Inmates of Orange County jails are allowed to have a personal account while serving jail time. This account is used by inmates to purchase items from the jail's commissary, such as snack food, personal hygiene items and stationery. An inmate account is not a bank account and is not accessible by anyone except the inmate.
Former Orange County jail inmates have noted that inmates become very hungry between meals at the jail. They recommend inmates have at least $20 in their accounts per week to spend on supplemental food and beverages, plus additional money for any other needed items. Some inmates spend up to a few hundred dollars per week on food and other items from the commissary, so deposits will always be welcome.
For an inmate to receive money in their account, someone else must deposit it. The jail system cannot deposit money that was on the inmate's person at the time of arrest, nor deposit cash inmates somehow come by in jail. It's common for friends and family members to deposit money into an inmate's account while they're already at the jail for a visit. Do not attempt to send cash or other deposit items to an inmate personally, as these are not permitted.
Inmate accounts are handled by the Cashier's Office at the jail, who accept and process deposits on behalf of inmates. Cash may be deposited in person, at any of the Orange County jail locations regardless of where an inmate is housed. When an in-person cash deposit is made, funds are transferred to the inmate's account immediately. Cash deposits may not exceed $500 at a time. Mailing cash is never recommended for any reason.
The Orange County jail system also accepts money orders, cashier's checks, and city, county, state and Federal government checks. Cashier's check and money orders must be made out to the inmate. Personal checks, credit card payments and other methods of payment are not accepted. Checks and money orders are not accepted in person, and must instead be mailed to the Cashier's Office on behalf of the inmate. Since these take extra time to make it through the mail and be processed, it can take up to a few weeks for funds to appear on an inmate's account using these payment methods. Checks and money orders also have a $500 maximum.
Funds cannot be transferred from one inmate's account to another inmate's, except with special permission of the Watch Commander.