books or commissary fund as long as there isn't a no-contact order in place.
Because of the ability for family members and friends to deposit money online using a credit or debit card, jail inmates can now receive funds from anywhere in the world.
WHY DOES AN INMATE NEED MONEY IN THEIR ACCOUNT AT THE Alameda City Jail?
Since inmates are not allowed to possess cash money while in custody in the Alameda City Jail, the jail maintains a 'bank account' for the inmate to purchase products and services from their commissary (canteen) store.
Commissary funds allow inmates to purchase items such as personal hygiene products, snacks and stationery supplies from the jail store.
Inmates can use money from their account to purchase phone time credits or prepaid phone cards in order to make outside phone calls to friends and family members.
Many jails also allow an inmate to bail himself out of jail if he has the funds in his account. The bail amount is typically 10-15% of the bond amount set by the court.
Inmate accounts are also used to pay the co-payment for medication and visits to the jail's medical clinic should they become ill.
Medical Copays, Jail Fees and other Inmate Expenses
Many jails debit (charge) an inmate's commissary accounts for medical visits, any medications including over-the-counter pain reliever, jail stay fees, restitution, etc.
Taking this into consideration when deciding how much to deposit will ensure the inmate gets the amount you wanted him to have after things are deducted.
Sometimes an inmate's commissary money is used to purchase items to pay gambling debts or purchase prescription medicine from another inmate. If your inmate is spending more than $10.00 a day on commissary items, you are most likely paying for him or her to gamble or buy drugs.
Some inmates, specifically those who are targeted for being weak or are in jail for rape or child molestation, are forced to relinquish their commissary to avoid regular beatings from other inmates.
If you think your inmate is being targeted for violence or having their commissary taken to avoid beatings, contact the Alameda City Jail and ask to investigate. If an inmate is being targeted, most jails will intervene and have the victim placed in protective custody, away from the general population.
Put your financial needs first and the inmate's second. Don't forget, the inmate is getting three free 2,000 calorie meals a day. The food may not be of the highest quality, but the commissary food is generally much less nutritious.
Click here to view the jail website for additional information.