Updated February 6, 2020
Located in the North County San Diego city of Vista, CA, the Vista Detention Facility is one of seven correctional facilities operated by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The Vista Jail houses up to 825 male and female adult detainees and inmates sentenced for California misdemeanor and/or felony crimes.
The Vista Jail is the primary intake point for individuals arrested in North County. The vast majority of those held in this facility are in the pre-trial stage.
The physical address and main phone number of the San Diego County Vista Jail are:
Vista Detention Facility
325 S. Melrose Dr, Ste 200
Vista, CA 92081
Our team of California criminal defense lawyers provide important information below, including many details about Vista Jail policies. For the benefit of family and friends of detainees currently held at the Vista Correctional Facility, the following topics are covered:
- 1. Locating a Potential Inmate
- 2. Bail Bonding in San Diego County
- 3. Phone Contact with Inmates
- 4. Commissary Account Funding
- 5. Visitation at the Vista Jail
- 6. VDF Mail Policies
- 7. Life at the Jail
- 8. Work Release Program
- 9. Talk to a Criminal Lawyer
1. San Diego County Inmate Search
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department provides up-to-date online information about all inmates currently in custody. Use the “Who’s in Jail” link to obtain information on an inmate. Those in custody will be identified by their date of birth and other descriptive characteristics.
You will find detailed information pertaining to your friend or family member’s arrest, including:
- Date and time of arrest
- Criminal charges
- Booking number
- Up-coming court date
- Projected release date (if set)
2. Posting Bail
In many cases, arrested individuals are given the opportunity to gain temporary freedom from incarceration by posting a bail bond. Bail payment is usually handled at the jail or with the help of a bail bondsman. For detailed information about specific bail amounts and payment options, call the facility at (760) 936-0014.
3. Vista Jail Communication Policies
California law mandates that all new detainees have the opportunity to make at least three free phone calls. These calls can be used to inform loved ones about an arrest and to seek assistance from a criminal lawyer.
Inmates at the Vista Detention Facility cannot receive incoming calls from family and friends, but they can call out using the Securus service. The website is user friendly, allowing you to establish an account, deposit funds, and purchase phone time. You can also call Securus at (800) 844-6591 to set up your inmate phone account. Options include direct monthly billing, “Advance Connect” prepaid calls, and an “Inmate Debit” plan, which allows the inmate to manage his or her own calling costs. Fees will be charged for all phone services.
The Vista Jail also offers e-mail for inmates. Messages are sent through the online “Who’s in Jail” application. The Sheriff’s website provides detailed information and instructions for e-mailing.
Please be aware that all inmate phone calls and messages at the San Diego County Vista Jail may be monitored and recorded, and incriminating statements can be used against the inmate in court. For this reason, it is best to avoid speaking about pending criminal charges over the phone.
4. Inmate Trust Accounts
Vista Detention Center inmates are provided with food and basic supplies, but may purchase additional comfort items from the weekly commissary. There are a variety of options available, including snacks, toiletries, and correspondence materials.
Inmate cash accounts start with any money found on the individual at the time of arrest. To add funds to an inmate’s account, you can deposit money:
- In person – “TouchPay” kiosks are located in the public lobby of the jail. Deposits are accepted daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily.
- Online – You can go online to sdsheriffcommissary.com to add spending money directly into your inmate’s account. You can also order gift packs on this website and purchase phone time.
- Mail — Cashier’s checks, money orders and government-issued checks are accepted for inmate cash account deposits, but personal checks are not.
Note: A Vista inmate’s commissary account balance cannot exceed $500. Questions about commissary are not handled through the main phone line for the jail, but at this number: (619) 661-2860.
5. Vista Correctional Facility Visitation
Visitation in Vista may be at the jail or through remote video visitation. Twenty-minute video visits, which are facilitated through your computer or Android device, can be set up through the Securus website.
General, “non-contact” visits with family and friends take place at the Vista Detention Center visitation area, where you will speak through a window screen equipped with telephone handsets. Visiting hours at the Vista Jail are designated according to the various housing locations within the facility, as outlined in the online Vista Sheriff’s visitation schedule.
Unless under disciplinary restriction, North San Diego County inmates can receive two 30-minute jail visits each week, with a limit of one visit per day. (The visit week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday.) To find out if an inmate has available social visits remaining for the week, please contact the Vista Detention Facility at (760) 936-0014.
Visitation opportunities are offered on a first come, first serve basis. Walk-in visitors will be accepted, on a space available basis, but you must check in one hour before the desired visit time. Same day and next day visit reservations may be made online or by phone up to two hours before the desired appointment time.
- Online: Make your visitation appointment on eVisit through the San Diego Sheriff’s “Who’s in Jail?” link. This service is available 24 hours/day every day except Tuesdays.
- By Phone: Call the Vista Jail between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday at (760) 936-0014.
Visitation rules at the Vista County Jail are as follows:
- All visitors must check in together one hour before the scheduled visit.
- Each visitor age 16 and older is required to present valid government issued photo identification or current high school identification.
- A maximum of 3 visitors (including children) are allowed for each visit.
- Minors must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.
- Visitors arriving late for their appointment may have the visit cancelled.
- If you are a convicted felon, are currently on parole, or have been released from jail in the past 90 days, you must have advanced written permission from the jail administrator to visit.
Please remember that all visits are monitored and recorded, which means it is best that you not discuss the accused’s alleged crime.
6. Mail Policies
You can send unlimited amounts of postal mail to a loved one in the Vista Detention Center, and he or she can purchase materials and stamps through commissary to send outgoing mail. Inmates who are without funds are provided with materials with which to send out two letters a week.
Mail for inmates should include your name and return address, and should be addressed as shown:
Inmate full name, Booking Number
Vista Detention Facility
325 S. Melrose Drive, Suite 200
Vista, CA 92081
You are allowed to enclose standard photographs 4” x 6” or smaller in your correspondence. Polaroid pictures, however, are not accepted. Many other items are prohibited for Vista Correctional Facility inmates and should not be sent through the mail. These include:
- Tobacco products
- Postage stamps or writing materials
- Greeting cards with embedded music or pop-ups
- Sexually explicit photos or communications
- Any material related to gang activity or advocating violence, crime, or racial hatred
- Books, newspapers or magazines
- Any brochure or item larger than 8.5” x 14”
- Items containing metal, glass, wood, rubber or hard plastic
- Construction paper/colored paper, tracing paper, confetti
- Crayon, paint, chalk, markers, whiteout, glitter, glue or tape
- Organic material (Hair clippings, flowers, leaves etc.)
- Items containing scent of any kind, lipstick marks or stains
Soft-cover books and magazines can be ordered and sent to Vista inmates directly from a publisher or vendor, such as amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.
7. Life and Health in Detention
After the booking process is complete, incoming Vista Detention Facility inmates are assessed and classified according to their offense, criminal history, and observed behavior. Housing units are assigned and privileges determined according to the classification level. If behavior becomes a problem, the inmate’s classification may be changed.
The facility provides a wide range of medical, dental and psychiatric services. Inmates are charged a co-pay of $3.00 for sick call visits from the jail’s medical staff, but are not denied medical treatment due to a lack of funds.
Prescription medication provided by family members is not generally accepted, but you may call the jail at (760) 936-0014 to alert the medical staff to your inmate’s needs.
Many programs are offered for Vista County Jail detainees, including 12-step substance abuse meetings, “Veterans Moving Forward,” vocational training, and religious services. Consult the Sheriff’s Inmate Programs page for a complete list of inmate programs.
The Vista Correctional Facility has a stated mission to provide a safe, secure environment for incarcerated individuals. The Sheriff’s office pledges a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual assault or sexual harassment in the jail, following the precepts of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Any violations should be reported for investigation.
8. Alternative Custody Programs
The Vista Detention Facility offers several alternative custody programs for qualifying inmates, such as: a Work Furlough Program run by the San Diego County Probation Department. Inmates are housed in downtown San Diego at a designated Work Furlough Facility. There is a daily fee of $42 charged to participate in this program.
More information on the work release program can be found online. There is also an electronic home monitoring detention program, as well as a “fire camp” opportunity in San Diego. More information can be obtained online or by calling the jail.
9. Talk to a Criminal Lawyer
If your loved one has been charged with a California crime, he or she can often successfully fight the charges. The experienced criminal attorneys at the California Legal Defense Group have obtained justice for many past clients. We aggressively challenge damaging allegations and can help you or your loved one avoid a jail sentence and permanent criminal record. For a free consultation and case assessment, please call 24/7 or contact us online.