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The Santa Rita Jail, Dublin, California

Updated on November 11, 2017
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Cameron Eittreim has been a licensed Bail Bondsmen for five years, and he is the author of American Bondsmen ISBN: 978-1-365-49244-0

The Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, California.

Alameda County is one of the most populous counties in Northern California, and when people get arrested from Oakland to Emeryville the end up in Dublin, California at the Santa Rita Jail. The Santa Rita jail has been featured on hundreds of television specials and in many songs as well, because of the sheer volume of inmates that are housed there with a capacity of 4000 at its max. Santa Rita Jail in its original form was constructed in 1947; the site was actually a WWII training base and to this day is still an active bomb testing range which has been used by the popular show Myth Busters on more than one occasion.

The Facility in its current form was constructed in 1989, as the original site was experiencing intense overcrowding. As millions of people moved to Alameda County in the wake of the housing and technology boom to live closer to silicon valley, this created a surplus of arrests which were too much for the original jail facility to handle. The State of California paid for the new jail with state bonds and county funds at a cost of $172 million dollars, one of the most expensive detention facilities even by today’s standards. The Santa Rita Jail is referred to as a mega-jail, roughly close in size to San Quentin State Prison which is in nearby San Francisco.

Technological Advances of the Santa Rita Jail:

There are many technological advances that separate the Santa Rita Jail from other facilities that are like it. In an attempted to prevent as much inmate movement throughout the jail as possible, there is a cart system that runs throughout the jail to transport meals, laundry, commissary items, and waste. This system has enabled Santa Rita Jail to be among one of the least violent jails in the bay area, and this is partly due to the fact that inmates are more restricted in their movements. The intake area is perhaps one of the largest in the state, and inmates can often sit in the intake room for up to twelve hours before being bonded out or moved upstairs to the inmate housing.

The Santa Rita Jail also uses Solar Panel technology to make it one of the most energy efficient detention facilities in the state. The solar array which was installed in the spring of 2002 was shortly after the rolling blackouts that hit the state, and the system is 1.2 megawatts of peak-power. The solar array can generate half of the jails power during the peak hours of the day, and Dublin has one of the most stable summers in the state with lots of sunshine. These technological advances have made Santa Rita Jail one of the most advanced in the state, and have made it safer for the inmates and the correctional officers who work there.

The Bail Bond Process at Santa Rita Jail:

When an inmate is booked into Santa Rita Jail they have access to a phone which can make free local calls, enabling the inmate to make contact with a bondman in the area. Many people who are arrested in Oakland, California will go to Glen Dyer Jail first and then depending if they are gang connected or not they will be headed to Santa Rita Jail for final booking. The amount of time that an inmate could potentially be in custody before being bailed out could be up to twenty hours, and this is a light estimate. Inmates have complained to lawyers and several local news outlets about how long the booking process is, and if it is legal or not.

Inmates can also be housed at Santa Rita Jail to serve out their sentence, if it is a county sentence and they are not doing any jail time. When an inmate is potentially bailing out the bondsmen will order what is called a “Dispo” from the jail administration office, a bond cannot be posted until the bondsmen has this faxed piece of paper which details all of the inmates booking information. This really tends to slow the process of bailing out, but it also lets the bail bondsmen get a fairer chance at posting a bond then the other jails because the administration window will usually only fax a “Dispo” to the first bondsmen that asks for it. Bondsmen can also visit inmates when they are in intake; this is done in a person to person room that is separated from a glass. This is generally how many bail bondsmen will assess the risk of bonding a certain person out, especially if there is going to be a self-bail.

What to Do If Your Loved One is incarcerated?

If your loved one is incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail the first step is to either contact the jail at (925) 551-6500, or use the online alameda inmate locator to find information. The most important thing to remember is that a lot of times an inmate will not even show up for hours at a time, especially if it is a busy day for booking. The booking process can seem very stressful both for you and the person who is in custody, but it can be a straightforward process once the bail amount is figured out.


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    • wpcooper profile image

      Finn Liam Cooper 

      12 months ago from Los Angeles

      Well interesting little tidbit about a famous correctional housing unit. I understand it is just a jail which is where they house people who are waiting trial. It was also featured in A Man in Full by Tom Wolf...


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