How to Put Money on Inmate’s Books in California

How to Put Money on Inmate’s Books in California

When a loved one is incarcerated, it can be a challenging and emotional time for both the inmate and their family and friends. One important way to support an inmate during their time in prison is by putting money on their books. In California, there are several ways to deposit funds into an inmate’s account, allowing them to purchase essential items and stay connected to the outside world. In this article, we will explore the various methods available and provide answers to some frequently asked questions.

Methods to Put Money on Inmate’s Books in California:

1. Online Deposits: Many county jails and state prisons in California offer online deposit services. You can typically find this option on the respective jail or prison’s website. Online deposits are often the most convenient and fastest method, allowing you to make a deposit using a credit or debit card. Simply follow the instructions provided on the website, enter the inmate’s details, and complete the transaction securely.

2. MoneyGram/Western Union: MoneyGram and Western Union are two widely recognized companies that facilitate money transfers. You can visit any MoneyGram or Western Union location and provide the necessary information, such as the inmate’s name, booking number, and facility details. Although this method may incur additional fees, it offers a reliable and accessible way to deposit funds.

3. Mail-In Deposits: Some correctional facilities in California allow friends and family members to send money orders or cashier’s checks through the mail. Ensure that you follow the specific guidelines provided by the facility, including addressing the payment correctly, enclosing a note with the inmate’s details, and double-checking the required information. It is advisable to send such deposits via certified mail to ensure their safe arrival.

4. Lobby Kiosks: Many correctional facilities have installed lobby kiosks where you can deposit funds directly. These machines are typically located in the jail or prison’s lobby or visitation area. To use the kiosk, you’ll need the inmate’s booking number, and in some cases, their full name. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the transaction, usually using cash or a credit/debit card.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How long does it take for the inmate to receive the deposited funds?
A: The time it takes for the inmate to receive the deposited funds can vary depending on the facility’s processing procedures. Typically, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days.

Q: Are there any restrictions on the amount of money that can be deposited?
A: Each facility may have different guidelines regarding the maximum amount that can be deposited. Generally, there is no set limit, but excessive amounts may require additional verification or may be subject to suspicion.

Q: Can I deposit funds using a personal check?
A: It is advisable to avoid sending personal checks, as they may not always be accepted or could lead to delays in processing. Money orders or cashier’s checks are usually the preferred methods when sending funds through the mail.

Q: Can I deposit funds from outside of California?
A: Yes, you can deposit funds from anywhere in the United States or even internationally, depending on the methods available at the specific facility. Online deposits and services like MoneyGram and Western Union offer accessibility for deposits from anywhere.

Q: What can the inmate use the deposited funds for?
A: Inmates can use the deposited funds to purchase a variety of items, including personal hygiene products, snacks, phone credits, and electronic devices (if permitted). The availability of items may vary between facilities.

In conclusion, putting money on an inmate’s books in California can be done through various methods, including online deposits, MoneyGram/Western Union, mail-in deposits, and lobby kiosks. It is essential to follow the specific guidelines provided by the facility and ensure accurate information is provided. By supporting inmates financially, you can help improve their quality of life during their time behind bars and maintain a connection with them.

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