The Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Michigan

Oakland County has one jail located next to the Circuit Court building on Telegraph Road. Deputies from the Sheriff’s Department manage the facility and guard the inmates.

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What You Need to Know About the Oakland County Jail

Oakland County built its main jail in the early 1970s. The jail is a maximum security facility housing over 400 male and female inmates. The intake area for processing new arrests includes holding tanks and observation cells, which accommodate as many as 156 inmates. After several days in the intake area, and a security classification process, the jail staff moves inmates to one of several long-term housing units.

Medical staff operates a health clinic at the jail. The clinic has seven single cells for those needing more intensive medical treatment. A Jail Annex was completed in 1987 and is attached to the Main Jail. The Annex houses approximately 500 additional inmates.

The jail population consists of those awaiting trial or sentencing on misdemeanor or felony matters or servicing jail sentences of one year or less.

Responsibilities of the Oakland County Sheriff

The law requires the Oakland County Sheriff to operate the jail. The Sheriff is responsible for the care and custody of inmates, including but not limited to such activities as:

  • Meals
  • Medical services
  • Clothing
  • Receipt of private clothing for court
  • The temporary storage of inmates’ personal items
  • Maintaining a safe and secure environment
  • Providing support programming such as religious services, therapy and counseling, crisis intervention, and adult education
  • Inmate recreation
  • Providing opportunities for visitation

How to Post Bond at the Oakland County Jail

The Bonding Area, in the back of the Sheriff’s Department, is maintained and operational on a 24-hour basis. Bonds can be paid in the bonding area. Cash bonds of $10,000 or more must be paid at the court. Friends and family can pay an inmate’s bond with cash, a credit card, or a cashier’s check made out to the “Oakland County Sheriff’s Office” or through a Bail Bondsman. In addition, Bonds may be paid by phone (888-604-7888) with a live operator or online at at any time. accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. If inmates cannot afford to pay their bond, their attorney can file a Motion to Reduce Bond Amount. An inmate’s accounts can be used to pay the bond in whole or part with that person’s approval.

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Inmate Guide for the Oakland County Jail

The Oakland County Sheriff maintains an online guide for inmates serving time at the jail. New inmates receive a paper copy of the guide when they are initially processed. The guide has helpful information regarding the following:

  • Jail Infractions and Sanctions
  • Communications and Mail
  • Reporting Sexual Misconduct
  • Grievance Procedures
  • Medical Services
  • Casework Services and Programs
  • General Inmate Information
  • Visitation (in person and video) and Phone Calls
  • Fees, Reimbursement, and Bond
  • U.S. Veteran’s Services

According to the guide, “The Rules and Regulations which have been established for prisoners in the Oakland County Jail are intended to preserve the safety and welfare of all those housed in the Jail Facility. Your compliance with these rules shall be required at all times. Apart from those rules listed below, you are required to obey any and all posted or verbal orders provided to you by the Corrections Staff.

The guide outlines many potential jail infractions and divides them into three Categories. Category I infractions are the most severe. Sanctions for Category I violations might include administrative segregation, lockdown, food sanctions, loss of good time and visitation privileges, and more. Category II sanctions include loss of privileges, extra work duty, increased security level, and loss of commissary. Sanctions for the least severe infractions, Category III, include verbal reprimands, loss of a privilege, loss of dayroom privileges for up to 48 hours, and counseling.

Mail Privileges

Family and friends can send mail to Oakland County Jail inmates. Any letters should be addressed as follows:

Oakland County Jail
Inmate [name] – Inmate No [number]
P.O. Box 436017
Pontiac, MI 48343

An inmate’s Oakland County criminal defense lawyer must clearly identify legal mail on the envelope. Guards will open legal mail in the inmate’s presence and inspect it for contraband. Inmates can receive news publications and magazines if pre-paid and sent directly from the publisher. Prohibited mail includes anything containing nudity, gang-related, or from other inmates.

Sexual Assualt and Misconduct at the Oakland County Jail

Sexual harassment, activity, and assaults are strictly prohibited at the jail. This includes consensual and nonconsensual sexual contact between inmates, guards, or anyone entering the facility. According to the Sheriff’s guide, deputies will thoroughly investigate and prosecute any instances of assault, misconduct, or harassment. Inmates can verbally report any cases of misconduct using the jail’s SmartInmate system, sending an electronic request, kite, or grievance form, or making a telephone report via the inmate phone system.

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How to Obtain Medical Services

Unfortunately, the Oakland County Jail is notorious for failing to provide inmates with adequate medical care and treatment. Inmates must often suffer without needed medical treatment, medication, or therapy. Inmates must submit medical treatment requests and grievances through the SmartInmate Communication System. Many inmates suffer from alcohol or drug withdrawal when initially incarcerated. Inmates experiencing tremors, nausea, or other related symptoms must seek medical attention through SmartInmate. The Sheriff’s Department charges inmates for medical clinic visits, dental treatment, prescription medication, and outside medical treatment (when necessary); however, the Sheriff claims they will not deny medical treatment if an inmate cannot pay.

Mental Health Treatment

Caseworkers are available at the jail for inmates suffering from depression, stress, anxiety, or problems adjusting to the jail. At sentencing, inmates with mental health histories should ask judges to consider the jail’s Mental Health Diversion Program (JAWS). It is common for inmates to feel depressed. Those having trouble sleeping, eating, or feeling helpless or confused, should request assistance from a counselor through the SmartInmate Communication System or immediate help from a Deputy.

How to Serve Time Without Problems at the Oakland County Jail

If you are facing the possibility of incarceration in the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Michigan, there are some things you should know to prepare yourself. Also, there are steps you can take to avoid conflicts with other inmates and guards during your time in jail.

First, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the jail. This information can typically be found online or by speaking with an experienced Oakland County attorney. Make sure you understand what is expected of you while incarcerated, such as adhering to a schedule and following behavioral guidelines.

Secondly, try to maintain a positive attitude and be respectful towards other inmates and guards. Avoid engaging in arguments or confrontations. Remember that jail can be a stressful and challenging environment for everyone involved, and maintaining a level head can go a long way in avoiding trouble.

It is also important to stay busy and productive during your time in jail. The Oakland County Jail offers some educational and vocational programs, religious services, and access to books and other resources. Taking advantage of these opportunities can help you pass the time and improve your odds of staying out of trouble once you’re released.

Finally, it is crucial to have a support system in place during and after your incarceration. A support system can include family members, friends, and community organizations that can offer emotional support and assistance with re-entry into society. Remember that your time in jail does not define who you are. Resources are available to help you move forward and create a positive future for yourself.

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Alternatives to Incarceration at the Oakland County Jail

The jail offers programs that are available to help reduce the time inmates must serve on a sentence. The Oakland County Jail’s programs include:

  • Cognitive Behavior Program (CBP) – A six (6) week program resulting in a 25% sentence reduction.
  • Life and Employment Skills Program for Misdemeanors (LESP) – A four (4) week program resulting in a 25% sentence reduction.
  • Zero-Tolerance Program (ZTP) – Inmates participating in ZTP are released from jail and must regularly test for alcohol and drugs while living in the community.

Inmate Release

The jail releases inmates at 12:01 a.m. on the last day of their sentence if they have transportation waiting and checked in at the jail. Inmates without transportation get released during the day shift.

Video Visitation and Phone Calls with Inmates at OCJ

The jail provides family and friends the opportunity to visit with Oakland County Jail inmates via video or virtual visitation on all days other than Monday and Tuesday. Inmates get one free 30-minute visit per week, and working inmates get two. Inmates and their families and friends can purchase additional visits through Smart Communications.

Inmates can make pre-paid calls from the jail on any day of the week. Inmate families and friends can deposit funds in a separate account for pre-paid calls. Other than legal calls with criminal defense attorneys, all calls are recorded by the jail.

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Oakland County Jail

What is Oakland County Jail like?

The jail has various sections for medium, maximum, mental health, and sex offenders. It is generally an unpleasant place to spend time; however, it is survivable if inmates keep to themselves and stay out of trouble. A good defense lawyer gives an inmate their best chance of getting out of jail on bond or with a lenient sentence.

Where is Oakland County Jail?

The Oakland County Jail is located at 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Pontiac, Michigan. The Jail is across the street from the Oakland County Circuit Court.

Where is Oakland County Jail located?

OCJ is located in the Oakland County complex located on North Telegraph in Pontiac.

Where is the Oakland County Jail?

As mentioned, the jail is at 1200 N. Telegraph in Pontiac, Michigan.

Do inmates at Oakland County Jail get hot meals?

Yes, inmates at the Oakland County jail get hot meals.

Do visits to Oakland County Jail cost money?

In-person visits do not cost money. Inmates get some virtual visits for free. Additional visits can be purchased from Smart Communications.

Does Oakland County Jail accept American Express?

The jail accepts American Express to post bond through

Does Oakland County Jail have a diversion program for alcoholics?

The jail offers 12-Step group meetings provided by volunteers from the community who are in a successful stage of recovery.

How bad is Oakland County Jail?

Although the jail is a maximum security facility, inmates report that it is not as bad as most maximum security prisons in the Michigan Department of Corrections. Needless to say, it is an unpleasant place to spend time.

How to add money to the commissary at Oakland County Jail?

You can deposit money into an inmate’s trust account, through the Smart Communications website. You can contact Smart Communications Customer Care Center, toll-free, at 1-888-253-5178. Friends and family can drop off cash or money orders (no checks) at the Visitation Area of the main Oakland County Jail building at 1200 N. Telegraph, Pontiac, Michigan. The inmate’s name and number must be clearly written on the money order.

How to bail someone out of jail in Oakland County, Michigan?

Bail can be posted in the Bonding Area, in the back of the Sheriff’s Department.

How to call someone in Oakland County Jail?

Each inmate is allowed one free 15-minute telephone call per week. They can make additional pre-paid calls with sufficient money in their inmate trust account. Friends and family cannot call inmates. Calls are outbound only.

How to find an attorney to sue Oakland County Jail?

You can call the Oakland County Bar Association for a referral.

How to put money on books Oakland County Jail?

You can deposit money into an inmate’s account, through the Smart Communications website. You can also drop off cash or money orders at the Visitation Area of the main jail building.

How to send a letter to Oakland County Jail?

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office offers three ways to send mail to inmates. Friends and family can send regular U.S. postal mail, legal/business mail, and email. Inmates can access an electronic tablet to view, send, and respond to emails. Standard mail can be sent to (yes, the address is in Florida, but it makes its way to Michigan):

Oakland County Jail
Inmate Name – Inmate Number
PO Box 9103
Seminole, FL 33775-9103

Court documents, bank statements, magazines, and newspapers can be sent directly to the jail at the following address:

Oakland County Jail
Inmate Name – Inmate Number
PO Box 436017
Pontiac, MI 48343

To email an inmate, go to and sign up for an account.

How to survive Oakland County Jail?

Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the jail. Make sure you understand what is expected of you while incarcerated, such as adhering to a schedule and following behavioral guidelines. Try to maintain a positive attitude and be respectful towards other inmates and guards. Avoid engaging in arguments or confrontations.

How to write an inmate in Oakland County Jail?

You can send a letter as follows:

Oakland County Jail
Inmate Name – Inmate Number
PO Box 9103
Seminole, FL 33775-9103

Is Oakland County Jail bad?

Yes, if possible, you should avoid spending time in the jail. Anyone facing the possibility of jail time should consult with a qualified lawyer immediately.

Are Oakland County Jail visits behind glass?

In-person visits at the jail are behind glass or by video visitation.

What if I don’t pay my Oakland County Jail fee?

If you owe fees for your incarceration in jail, the County might pursue the unpaid balance through collections or a lawsuit.

What is it like in Oakland County Jail?

It is not a great place to spend time. There is very little freedom and many unpleasant characters to deal with. The food is tolerable at best.