Crime & Justice

LA jails expect surge of visitors over holiday

Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles.
Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles.
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

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Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials expect a surge of visitors to the jails over the next few days, as family members visit locked up loved ones during the holidays.

“There’s definitely an increase,” said Sheriff’s Captain Joe Dempsey, who oversees operations at Men’s Central Jail in downtown. “Christmas we usually run about 500 people visiting and then it will get busier through Saturday and Sunday.”

He expects as many as 800 visitors each day Saturday and Sunday. But that still means only a fraction of the more than 4,000 inmates at Men’s Central will get a visitor.

“I think its various reasons – whether they don’t have family in the area or they’re not in touch with their family anymore,” Dempsey said.

Even though it might be a tough time to be behind bars, where there are no Christmas trees or stockings or brightly wrapped gifts, the jails are usually quiet during the holidays, said Dempsey.

“There’s not a whole lot of tension – not at all," he said.

On Friday, Roman Catholic Bishop Jose Gomez will conduct Mass inside the downtown lockup. Jail chaplains from other Christian denominations will also hold Christmas Day services at Men’s Central Jail and other jail facilities in the county.

Here’s a list of the visiting times.

Men’s Central Jail (MJC)

Century Regional Detention Facility (CDRF)

Twin Towers Correctional Facility (TTCF)

Pitchess Detention Center