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San Diego County Inmate Search

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San Diego County Inmate Search

A San Diego County, California inmate search is a service utilized to find individuals who are or were incarcerated in a San Diego County detention facility. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department, state agencies, federal agencies, and various independent service providers offer these search services.

Following the commission of a punishable offense in San Diego County, the offender may be arrested, prosecuted, incarcerated, or detained within the California Criminal Justice System.

Cal. Pen. Code § 834 defines an arrest in San Diego as taking a person into custody in ways permitted by law. As per the section, an arrest may be made by a peacekeeping officer or a private person. Under Cal. Pen. Code § 836 and § 837, committing a public offense in the presence of a peacekeeping officer or a private person can warrant an arrest. Furthermore, both sections permit an arrest when an offender commits a felony. Regardless of whether a peacekeeping officer or a private person was present when the felony offense was committed. A person may also be arrested in compliance with a warrant for their arrest. Cal. Pen. Code § 15 defines a "public offense" as committing any act that violates a law forbidding or condemning it.

In San Diego, following an arrest, the arrestee would be sent to jail and booked. Once at a detention facility,the arrestee’s fingerprints and personal information will be collected and used to create an official arrest report during the booking process. The information is typically published on San Diego County Public Record databases and made available to persons who perform a county inmate search. The arrested person would be permitted to call a loved one within three hours after being booked. After which, either of the following may occur:

  • The arrestee is released if the prosecutor decides not to file charges.
  • The arrestee may be granted bail and promptly released after posting the required bond amount, but they will still need to appear in court for arraignment later on.
  • If the arrestee fails to post bail, they will be further detained for between two (2) to five (5) days until arraignment.

The arrestee would be allowed to enter a plea during the arraignment after being read the charges made against them. The defendant may receive a sentence to serve a brief or lengthy period in jail or prison, depending on the plea they submitted and the details of their case.

Offenders sentenced to less than a year (typically for misdemeanors or non-violent offenses) may be sent to one of six (6) jails run by the San Diego Sheriff's Department. Offenders who commit more serious crimes (such as felonies) may receive sentences of more than a year, which they may be sentenced to serve in the county's state prison. The county's state prison is operated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

Inmate records are considered public in the United States and therefore are made available by both traditional governmental agencies as well as third-party websites and organizations. Third-party websites may offer an easier means to search, as these services do not face geographical limitations. However, because third-party sites are not government-sponsored, the information obtained through them may vary from official channels. To find inmate records using third-party aggregate sites, requesting parties must provide:

  • The location of the sought-after record, including state, county, and city where the inmate resides.
  • The name of the person listed in the record, unless it is a juvenile.

San Diego Crime and Incarceration Statistics

Each year, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department produces and publishes an annual report that details and summarizes its operations for the year. According to the 2021 annual report, 15,404 arrests were made in San Diego County. Of the 15,404 arrests made, 7,341 were felony arrests, 7,626 were misdemeanor arrests, and 437 were other arrests. Other arrests include and are not limited to infractions/citations, failure to obey juvenile court orders, county/municipal ordinances, and narcotic seizures.

According to the report, property crime (9,120 in total) was the most committed crime in 2021. Larceny theft, recorded at 5,692, comprised most of the property crimes committed in 2021. On the other hand, there were 2,706 violent offenses reported, with aggravated assault (2,093) being the most common.

Compared to the 2020 annual report, which recorded 16,433 arrests, the county recorded around a 6.7% decrease in arrests in 2021.

San Diego Prison System

The San Diego Sheriff's Department's Detention Services Bureau oversees the San Diego prison system. In total, the department operates seven (7) detention facilities located in the county. These facilities have a combined daily average of 5,000 inmates. The following is a list of these facilities.

  • San Diego Central Jail.
  • East Mesa Reentry Facility
  • George Bailey Detention Facility
  • Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility.
  • South Bay Detention Facility
  • Vista Detention Facility
  • Facility 8 Detention Facility

In addition to housing, booking, and classifying inmates, the department is responsible for providing several high-quality services for county inmates. These include medical, mental health, food, counseling, recreation, religion, education, and job training services.

Furthermore, the county’s prison system operations are subject to the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC). The BSCC sets the standards for local detention facilities and ensures these standards are met through regular inspections.

How to Find an Inmate in San Diego

The easiest way to find an inmate of any San Diego county jail facility is by using the online inmate search portal maintained by the county sheriff's department. On the portal, inquirers can enter an inmate's first and last name on the search form and click the “lookup” button to perform an inmate search. The details of inmates whose name matches will be displayed on the result page if one is discovered. This information includes and is not limited to their housing location, arrest information, and case/charge information.

To learn more about and ask additional questions about an inmate, inquirers may contact the detention facilities where they are currently being held. Note that the Chula Vista city police department maintains an independent list of inmates held in the city’s jail.

Alternatively, inquirers may contact the San Diego county police department at (858) 974-2222 to find inmates in the county.

How Does a San Diego Inmate Search Work?

Per the California Public Record Act (CPRA), San Diego inmates' information is considered public information except when exempted from disclosure under the act. As a result, when someone conducts a search using the county sheriff's department's inmate search portal, a range of information about an inmate is made publicly available. This information includes

  • The inmate’s personal information
    • Booking number
    • Last, first, and middle names
    • Date of birth
    • Sex
    • Race/ethnicity
    • Age
    • Hair
    • Eyes
    • Height
    • Weight
  • The inmate’s housing location
    • Facility Name
    • Address
    • Area
    • City
  • The inmate’s arrest information
    • Arrest agency
    • Date booked
    • Time booked
  • Bail information
  • Case /Charges information
    • Cases number
    • Offense Description
    • Charges class
    • Court Name
    • Court date and time
    • Reason on the Calendar (ROC)
    • Bail amount.

Where to Find a San Diego Inmate Locator

An inmate locator is a database service that allows inquirers access to information on inmates who have been detained or incarcerated in a particular jail or prison facility. Correctional agencies typically maintain these services at local, state, and federal levels as public service tools. Inmate locators are used to find where released inmates currently reside and obtain certain publically accessible information on them.

To access the San Diego inmate locator, interested parties should visit the county sheriff's department website. However, the inmate locator service maintained by the department only provides information on inmates currently held in any of the county’s detention facilities. An inquirer must supply the inmate's first and last name to conduct a search.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) also provides an inmate locator service. Inquirers can use this inmate locator service to access information on inmates housed in a state prison located within San Diego County. For instance, inquirers can look up the details of inmates housed within the Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF or RJD) using the CDCR inmate locator service.

On the other hand, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmate locator tool allows users to search for federal inmates (those confined in federal detention facilities). The BOP is a federal agency responsible for maintaining federal prisons.

Inquirers may also opt to use third-party websites to obtain public records on inmates. These websites typically offer inmate records at a fee. These fees usually vary by service provider. Although the search criteria used in performing searches on these websites may vary, the most commonly requested information includes the inmates' names and a U.S. state name.

How to Send Money to a San Diego Inmate

The San Diego commissary e-commerce website is primarily used to send money to inmates held within county detention facilities. An account is created for an offender at their booking into a county correctional facility. Initially, these accounts are funded using money found on the arrestee at the time of their arrest. Subsequently, the inmate's family and friends can fund the inmate’s account.

Interested parties may visit the San Diego commissary e-commerce website to deposit money into an inmate's account by using the inmate’s booking number and a valid credit card. Accepted cards include Visa, MasterCard, and American Express cards. Depositors should note that the maximum deposit at a time is $500, all deposits are non-refundable, and deposits are subject to a $3.25 transaction fee. Inmates can access money deposited into their accounts 15 minutes after a successful transaction.

How to Visit a San Diego Inmate

In San Diego, interested parties may conduct an in-person or virtual visit with inmates held within detention facilities located in the county. For in-person visits, same-day visits are generally not allowed in any detention facility. Thus, visitors would need to make a visit reservation in advance. Each detention facility maintains its dedicated telephone numbers that visitors can use to make a visit reservation. Interested parties can make in-person and video visit reservations by contacting the following numbers between 6:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

  • San Diego Central Jail (SDCJ): (619) 610-1647
  • Las Colinas Detention & Reentry Facility (LCDRF): (619) 402-1312
  • Vista Detention Facility (VDF): (760) 936-0014
  • George Bailey Detention Facility (GBDF): (619) 210-0385
  • South Bay Detention Facility (SBDF): (619) 213-1433
  • East Mesa Reentry Facility (EMRF): 619-210-038

In addition to making reservations, visitors must adhere to several rules and regulations that govern inmate visits. Although these rules usually differ by facility, some of the most common across facilities include:

  • Visit reservations are subject to a “first come, first served” rule and are subject to change without prior notice.
  • Visitors must check in 30 minutes before their visit.
  • No visitors are allowed to visit inmates detained in the following housing modules.;
    • COVID-19 Positive Module
    • Suspected COVID-19 (SPUI) module.
  • Visitors must make visit reservations at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Visitors under 18 years must be accompanied by a qualified adult (a parent, court-appointed legal guardian, or a legal custodian). The adult must be cleared for the visit and possess valid photo identification.
  • Except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays, in-person visits are available five (5) days a week.

Furthermore, while some detention facilities (SBDF, EMRF, and LCDRF) allow a maximum of two (2) visitors(1 adult and a child) at a time, others (VDF, SDCJ, and GBDF) allow three (3) visitors per visit. Social visits can last between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on the facility and its housing units.

On the other hand, video visitation is available seven (7) days a week in all facilities. Before scheduling a video visit, visitors would need to create an account with the third-party website (securustech. online) utilized by detention facilities in San Diego. Video visits are usually 30 minutes in length. Note that SBDF does not allow video visitation. Each facility's in-person and video visitation times and schedules are available on their visitation webpages (links provided above).

Individuals on probation or parole must request visit authorization before scheduling a visit at any detention facility.

How to Send Jail Mail in San Diego

There is no limit to the amount of mail an inmate in San Diego can get or send. On the San Diego Sheriff's Department website "sending mail and packages" webpage, there is a sample of how an envelope or package used for sending items should look and be addressed.

Generally, the mail must contain both the inmate's and sender's details. These include the inmate’s name, booking number, facility, the sender’s name, and a return address. The County Sheriff's Department Jail mailing address is as follows:

Mail Processing Center
451 Riverview Parkway, Building C
Santee, CA 92071

All mail sent and received is subject to search and inspection for contraband. There are some exceptions for legal mail between inmates and their attorneys. Such that they may be inspected for contraband but not read.

A detailed list of accepted and prohibited mail items is available on the county sheriff's department “sending mail and packages” webpage. Some of these items include:

Acceptable Items

  • Books and publications from a trustworthy merchant or publisher
  • Legal correspondents from legal entities such as courts, law enforcement agencies, attorneys, and government agencies
  • Regular mails containing letters, money orders, and checks

Prohibited Items

  • Food
  • Cosmetics
  • Perishables items
  • Unknown substances
  • Polaroid photos
  • Glass, tobacco products, wood, and jewelry items.

San Diego Jails and Prisons

The following is a list containing the names, addresses, and contact information of detention, prison, and jail facilities found in San Diego, California.

San Diego county detention facilities

San Diego Central Jail
1173 Front Street
San Diego, CA 92101.
Phone: (619) 610-1647

East Mesa Reentry Facility
446 Alta Road, Ste. 5200
San Diego, CA 92158
Phone: (619) 210-0385

George Bailey Detention Facility
446 Alta Road. Ste. 5300
San Diego, CA 92158
Phone: (619) 210-0385

Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility
451 Riverview Parkway, Santee
CA 92071
Phone: (619) 402-1312

South Bay Detention Facility
500 Third Ave.
Chula Vista, CA 91910.
Phone: (619) 213-1433

Vista Detention Facility
325 S. Melrose
Dr, 200 Vista, CA 92081
Phone: (760) 936-0014

Facility 8 Detention Facility (juvenile detention center)
446 Alta Rd,
San Diego, CA 92158
Phone: (619) 210-0327

State Prisons in San Diego County.

R_ichard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD)_
480 Alta Road,
San Diego, CA 92179
Phone: (619) 661-6500

Federal Prisons in San Diego County

Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC)
808 Union St.
San Diego, CA 92101.
Phone: (619) 232-4311
Fax: (619) 595-0390