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Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles

Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)

Last Updated: May 01, 2020
535 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Los Angeles
Security Level
federal high
Mailing Address
PO Box 1500, Los Angeles, CA 90053
Facility Type
Money Transfer
Satellite View of Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles

Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles's comprehensive information to help guide you through the federal prison process, specifically on how to remain connected to your inmate while they are incarcerated.

The MDC-Los-Angeles is a federal prison located at 535 N Alameda St in Los Angeles, CA. This federal high security prison is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to hold inmates who have been convicted to and sentenced for a federal crime through the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

Locate all federal inmates here. If you would like to speak with a case manager or counselor, call 213-485-0439.

The Metropolitan Detention Center, Los Angeles (MDC Los Angeles) is a United States federal prison in downtown Los Angeles, California which holds male and female inmates prior to and during court proceedings, as well inmates serving short sentences. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice.

MDC Los Angeles had a distinct design, referring to housing areas as rooms rather than cells and not using iron bars on its cell doors. It had a special design using plate glass windows, balconies, and atriums. The opening of MDC Los Angeles allowed prisoners whose trials are pending to be housed just two blocks from the U.S. District Courthouse, ending the time-consuming process of transporting them back and forth down the Harbor Freeway each day court is in session. The U.S. Marshal's Service saves at least $200,000 a year by not having to transport the usual 250 to 300 prisoners a week from FCI Terminal Island and the federal public defender's office saves $18,000 a year in telephone bills alone because it no longer has to rely on clients calling person-to-person collect from FCI Terminal Island.

Notable inmates include Vianna Roman and Aaron Soto (detained while awaiting trial for directing gang activities of extortion, robbery, truck trafficking, and murder) and Jose Cabrera Sablan (serving a life sentence for murdering a correctional officer at USP Atwater in 2008).

Various services are available to inmates at MDC Los Angeles, including drug treatment and education programs, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, GED and ESL classes, and correspondence classes. Inmates may meet with a chaplain or a priest upon request.

Housing: Inmates are housed in two-person cells.

Health Services: Intake screening is provided for each inmate upon arrival at the facility. An initial assessment by medical staff includes TB testing. Other services include physical examinations, HIV testing, and dental services. Emergency medical care is available 24 hours a day.

Psychology Services: The mental health services available include crisis intervention, suicide prevention, limited group therapy, limited individual therapy, limited substance abuse treatment, and psychiatric medication consultation.

Education Services: MDC Los Angeles offers literacy, GED, and English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) programs for inmates. Successful completion of the GED program results in the awarding of a state-issued diploma and other incentives. These may include participation in a graduation ceremony, photos, or a monetary award (max $25.00). High school diplomas and post-secondary programs are available through paid correspondence programs.

Library Services: Inmates are provided access to legal materials and an opportunity to prepare legal documents through the use of the TRULINCS Electronic Law Library located in the Education Department. A copying machine is available to reproduce materials needed for research. Electric typewriters are also available for inmate use. Inmates also have access to newspapers, magazines, and fiction and nonfiction books.

Commissary: Commissary spending is limited to $360.00 monthly (excluding special purchase items). Inmates can purchase a wide variety of commissary products on their weekly designated shopping day.

Recreation Services: Indoor and outdoor recreation are available to MDC Los Angeles inmates, including recreation areas and indoor activities such as ping-pong, pool, and board games.

Important links

Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles - Admission & Orientation Handbook
Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles - Inmate Legal Activities
Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles - Visitation

Inmate Locator

Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles is a facility in the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) publishes the names of their inmates currently in one of their locations nationwide. Your search should start with the first locator to see if your loved one is there. You will need the offender's first and last name and it must be spelled exactly. If you have a nine-digit BOP Inmate ID number (xxxxx-xxx)

If you cannot find your inmate in the federal search, the second box is the InmateAid Inmate Search. This database of inmates is all the inmates currently incarcerated in all prisons, jails and detention centers. You do not need to sign up to use this free inmate locator.

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Visitation Information

Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles

The visiting schedule at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center is based on the floor level that the inmate lives on.

Visiting hours:

  • Sundays: 5 North from 8:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.
  • Mondays: 6th floor from 2:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M
  • Tuesdays: 7th floor from 2:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
  • Wednesdays: 9 South & 5 South from 2:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
  • Thursdays: Inter-floor from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. and Special Housing Unit from 2:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
  • Fridays: Annex & 9 North from 2:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
  • Saturdays: 5 North from 8:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.
  • Visits can last up to 90 minutes.
  • An inmate can have up to 3 visitors at a given time.
  • All visitors ages 16 and older must have valid government photo identification.
  • Visits may be terminated as the visiting room overcrowds.


a. Visiting Area: All regular visits not requiring special security measures will be conducted in the institution visiting room. There are separate rooms within the visiting room designated for private legal visits. These rooms will not be utilized for social visiting unless approved in advance by the Associate Warden of Programs AW(P). All visits for inmates assigned to the Special Housing Unit (SHU) will follow the procedures outlined in Section "P" of this supplement.

Social visits for inmates housed in the Special Housing Unit, and those inmates housed in general population, whose conduct has been determined to be disruptive to the orderly running of the facility, may be limited to tele-visiting. All inmates and visitors participating in non-contact tele-visits are subject to the same rules and regulations as visitors and inmates entering the visiting room. This includes dress code requirements and standards of behavior for both visitors and inmates. Prior to each visit, video equipment will be inspected by staff and any damages to the equipment or visiting area will be documented in writing in the Front Lobby log book. Following each visit, video equipment will again be inspected by staff and damages to the equipment or area will be documented in writing and may also result in an incident report for the inmate and denial of visiting privileges for visitors. All non-contact tele-visits will be monitored via video.

Social visits for general population inmates currently assigned to the tele-visiting program will visit on the day their respective floor has visitation.

Processing of visitors will commence at 7:30a.m. and 2:15 p.m. prior to scheduled visiting hours, and will end one hour prior to the end of the visitation period.

Visiting hours for legal visits are permitted: Monday - Friday from 8:00 A.M. until 8:00 P.M. Saturday – Sunday from 8:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M

Restroom facilities are also available in the front lobby for use by approved visitors prior to entering the visiting room.

Visitors and inmates will not be allowed to use Restroom facilities during social visitation with the exception of work cadre inmates and their visitors, visiting on Saturdays and Sunday. Work cadre inmates will be allowed to use the restroom located in the shakedown area of the visiting room only.

Work cadre inmates' visitors will be allowed to use the restroom facilities located in the visiting room. Visitors and/or inmates requesting to depart the visiting room for this purpose will not be readmitted.

During a legal visit that exceeds two hours, the visiting room Officer-in-Charge may, if staffing permits, allow the inmate to use the restroom. The inmate will be escorted to the shakedown area restroom outside the visiting room and remain under observation while using the restroom. This will be done with a staff member of the same gender as the inmate. The inmate will then be allowed to continue his or her legal visit. If an attorney needs to use the restroom, the inmate must be identified by picture card prior to the attorney departing the visiting room.

b. Visiting Hours:

Visitation procedures will be conducted by floor. Social visiting hours will occur from 2:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays with the exception of those noted on the chart below. Time allotted for social visits will be 1.5 hours. Attorney visits will occur from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. during weekdays and 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on weekends. To ensure adequate staffing in the visiting room, attorney visits after 3:00 p.m. on weekends will be by appointment, with advanced notice received no later than two work days prior to the requested visit. Processing of attorneys will take precedence over social visits.

Holiday: Social visits for holidays will be for
the floor the holiday falls on. The hours allotted will be from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 pm, on all identified Federal Holidays (10).

*Inter-floor visits will now be conducted on Thursday and length of the visit will be the same as the general population, 1.5 hours.

Day Floor Social Visits Legal Visits-all floors
Sunday 5- North 8:00am – 1pm 8am – 3pm
Monday 6th floor 2:30pm – 8pm 8am – 8pm
Tuesday 7th floor 2:30pm – 8pm 8am – 8pm
Wednesday 9 South/
5 South 2:30pm – 8pm 8am – 8pm
Thursday Inter-floor
SHU 5:00pm-8pm 2:30pm-8pm 8am – 8pm
Friday Annex/9-North 2:30pm – 8pm 8am – 8pm
Saturday 5-North 8:00am – 1pm 8am – 3pm

c. Frequency of Visits & Number of Visitors: Inmates will be allowed social visits according to which floor they are assigned to. The visiting schedule will be available to visitors in the front lobby and will also be posted on housing unit bulletin boards.Visitors may only visit one inmate. Exceptions may be made when an inmate has an immediate family member(s) who is also incarcerated. The unit team is responsible for verifying the relationship and will make arrangements for family members to visit on the same day.

Inmates will be allowed to visit for a period of 1.5 hours. The time will begin when the inmate arrives in the visiting room. Inmates will be permitted to visit with a maximum of three visitors. Immediate family members confined at the institution will be allowed a maximum of three visitors at one time. Visitors will not be permitted to exchange places (alternate) with another visitor outside the visiting room.

The maximum number of visitors and inmates allowed in the visiting room is posted on the wall inside of the visiting room. The front lobby officer will coordinate with the visiting room officer the amount of seating available in the visiting room.

When sufficient seating is not available for a group to visit, the visitors in the group will be advised. The visitors may wait in the front lobby until seating is available or leave the institution and return at another time.

d. Visitor Approval: All visitors must be approved in advance by the unit manager. Inmates will submit their request for visitors on the Visitor Information form (BP-A629) provided by their unit team.
After approval by the unit manager, the approved visitors will be entered into the inmates visiting list by a member of the unit team. A copy of the approved list is maintained in the inmate’s central file. Any changes to the visiting list by the inmate will be completed on an as-needed basis.

Prior relationship visits is not allowed at MDCLA without the approval of the warden.

Inmates having a Walsh Act assignment will be required to be monitored closely by staff in the visiting room. Assigned seating will be given to the inmate. Any inmate fitting this criterion will have the following annotation placed in the visiting program under the comments section: “this inmate was convicted of a sex offense involving a minor.” This will be done by a member of the unit team.

1. Work Cadre Inmates: Inmates designated to the work cadre are permitted to visit with members of their immediate family, other relatives, as well as friends and associates. They are permitted a maximum of ten visitors on their approved visiting list. Each prospective visitor will be required to complete a Visitor Information form (BP-629) authorizing a criminal background check.

2. Pretrial and Holdover Inmates: Pretrial and holdover inmates are only permitted visitation with immediate family members. Each prospective visitor will be required to submit a Visitor Information form (BP-629) authorizing a criminal background check. This process may take up to two weeks.

3. Immediate Family Members: These persons include mother, father, step-parents, foster parents, brothers, sisters, children, and a legally married husband or wife. Common-law relationships are not recognized under California law. As such, common-law spouses are not considered immediate family members at MDCLA.

4. Disapproval of Visitors: If a visitor is disapproved, a letter will be mailed by the unit team to the prospective visitor with an explanation of the disapproval. A copy of this letter will be maintained in the inmate’s file with the Visitor information form of the disapproved visitor.

5. Prior Relationship Approval: Inmates must have a prior relationship with the requested visitor.

6. Written Guidelines of Visiting Procedures: Written guidelines for visiting procedures will be forwarded to the prospective visitor when the inmate sends and returns the Visitor Information form (BP-629). In addition, this institution supplement will be available on www.bop.gov for use by prospective visitors.

7. Approved Visitor List Back-up System: A backup visiting list will be printed from the visiting program every Friday by the Front Lobby Officer and a copy will also be maintained in the Lieutenants office. In addition, a copy of the approved visiting list is maintained in the inmate’s file.

e. Visitor Identification: All visitors age 16 and over will be required to provide a state or government-approved photo identification before being allowed to enter the visiting room. Approved identification includes a valid driver’s license, state issued identification card, military identification, passport or U.S. Immigration identification card. Matricular identification cards issued by the Mexican Consulate are not considered valid for entrance.

All social visitors will be processed through the metal detector and have their hand stamped. Visitors must complete and sign the Notification to Visitor form (BP-224) and sign the appropriate log book. Upon entering the visiting room, all visitors age 16 and over must surrender their picture ID to the Visiting Room Officer. The ID will be returned upon exiting the visiting room.

f. Attorney/Legal Visits: Attorneys who present a valid State bar identification card and photo identification will be permitted to visit. All attorneys will be processed through the metal detector and have their hand stamped. Attorneys must complete and sign the Notification to Visitor form and sign the appropriate log book.

1. Attorney Representatives: Attorney's assistants, law clerks, investigators, paralegal’s, or interpreters will not be permitted to visit until the sponsoring attorney, whom they assist, receives notification that their request has been reviewed and approved. Each attorney's representative must complete an Application to Enter Institution as Representative form (BP-243) prior to receiving approval. Individuals who are acting as an attorney's representative, who had a previous social relationship with an inmate, will only be permitted to visit the inmate with the attorney present and only during the inmate's regular social visiting hours. The attorney may conduct only one such visit at a time.
Processing of attorneys will take precedence over social visitors.

2. Personal Property: All of the attorney's legal material and briefcase will be searched. Handbags, newspapers, magazines, cellular phones, tobacco, food items, and non-legal material are not allowed in the visiting room and must be stored in the lobby lockers. Pagers will be permitted after a thorough inspection. Tape players and computers are available for attorney use in the visiting room. Videotapes are permitted, but must be viewed only in the visiting room and returned to the attorney or paralegal after viewing.

3. Legal Mail Deposit: If an attorney needs to provide legal documents for the inmate’s retention, the documents should be placed in the secured box located in the lobby. Each item deposited should be in an envelope labeled as Legal Mail and contain the attorney’s name and title, inmate’s name, register number, and return address. Correctional Systems Department staff will retrieve the legal items Monday through Friday during the morning hours and process for distribution via legal mail procedures. During non-visiting hours, attorneys may send legal

material via the U.S Postal Service.

4. Discovery CD’s: Attorneys who wish to send electronic discovery materials to their client must first obtain a Discovery Material Authorization Form from the Los Angeles Consolidated Legal Center. The form must be filled out completely and emailed back to the attention of the Legal Administrative Assistant at (213) 253-9505. The number of discs being sent to the inmate must be specified on the form. A new form must be emailed to the institution each time discovery is sent to a client.

Each disc must be labeled with the inmate's name, register number, and case number. Each disc must also be individually packaged in a paper or soft plastic sleeve.

Only the disc(s) and the original Discovery Material Authorization Form may be included in the package; no other items will be accepted. The package must be addressed directly to the inmate and include the inmate's register number. The package must also be marked as set forth in 28 C.F.R. § 540.19(b).

The package may either be mailed directly to the inmate or dropped off in the legal mailbox located in the institution's visiting room.

If an attorney sends a package containing discovery material to the institution via the U.S. mail but fails to first email in the Discovery Material Authorization, then MDCLA staff will refuse the package and it will be returned to sender. If the attorney fails to email in the form and then elects to drop off the package in the Legal Mailbox, then the package will not be returned and will, instead, be disposed of pursuant to applicable Bureau of Prisons policy.

Attorneys may visit with as many clients as they require; however, legal visits are limited to one inmate at a time.

5. Joint defense Counsel Meetings: Join Defense Counsel Meetings (visits between verified co-defendants and their legal counsel) may only occur upon written consent and approval of the Unit Manager and Captain.

6. Foreign Attorneys: Foreign attorneys who are not licensed in a state or jurisdiction of the United States must provide verification of their status as a licensed attorney in good standing in a foreign jurisdiction. This is normally handled by contacting their respective Consulate’s office, which will provide official documentation to the United States Government. The Consulate or other verifying authority must forward the verification to the Consolidated Legal Center (CLC). CLC staff will notify the Captain of the verification. Once the status of the foreign attorney has been confirmed and before the initial visit, the Captain will finalize the approval memorandum to be placed in the front lobby. The attorneys will then be processed as legal visitors for future visits.

7. Call Out Request Procedures: The Call Out request privilege is exclusively for attorneys. Call Out requests will be limited to two clients and should include the client’s (inmate) name, register number, and time of the visit. All requests must come directly from the attorney and must be sent on the attorney’s letterhead and bear the attorney’s signature. This does not preclude the attorney from visiting with more than two clients. Additional clients may be requested upon attorney’s arrival at MDCLA.
All requests will be e-mailed to LOS/Lobby@bop.gov.

g. Official Visitors: U.S. Attorneys, law enforcement agents, military personnel conducting investigations, U.S. Court officials, U.S. Probation Officers, Consulate representatives, and staff from the Federal Public Defenders office will be permitted to visit upon presentation of appropriate identification. These individuals are required to clear electronic screening procedures and will be required to sign the appropriate log books. Any questions regarding the above officials will be directed to the Captain during normal duty hours, and the Institution Duty Officer (IDO) or the Operations Lieutenant after normal duty hours.

Law enforcement officials are not permitted to interview or serve inmates in the visiting room. Law enforcement officials wishing to interview an inmate must make an appointment through the Special Investigative Office prior to entering the institution.

h. Special Non-Social Visits: Non-law enforcement personnel requesting to visit inmates housed at MDCLA must submit a written request in advance and receive written approval from the appropriate department head prior to entering the institution. These individuals include but are not limited to court-appointed psychologist, medical personnel, Minister of Record, clergy, educational and religious volunteers, and representatives of the media. All such visits must be reviewed by the Captain and approved by the AW(P).

Minister of Record: An inmate wanting to receive visits from his/her minister of record must submit a written request to the Chaplain. Upon approval, unit staff adds the name and title (minister of record) to the inmate’s visitor list.

An inmate may only have one minister of record on his/her visiting list at a time. The addition of the minister of record will not count against the total number of authorized regular visitors an inmate is allowed to have on his/her visiting list, and will not count against the total number of social visits allowed.

Clergy: Visits from clergy (other than the minister of record) will be in accordance with the general visitor procedures, and will count against the total number of regular visits allowed.

Ordinarily, clergy visits will not be accommodated unless requested by the inmate. However, the Chaplain may approve a visitation request initiated by the clergy if the inmate wishes to visit with the clergy.

Clergy/minister of record visits will be accommodated in the visiting room during regularly scheduled visiting hours and, to the extent practicable, in an area of the visiting room that provides a degree of separation from other visitors. If a private area is not available, the visit may be rescheduled.

The Warden may establish a limit to the number of the minister of record and clergy visits an inmate receives each month, consistent with available resources. However, during times of personal or family emergencies, an inmate will be authorized a visit from his/her minister of record. Refer to the Program Statement Religious Beliefs and Practices for additional information regarding minister of record and Clergy.

Visits in the visiting room will be supervised by visiting room staff. Visits outside of the visiting room will be supervised by the department with oversight responsibility.

i. Special Social Visits: If a special social visit is requested by an inmate, it must be approved by the AW(P). The inmate must make the request through his or her unit team. The unit team will review the request, verify the relationship, and forward their recommendation to the AW(P). These visits will be held in the visiting room and be supervised by visiting room staff during regularly scheduled visiting hours. Special visitation requests for inmates housed in SHU must be approved by the Warden.

j. Inter-floor Visitation: Inmates may be permitted the opportunity to visit with members of their immediate family who are also incarcerated at the facility. The inmate must submit a request for an inter-floor visit to the unit team. After the unit team verifies the relationship, a memorandum approved by the AW(P) authorizing the visit will be forwarded to the visiting room. All inter-floor visits will be conducted on Thursdays in the visiting room.

k. Official Counts: Visitors will not be allowed to exit the visiting room during official counts. Inmates notified of a visit one hour prior to an official count will be placed on the out-count. After this period, the Front Lobby Officer will notify the unit officer that an inmate's visit will commence upon completion of the count. Visitors must immediately depart the visiting room after completion of their visit. All official counts in the visiting room will be picture card counts.

l. Visit Termination/Denial: The IDO or Operations Lieutenant may terminate/deny a visit that is disruptive to the overall security or good order of the institution. This may involve conduct initiated by the inmate and/or visitor(s). The right to receive future visits may be denied or restricted as part of any administrative action following the incident. If the Operations Lieutenant terminates a visit, they must inform the IDO.

m. Visitor Personal Property: Lockers are available in the front lobby to store personal articles not allowed in the visiting room. Visitors will be required to place all personal articles and handbags in these lockers prior to security screening .No bags of any kind will be permitted into the visiting room. The only exception will be infant care items including; one pacifier, one diaper, one 8 oz. clear plastic bottle with contents, and one baby blanket.

Visitors are required to dress appropriately. Visitors will not be allowed to wear medical scrubs; bathing suits; sweatshirts; sweat pants; jackets (unless worn with a suit); shorts of any kind; see-through garments (including arms); mesh or bareback clothing; low cut blouses; any dresses or skirts which are more than two inch above knee cap; leotards; stretch pants; crop tops; halter tops; tube tops; form-fitted or tight clothing; hats; open toe shoes; dress or skirt with a high-cut split in the back, front or side; sleeveless garments; caps or hoods; scarves; solid white or grey t-shirts; khaki or green military-type clothing of any kind. Questionable attire will be evaluated by the Operations Lieutenant for appropriateness for entry. Children under five years of age are permitted to wear shorts, sweatpants or sweatshirts. Samples of unauthorized items are depicted in the front lobby for review.

n. Inmate Personal Property: Inmates will not be permitted to receive any item(s) from a visitor. The only authorized items inmates may take into the visiting room are one wedding band, one religious medal, and one pair of eyeglasses. Institution Croc shoes must be worn for all visits unless the inmate has a medical duty status form which authorizes another appropriate shoe. All inmates will be pat searched prior to visiting, and visually searched when departing the visiting room. This will be documented in the visiting room inmate shakedown logbook.
Inmates are permitted to bring legal documents to their legal visits. These items will be searched for contraband prior to entering and upon exiting the visiting area.

o. Inmate Visitor Contact: Inmates are permitted to shake hands, embrace, and exchange a kiss at the beginning and the end of a visit. Physical contact beyond this point is not tolerated and is considered grounds for termination of the visit. Unacceptable behavior may result in disciplinary action on the part of the inmate. The inmate is responsible for ensuring that his/her visitors conduct themselves within the established guidelines.

p. SHU Inmates: All inmates housed in the SHU will visit in the SHU contact and/or non-contact visiting area. The Warden will make the determination if restraints are needed for visits on a case by case basis.
Special visits will be approved by the Warden and the location will be determined at that time. Children under 18 are prohibited from visiting in SHU. Normally, only one visit will be conducted at a time and a maximum of three visitors will be allowed to meet with an inmate at any time. The Warden may approve simultaneous visits under unusual circumstances. Visitors and inmates must be under the direct supervision of staff.

Inmates will be visually searched and electronically scanned upon completion of the visit.

q. Inmate Separatees: Inmates and their separatees, and families of separated inmates, will not be placed in the visiting room at the same time. Visitation for inmates with separation assignments will be processed on a first come first served basis. The remaining visitors will be processed as soon as the visiting room officer notifies the front lobby that the inmate and his/her visitors have departed.

r. Inmates Under Supervised Medical or Psychological Care: Inmates under supervised medical or psychological care and inmates who are being physically restrained or in dry cell status will not normally be permitted to visit. The IDO or Operations Lieutenant should carefully and sensitively explain the situation to the prospective visitor without disclosing non-public information.

Circumstances may exist in which the IDO and Operations Lieutenant, in conjunction with Health Services and/or Psychology Services, may determine that a visit is not appropriate. The appropriate location of the visit will be determined by the consulting individuals with the concurrence of the Warden. Work cadre inmates admitted to local hospitals for medical treatment may be permitted social visits with the approval of the Warden.
Pretrial inmates and U.S. Marshals holdover inmates admitted to local hospitals will not be allowed social visits unless authorized by the U.S. Marshals Service. In instances where authorization has been granted, visitors will visit in accordance with the medical facility's schedule. Visitors will be limited to immediate family.

s. Loss of Visiting Privileges: Upon a finding of guilty for violating institution regulations, inmates may be subject to disciplinary sanctions as outlined by policy, i.e., loss of social visiting privileges for a specified period of time.

t. Overcrowding Procedures: When the visiting room becomes overcrowded, the visiting room officer will notify the Operations Lieutenant and/or the IDO.

Should this method prove ineffective, the operations lieutenant and/or IDO will notify the group on the list for that day that their visit has been terminated due to overcrowding. Should mandatory termination become necessary, the Operations Lieutenant and/or IDO will only terminate what is deemed necessary to eliminate the overcrowded condition.

u. Address/Phone number/Directions/Local Transportation: MDC Los Angeles is located in downtown Los Angeles adjacent to the Roybal Federal Building and Courthouse. The address is 535 N. Alameda Street,
Los Angeles, California 90012. The institution is located off of Highway 101, across from Union Station. Highway 101 can be accessed from Highways 5 and 10.

Union Station has train service from the LA County Metro and Metrolink. There is paid parking across from MDCLA at Joe’s Auto Park and at Union Station.

Payphone service is not available to visitors. Arrangements for pick-up must be made prior to the visitor’s departure. Institution staff can be reached at (213)485-0439, for questions concerning these procedures.

v. Special Rules for Children: Visitors are responsible for their minor children. Children may not be disruptive in the visiting room and should remain seated at all times with their parents/guardians. There is no play area available for children. However, an activities cart is available in the visiting room for children.
5. MANAGING DEPARTMENT: Correctional Services Department


1. No shorts of any type
2. Sweat pants/sweat shirts
3. Sun dresses
4. Halter tops
5. Bathing suits
6. See through garments of any type
7. Crop tops
8. Low cut blouses/dresses
9. Leotards/tights/spandex
10. Any clothing that looks like inmate clothing (such as khaki or green military-type clothing)
11. Backless tops
12. Hats/caps/head scarves
13. Any sleeveless garment
14. No jackets/outer garments other than suit jacket (that goes with the suit) will be permitted.
15. Skirts two inch or more above the knee.
16. Dress or skirts with a high-cut split in the back, front or side.
17. No solid white or gray T-shirts
18. No medical scrubs
19. Flip-Flops
20. Open toe shoes

Clothing that is questionable in regards to taste will be brought to the attention of the Operations Lieutenant and/or Institution Duty Officer.

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Facility Type

This Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles is a secure facility overseen by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The BOP is a division of the US Justice Department whose main function is to protect public safety by ensuring that federal offenders serve their sentences of imprisonment in facilities that are safe, humane, cost-efficient, and appropriately secure, and provide reentry programming to ensure their successful return to the community.

The prisons or institutions located throughout the US are operated at five different security levels in order to confine offenders in an appropriate manner. Security levels are based on such features as the presence of external patrols, towers, security barriers, or detection devices; the type of housing within the institution; internal security features; and the staff-to-inmate ratio.

Facilities are designated as either minimum, low, medium, high, or administrative; and facilities with different security levels that are in close proximity to each other are known as prison complexes.

Inmates are designated/re-designated to institutions based on several factors

  • the level of security and staff supervision the inmate requires
  • the level of security and staff supervision the institution provides
  • the medical classification care level of the inmate and the care level of the institution
  • the inmate's program needs (e.g., substance abuse treatment, educational/vocational training, individual and/or group counseling, medical/mental health treatment), and various factors (i.e institution bed space capacity; the inmate's release residence; judicial recommendations; separation needs; and security measures needed to ensure the protection of victims, witnesses, and the general public).

After arriving each inmate is interviewed and screened by staff from the case management, medical, and mental health units. Later, an inmate is assigned to the Admission and Orientation (A & O) Program, where he or she receives a formal orientation to the programs, services, policies, and procedures of that facility. This program provides an introduction to all aspects of the institution.

Personal Property

For security, safety, and sanitation reasons, the Bureau limits the amount of property (jewelry, photographs, books, magazines, etc.) inmates may have and the types of publications inmates can receive. The institution issues clothing, hygiene items, and bedding; and provides laundry services. Inmates may purchase other personal care items, shoes, some recreational clothing, and some food items through the commissary. Civilian clothing (i.e., clothing not issued to the inmate by the Bureau or purchased by the inmate from the commissary) ordinarily is not authorized for retention by the inmate.

Inmates may only possess those items they are authorized to retain upon admission to the institution, items issued by authorized staff, items purchased by the inmate from the commissary, or items purchased or received through approved channels (to include that approved for receipt by an authorized staff member or authorized by institution guidelines). All other items are considered contraband and will be seized and disposed of (destroyed, mailed out of the institution at the inmate's expense, etc.) in accordance with Bureau regulations. Contraband that threatens the security of the institution may result in disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution for the inmate.

Custody/Security Level

Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles is a high-security federal prison run by the BOP. This maximum security facility is located at 535 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CAV has securable single- and multi-person cells, the perimeters are with multiple reinforced fences or walls, guard towers and/or other shooting platforms for armed guards, strictly controlled movement within the compound, and the highest inmate-to-staff ratio. The level of monitoring and video surveillance is 24/7 and heavily watched.

Gangs are a dominant presence and racial and gang violence is rampant this level. Killings are not unheard of, as physical encounters often involve some type of prison-made weapon (such as a shiv or shank). Other incidents of disciplinary misconduct are frequent, too. Inmates ineligible for placement at lower security prisons are housed at high-security federal prisons and have no problem acting out.

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How To Send Things

There are strict procedures for everything related to "sending things to an inmate" in a federal high facility. This includes sending money for commissary packages, sending mail like letters with photos, magazine subscriptions, buying phone time, postcards and greeting cards, and even distance learning courses (get your degree, you've got a lot of extra time). You also need to know about visitation, what are the hours and rules.

All of the information you could ever need to know is below, patiently scroll the page and get as much information about Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles that you'd ever want to know. If there is anything that you were looking for, but don't see, please email us at aid@inmateaid.com.

How To Send Money:

How to Send an Inmate Money in California

These are general guidelines for sending money to an inmate's Trulincs account. Inmates need money to access several privileges like weekly commissary visits, outbound phone calls, using Corrlinks email, electronic tablets where offered and paying their co-pay when needing the medical or dental services.

What is a Commissary?

A commissary is a store within the correctional institution. Commissary day is usually held once a week and can only be enjoyed if the inmate has funds in their commissary account. An inmate's commissary account is like a bank account within the institution. If the inmate has a job, their paycheck is deposited into this account, too.

The Commissary sells various products that the inmates may purchase if they have money on their books. The commissary sells clothing, shoes, snacks and food, as well as hygienic products like soap, shampoo, and shavers. The commissary might also sell entertainment-related products like books, magazines, televisions, radios, playing cards, headphones, MP3 players, electronic tablets like an iPad (no internet access), songs and educational programming.

The commissary also sells is paper, envelopes, and stamps which allows the inmate to write their loved ones, friends and family. Most facilities will provide stamps and paper to inmates who are indigent – that means that there can be no money in their commissary account for at least 30 days to become eligible.

How you send money to an inmate?

Sending money to an inmate varies from state to state, depending if it is county, state or federal, their ways of accepting money for inmates’ changes by the money transfer company they’ve contracted with.

Federal Prisons and some state-level prisons have centralized banking systems which means that you do not need to know where they are specifically, just that they are in the state systems of for instance the California, Texas, Florida DOC or the FBOP to name a few.

Some facilities will allow you to deposit cash through the lobby window stand-alone kiosk in the lobby or visitation room. Most facilities will also accept a postal money order mailed to the institution’s inmate mailing address made payable to the full inmate’s name.

Electronic banking allows friends and family members to send the funds online, and correctional departments are starting to favor this method because it is less work for staff and more accurate/easier to keep track of, as well as being more convenient.

Regardless of the method of sending funds, there are several key things you will need to know:
• Inmate’s full committed name
• Inmate’s ID number
• Inmate’s location – or a system like the federal BOP

Before sending any funds you should find out what online transfer companies the institution your inmate is incarcerated in uses. You can find this information on our site by navigating to the facilities page click on the Money Transfer button under the address and phone number.

Pay close attention to the rules of the facility. Sometimes they will require money senders are on the inmate's visitation list. Some correctional facilities have a deposit limit, like $200-300 at a time, but in federal, there is no limit.

Use MoneyGram to get the funds there instantly. How do I send money using MoneyGram?

Sending funds using MoneyGram to a BOP facility
Inmates can receive funds at a BOP-managed facility, which are deposited into their commissary accounts. You can send inmate funds electronically using MoneyGram's ExpressPayment Program.
1. Funds are received and processed seven days per week, including holidays.
2. Funds sent between 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. EST are posted within 2-4 hours.
3. Funds sent after 9:00 p.m. EST is posted at 7:00 a.m. EST the following morning.

To send funds to your federal inmate, please read and follow these steps carefully:
1. Wait until your inmate has physically arrived at an FBOP facility.
2. You'll need the following information:

  • Account Number: Inmate's eight-digit register number with no spaces or dashes, followed immediately by the inmate's last name (example: 12345678DOE).
  • Company Name: Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • City & State: Washington, DC
  • Receive Code is always: 7932 and the amount you are sending (up to $300).
  • Beneficiary: Inmate's full committed name

3. CLICK to send the funds through MoneyGram over the internet
4. First-time users will have to set up a profile and account.
5. A MasterCard or Visa credit/debit card is required.

Who else can access the money you send?

An inmate with fines or restitution will be subject to commissary/trust account garnishment. If the inmate has these financial obligations, they will be extracted from the inmate’s bank account. It may be a percentage or the entire amount depending on the situation. We recommend inmates who are going into their bid contact the counselor and make an arrangement beforehand. If you go in knowing they are taking 20-25% of all deposits is better than have them take it all and you find out in the commissary line when the account is zero.

Why is my inmate asking for more than I normally send?

This is generally a signal that the inmate is doing something they shouldn’t and need money to get them out of or through a situation. It could be gambling, it could be extortion it could be other things you don’t need to know on this forum (for now). Set boundaries with your inmate. Tell them that “this is the amount I can send each month” and that is it. There are no extras beyond the boundary.

Also, NEVER send money to the account of another inmate on your inmate’s instruction. This is a sign that something is not right. If the corrections people discover this, and they do more times than not, it will result in some severe disciplinary action to the inmate, and certainly the loss of all privileges.

Who can I call if I suspect something?

We recommend speaking with the counselor or case manager of the facility and use a generic reference in the event that your suspicions are wrong. You needn’t put them in a more difficult position if they are.

Inmate Care Packages:

How to Buy Inmate Commissary Care Packages Online

Show your loved one how much you care – order a package today! The facilities usually have a weekly limit of about $100 per inmate, plus processing and tax. The orders do NOT count towards the inmates weekly commissary allowances Deposits can be made online for inmates 24/7 using a credit/debit card

There are also a few services that allow you how to order inmate commissary online. These trusted providers are approved and share revenue with the prisons from the sales to the inmates.

Here is a list of other similar programs prison commissary: Keefe Group, Access Securpak, iCareGifts, Union Supply Direct, Walkenhorst's, CareACell

Inmate Commissary:

What is Inmate Commissary?

Prison commissary (also sometimes referred to as inmate canteen) is a store for inmates housed within a correctional facility. While the very most basics may be provided for by a given correctional department, there are also other important goods/services that Florida prisoners and inmates must buy. For instance, supplies such as supplementary food, female hygiene products, books, writing utensils and a plethora of other things are examples of things that can be purchased as part of an inmate commissary packages for goods.

What is an Inmate trust account?

When you add money to an inmate account, the prison funds are stored on an inmate trust fund. This prison account basically acts as a personal bank account of an inmate. They will use this account to make Inmate Calls, pay for postage to Send Photos from Inmates, send emails from inmates, purchase Items from Commissary, receive wages from jobs, and more.

How To Send Mail:

This is how to send your inmate at Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles letters, photos, postcards, greeting cards and magazines

Incoming and outgoing inmate mail is subject to inspection for the presence of contraband that might threaten the safety, security or well-being of the jail/facility, its staff, and residents. Inmates may receive only metered, unstamped, plain white postcards no larger than 4" x 6" as mail. Writing must be in pencil or blue or black ink. Any other mail will be returned to the sender. If no return address is available, unauthorized mail will be stored in the inmate's locker until the inmate's release.

Inmate mail cannot contain any of the following: Create an immediate threat to jail order by describing the manufacture of weapons, bombs, incendiary devices, or tools for escape that realistically are a danger to jail security; Advocate violence, racial supremacy or ethnic purity; No current inmate-to-inmate mail will be allowed and will be destroyed.

The easiest workaround is to look over the mailing services of InmateAid. We have an automated system for sending your loved one that special message or picture. We send thousands of pieces of mail per month with NO issues with the prisons or jails. The envelopes display the InmateAid logo, the mail room knows for certain that the contents will not be compromising. This trust was established in 2012.

How To Send Greeting Cards and Postcards:

Greeting cards are great for the holidays and birthdays. The ones from the store often have more than just the message because the policies surrounding appropriate content (no nudity or sexually suggestive material no matter how funny), and they cannot have glitter, stickers or anything else that makes the card different from a normal plain old card. Instead of going to the Hallmark store in the mall and looking around for hours - go to our easy to search Greeting Cards service.

It takes literally 45 seconds and it's very affordable for what you're getting (and what they are getting, too!). Select from 100s of birthday, anniversary and every holiday you can think of, and VERY easy to send from your phone on InmateAid:

Don't forget Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, Father's Day, New Year's, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Passover, Easter, Kwanzaa or Valentine's Day!

In less than a minute and only $0.99, this act of kindness will be worth a million to your inmate. If you have a picture or two and don't want to write a long letter. Type out a little love in the message box and send your latest selfie... only 99 cents!

Don't wait until the moment has passed, it's easy and convenient to let them know you're thinking of them at every moment.

How To Send magazines and Books:

Send magazines to Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - Los Angeles at 535 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA

Send the best magazines and books to your Inmate in jail or prison, it's the gift that keeps on giving all year round, There is nothing more exciting to an inmate (besides their release date) than getting their favorite magazine every month at mail call.

Magazines and books must come directly from the publisher. You are not allowed to send single magazines in an envelope. They need to come directly from the publisher with your inmate's name affixed to the address label. Magazine subscriptions are easy to set up, it takes literally 2 minutes.

You know when you go into the grocery and browse the new magazines on display? You see hundreds. Inside they place a little card that if you fill it out and send it in with your inmate's name, ID number and facility address - you drop it in the mail and in 8-12 weeks your inmate gets an issue every month for a whole year. Thankfully, there is an easier way, just CLICK here and browse yourself. Select a title or two and add your inmate's name to the order. It's fast, it's reliable and it's at a discounted rate for your convenience.

How To Save Money on Inmate Calls

The prison phone companies have a monopoly at the facility they have a contract with. Profits are shared so there is no incentive for their representatives to show you how to save money. They post their rates and in almost every case, there are at least two pricing tiers. Depending on where you are and where your inmate is, the type of phone number you use will make all the difference.

In federal prison, the answer is simply that a new local number will change your inmate's call rate from $.21 per minute to only $.06 per minute. Fed gives you only 300 minutes per month, the local line service is only $8.95, no hidden fees or bundling of other unwanted service charges

For the other facilities that are not federal, it used to be that a local number was the answer. Now, its market intelligence and InmateAid has made it their business to know what the best deal is in every scenario. And we can tell you that in 30% of the cases, we cannot save you a penny - and neither can anyone else. But we will give you a refund if we can't save you money.

For more specific information on inmate calls, you will want to navigate to the facility your inmate is incarcerated in through our site by going to Prison Directory and following the links to the Discount Telephone Service - get an honest estimate before you buy.

Ask The Inmate

Ask a former inmate questions at no charge. The inmate answering has spent considerable time in the federal prison system, state and county jails, and in a prison that was run by the private prison entity CCA. Ask your question or browse previous questions in response to comments or further questions of members of the InmateAid community.

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