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Rules and Regulations - Inmate Mail

Published on: 8/25/2017 3:18 PM


Accommodation of Hearing Impaired Inmates
It is the policy of the Department of Correction to ensure that deaf or hard of hearing inmates are afforded full and equal access to programs and services provided by the Department of Correction. The Department of Correction will furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and/or services, to include but not limited to, the right to interpreters and the right to place telephone calls via a TTY/TDD machine. Assistive listening devices will be made available upon request of the inmate in order to assist them with communication during programs or services.  Interpreter services shall be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for all complex, confidential or important communications, such as Booking, Classification, Medical, Mental Health or disciplinary hearings. 

Inmates with disabilities cannot be excluded from programs, activities or services offered solely because of a disability, because of inaccessible facilities.  The Department of Correction will ensure physical accommodations are made to ensure facility accessibility to hearing impaired/deaf inmates. Closed-caption televisions shall be made available in designated areas housing hearing impaired inmates.

Inmate Programs
Various Educational and Recreational programs are available to inmates, based on their housing assignment.  The Programs Unit offers the Regimented Correctional Program (RCP), Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, General Education Diploma (GED) classes, substance abuse classes, occupational training, computer skills, literacy (reading and writing skills), stress reduction, nutrition, personal hygiene, anger management, trauma recovery, parenting and others. To learn more about these programs, or to sign up for them, submit an Inmate Request Form to the Programs Unit or Classification.

Medical/Dental & Mental Health Services
Each inmate is interviewed at the time of booking and a medical screening questionnaire will be completed and maintained by the Medical unit. This questionnaire is confidential and is used by Medical staff to provide care. If your medical condition should change and you require care, speak with a nurse at pill call. 

Minimum security inmates may receive medical care at the Medical Clinic located next to Processing. Notify an Officer immediately if your medical problem is an emergency or requires immediate attention.

If you are not yet sentenced and wish to see your own physician at their office, you must obtain a court order per 4011 P.C. If you are sentenced, you must obtain a medical clearance and, if eligible, you must apply for a 4011 P.C. release or obtain a court order. You are responsible for all costs.

Pill calls are conducted at regularly scheduled times every day. An Officer will announce pill call in each housing area. Over-the-counter medication may be purchased through the commissary.  Emergency dental care is provided for all inmates. If you require dental care, submit a dental request form to the nurse at the morning pill call. If it is an emergency, notify an Officer immediately.

Mental Health Services Are Available to Every Inmate
Being incarcerated can cause a great deal of emotional stress. Notify an Officer if you wish to speak to Mental Health staff. If you think another inmate may be considering suicide, notify an Officer immediately. Some signs of suicidal tendencies are: looking sad or tired, not sleeping or eating, feeling hopeless or worthless, withdrawing, refusing medical treatment, giving things away, writing a will, suddenly "improving" from depression.

Reading glasses may be obtained through Catholic Charities Inmate Support Services Program and the Chaplain.

Prescription glasses are not provided by Medical. You are allowed to possess your prescription glasses.

Property and Money
When you are booked, your money, personal property and clothing are taken for safekeeping. You should keep your receipt. The Department of Correction will not be responsible for any personal property not surrendered at the time of booking.  You may release your property to anyone you wish, except another inmate. 

To release property, a Prisoner's Property Release Form must be completed. The person picking up the property should fill in a form as completely as possible and bring it when they come to the jail to get the property. Failure to bring a filled in form will delay the release of the property.

Prisoner's Property Release Form

If you release any of your property, you must release all of it (with the exception of personal clothing). Personal clothing may be released if you are going to prison. 

CDC only accepts the following items if you are in route or sentenced to State prison (there are no exceptions!):

  • Legal books and materials
  • Postage stamps and stamped envelopes, not to exceed 20
  • Receipts, address books, business cards, etc.
  • One writing tablet
  • Five personal letters
  • Religious medal, value less than $50.00 and no stones
  • Wedding bands with value less than $100.00 and no stones
  • All medical devices, aids and prosthetics will be returned after being checked by medical staff
  • Prescription eye glasses, with case, no metal clips
  • Medical alert identification, no chains

Once you are sentenced to State prison, you must make arrangements to have your property picked up. If it is not picked up prior to your departure, you will be required to sign a property release form authorizing someone to pick it up. Property left unclaimed will be destroyed after 180 days.

If it becomes necessary to confiscate any in-custody property, you will be given a receipt and the property will be placed with your personal property.

Your money is credited to your account and your commissary purchases will be subtracted from your account. You may release money from your account to anyone you wish, except another inmate. Anyone may send money to your account by sending a Cashier's Check or Money Order made payable to the SANTA CLARA COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION (SCCDOC). The sender must write your name and PFN (three letters and three numbers) on the Cashier's Check or Money Order. There is a three hundred dollar ($300.00) maximum limit for each check or money order per week. Personal checks will not be accepted. Cashier's Check or Money Order must be sent through regular U.S. Postal Service, no overnight, express mail, etc., will be accepted.

Mail for DOC Inmates

Mail for inmates is only accepted when delivered through regular U.S. Postal Service, no overnight, express mail, etc., will be accepted. Mail from private delivery services, UPS, FedEx, etc., will not be accepted.

The following items will NOT be accepted through the mail service:

  • Cardboard
  • Plastics, or anything laminated
  • Anything GANG related (Photos, colors, writing, symbols)
  • Drugs
  • Two-ply cards will be separated (they are discouraged)
  • Cards larger than 5x7
  • Blank paper, cards, envelopes, stamps
  • Magazines, books and newspapers not from the publisher
  • Staples and paper clips or glitter
  • Items having suspicious stains or markings, lipstick or whiteout
  • Letters or envelopes having stickers on them
  • Hard bound books
  • Padded envelopes or Priority Mail
  • Artwork done with wax, water colors or heavy crayons, markers, felt tip pens and/or glitter pen
  • Flowers
  • Envelopes or items with tape
  • Instant camera photos (i.e. Polaroid)
  • Photographs larger than 4" x 6"
  • Photo copied pictures on 8 1/2 x 11 sized paper
  • Posters larger than 5" x 7"
  • Food items
  • Packages
  • Photographs containing sexually explicit or suggestive images and/or graphic nudity

All photographs received must have your name and PFN written on the back, unidentifiable photographs will be destroyed.

Inmates may receive newspapers, magazines, periodicals and books through the US Postal Service if they are mailed directly from the publisher. They will not be accepted if sent by a bookstore or any other person. You may arrange with Catholic Charities Inmate Support Services Program for some materials to be delivered. No hardbound books will be accepted.

--If you are sending mail to an inmate, envelopes MUST include inmate's booking number and Personal File Number (PFN). The mailing addresses for the facilities are:


Santa Clara County Department of Correction
Elmwood Complex
Inmates' Name, Booking Number, PFN
701 South Abel Street
Milpitas, CA 95035
Main Jail Complex
(Main Jail North and Main Jail South)       
Santa Clara County Department of Correction
Main Jail Complex
Inmates' Name, Booking Number, PFN
885 North San Pedro Street
San Jose, CA 95110


Hospitalized Inmates
Hospitalized inmate visiting periods will be consistent with hospital visiting times.  After one week, a hospitalized inmate may be eligible for visits in accordance with the schedule that would apply to the inmate if he or she were at a correctional facility.  The visiting hours must be in compliance with hospital visiting hours. 

A person requesting to visit an inmate (male or female) at the hospital must fill out a Visitor Request Form and submit it to the Main Jail Visiting Desk.  Special requests to visit a hospitalized inmate before one week must be made to the Watch Commander.  Special visitation authorization must be sought from the Watch Commander, who will decide such requests on a case-by-case basis, with consideration given to the hospitalized inmate's health condition, security requirements and hospital rules.

The services of a chaplain are available to all inmates of all religions. If a religious leader of your religion is not on staff with the Chaplaincy Program, the Chaplain will make arrangements to ensure your religious needs are met.

Submit an inmate request form if you wish to see the Jail Chaplain for assistance on religious, personal or family matters. Religious services are held according to posted schedules. Religious diets are available subject to verification by the Chaplain. Jail Chaplains do not perform marriages but can provide information on how to get married in jail.

Catholic Charities Inmate Support Services Program
Catholic Charities Inmate Support Services Program is an organization that assists inmates who need assistance from an outside source. If you would like to contact Catholic Charities Inmate Support Services Program, submit an Inmate Request Form to the unit Officer or write the address below. Your friends or family (not in custody) may contact a Catholic Charities Inmate Support Services Program Jail Services Representative at the numbers listed below (they do not accept collect calls). You may email them directly at

Their address is:
Catholic Charities Inmate Support Services Program in SCC
2625 Zanker Road, Suite 210
San Jose, CA 95134

  • Jails Specialist (408) 325-5147
  • Elmwood Specialist (408) 325-5232
  • Main Jail Specialist (408) 325-5144
  • General Information (408) 325-5156
  • Book Inquiries (408) 325-5205


There are several ways you can be released before you go to trial, including, but not limited to: Own Recognizance (OR)/Supervised OR, Bail, Citation or Court Release.  If you are released through any of these methods, you will physically be released as soon as all the necessary paperwork can be processed. At that time you will be required to complete release paperwork and your personal property will be returned to you. If you have been sentenced to serve County Jail time, you will be released after 4:00 a.m. on the morning of your release date. If you have someone to provide a ride, you may be released at midnight.

If you expect to be in custody during the next election and wish to vote, you must correspond with the Registrar of Voters at the address below. You may also call for information at (408) 299-8386. In order to vote, you must be registered at least 29 days before the next election. You must submit an "Inmate Request Form" requesting an "Absentee Ballot Application" from Programs.  It is essential that you include your registered home address as well as the jail address on the Voter Registration form.

Registrar of Voters
Santa Clara County
P.O. Box 1147
San Jose, CA 95108


Click here for information about Telephone Service for Inmates