Mail & Books

Written correspondence can be an important and inexpensive way to maintain a close relationship with someone who is incarcerated. Inmates may purchase pre-stamped envelopes and postcards from the jail commissary.

Inmate Mail

Inmates may receive mail.

Allowable mail must meet U.S. Postal Services requirements and be delivered through the U.S. Mail. U.S. Mail will be accepted into the facility unless deemed contraband as stated in the Rejection of Inmate Mail section.

All incoming mail must be properly addressed with the inmate’s name and county identification number (CID) and be mailed to the following locations based on the facility the inmate is housed in:

Northern Branch Jail

Name, CID number
Santa Barbara County Northern Branch Jail
2301 Black Road
Santa Maria, CA 93455

Southern Branch Jail

Name, CID number
Santa Barbara County Jail
4436 Calle Real
Santa Barbara, CA 93110

There is no limit to the amount of mail an inmate may receive. If the amount of mail in an inmate’s cell is excessive and poses a fire hazard, it may be placed into the inmate’s property or mailed out at the inmate’s expense.

The Custody Deputy will inspect mail for contraband and security issues. These issues include jail management and criminal activity.

Incoming mail generally takes several days to process and deliver to inmates. Incoming mail will be delivered to the inmate providing they are free from articles, words, drawings, pictures, or suggestions of hatred, violence, frontal nudity, jail safety and security compromises, or other issues which may jeopardize the legitimate interest of the jail facilities.


The following rules will govern inmate mail privileges:

Contraband includes but is not limited to:


Book are only accepted through a publisher. Books that are pornographic or pose a threat to the security and safety of the jail will not be accepted. The publisher must place an invoice with the book or it will be returned.

 Allowable items include new softbound, paperback books, subscription newspapers, and subscription magazines that are properly addressed and have been delivered from a publishing company or originate from a verifiable and reputable internet/mail order company or a bookstore via their internet or mail order facilities (i.e.,,, etc.).

All books and periodicals must be delivered through the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, or other recognized carriers. These items will be thoroughly inspected.

Newspapers, books and magazines mailed by individual parties (with the exception of attorneys and the courts) will not be accepted for delivery.

Newspapers, books and magazines will be delivered to inmates providing they are free of:

  1. Articles, words, drawings, pictures, or suggestions of:
  2. Hatred;
  3. Violence;
  4. Frontal nudity; and
  5. Facility safety problems and security compromises.
  6. Material likely to incite the reader to commit any illegal act; or
  7. Other material or subject matter which may jeopardize the safety and security of the facility.


A maximum of five (5) photographs per piece of U.S. mail may be mailed to inmates in an envelope addressed to the Santa Barbara County Jail. “PHOTOGRAPHS” must be clearly marked on the outside of the envelope. The inmate’s name, booking and CID Number must be written on the back of each photograph. Nothing else is to be written on the photographs.

Photographs MUST adhere to the guidelines listed in this policy. Which include, but are not limited to the following:

Mail the postcard or photograph to the location identified above in the “Inmate Mail” section of this page

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