(A resource guide for anyone whose children are detained at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Hall in San Diego County)
The facility is located in Birdland at:
2801 Meadow Lark Drive,
San Diego, CA 92123
Below our San Diego CA criminal defense lawyers will explain the following:
- 1. Intake procedure at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility
- 2. How to contact a child
- 3. Visiting procedures and schedule at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Hall
- 4. Rules and regulations on mail correspondence
1. Intake procedure at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility
Upon admission of minors at the San Diego Juvenile Hall, they are supplied with the proper care and safe haven while in detention. At first, minors are subject to a physical inspection for any illegal items (e.g. drugs, weapons, and others alike) to be confiscated upon discovery. Secondly, minors are subject to a medical examination to determine any health concerns so that they can be addressed as necessary.
Personal items required to maintain their hygiene are provided for them individually as often as necessary. Sharing and recycling of these items with other minors are strictly prohibited which is part of the proper hygiene practice as enforced by the facility. These items include personal clothing, footwear, bedding, and toiletries.
When do minors get released?
Minors who are detained at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility are held in custody for on average less than a month. They are awaiting adjudication or case assessment for permanent placement and rehabilitation. When a petition is not filed by the San Diego District Attorney, they will be released with certain restrictions mandated by the San Diego County Probation Department.
Other minors who require longer-term detention will be placed in the various commitment options offered by the San Diego County Probation Department. Once the minors are ready for discharge, their Probation Officers will be in contact with their parents and/or legal guardians to arrange their pick-up. This procedure may take a few hours after parents check in at the facility.
If a minor reaches the age of 18 while at the facility, he/she will get transferred to an adult jail — most likely the San Diego Central Jail.
NOTE: It costs $31 per day to accommodate a minor at the Kearny Juvenile Detention Facility. Parents are billed for each day a minor is housed at the facility at the completion of detention.
2. How to contact a child detained at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility
As mandated by the juvenile laws in the state of California, the minors must be given the opportunity to contact someone to advise them of their location and status. Minors are provided access to a telephone, but it is restricted to their parents and/or legal guardians as well as a legal counsel if available.
Once contact is initiated, subsequent communication will be restricted to “outgoing” collect calls with prior authorization from the court or the minor’s Probation Officer. As a safety measure, all phone calls are monitored by the jail staff to detect attempts to perpetuate any criminal activity or advocacy for escape. Right to privacy and confidentiality is limited to the minor’s correspondence with his or her legal counsel.
Upon detention, all minors are assigned to a Probation Officer who monitors their behavior and progress while in detention. To be updated with your child’s status who is detained at the San Diego Juvenile Hall, it is advisable to communicate regularly with your child’s Probation Officer. This way, even when restrictions are enforced due to security reasons, you are well-informed of your child’s condition for your own peace of mind.
To get in contact with your child’s Probation Officer, please call the Juvenile Detention Facility at (858) 694-4500 daily at any time or call (858) 694-4600 for general inquiries on juvenile procedures at the Juvenile Probation Center.
NOTE: To receive collect calls, make sure this feature is not blocked from your phone service. You can verify this by contacting your local phone service provider.
3. Visiting procedures and hours at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility
Hours of visitation
Visiting hours at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility are: Monday through Friday: 3:30pm until 9:00pm, and Weekends and Holidays: 9:00am until 5:00pm by appointment only. Registration is required prior to conducting your visit with your child. Only one visitor is allowed per youth at a time.
Visits from other family members require permission from the court or the minor’s Probation Officer prior to arrival at the facility.
Proof of Identification and Security Procedure
As a general rule, all visitors must show proof of identification for verification purposes. The Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility only accepts government-issued photo identification (e.g. state driver’s license or state-issued identification, U.S. passport, and military ID). Additionally, all visitors are subject to a strict inspection as a standard procedure for security purposes that involves frisking and passing through metal detectors.
Items you cannot bring to the minors
Exchange of any items with minors detained at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility is strictly prohibited. However, you may bring one (1) paperback book to be left at the front lobby in a receptacle area with the child’s name and unit number.
The following is a list of items not allowed to be brought in the San Diego County Juvenile Hall:
- Food and drink items
- Alcohol, drugs, all types of illegal substances, and/or contraband
- Illegal firearms and any object that can be used to harm another person
- Cell phones and pagers
- Handbags, purses, wallets, and others similar items
Lockers are provided in the front lobby at a cost of $0.25 per use to store personal belongings not allowed to be brought in the visiting area. Upon completion of visiting with your child, you will be requested to vacate the facility and not return until the next visiting day.
Dress code for visitors
Along with the other regulations enforced in the San Diego County Juvenile Hall, the dress code is always expected to be followed by all visitors entering the premises. Revealing clothing or clothing that is sexual in nature is prohibited. In addition, clothing with any writings/markings that are offensive to others and/or depict gang affiliation is also not allowed to be worn in the facility.
If a visitor is intoxicated
For the safety of everyone in the facility, if a visitor appears to be intoxicated or is under the influence of any illegal substance, he or she will be refused visiting privileges. Consequently, the visitor will face possible prosecution since it is illegal to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs in any detention facility.
The Probation Officers have the right to refuse visiting privilege to anyone that they deem unfit or is a possible threat to the security of the minors and the staff of the facility.
4. Rules and regulations on mail correspondence at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility
Another way of communication with the minors detained at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility is through mail correspondence. The minors are supplied with the writing materials necessary to correspond with anyone as often as possible. Therefore, these items are not allowed to be sent in the mail (among other things listed below) for security reasons.
All mail correspondence is inspected by the jail staff
Incidentally, all mail correspondence is subject to a rigid screening procedure. This is primarily to detect a continuance of any criminal activity. Secondarily, it is to determine any act of advocacy for escape perpetuated by the minors. Additionally, all mail correspondence is inspected for any illegal contents such as drugs and/or contraband. Right to privacy and confidentiality is restricted to your child’s correspondence with his or her legal counsel only.
Items you may not send in the mail
The following items are not allowed to be sent in the mail: Blank papers, pens or pencils, stamped envelopes, postage, money, Polaroid pictures, books of any kind, magazines, periodicals, subscriptions of any kind, and all types of packages. As a general rule, only letters and/or greeting cards are allowed to be sent in the mail.
Letters must not exceed (5″ x 7″) in size, and must not be mailed in a padded envelope or a double-sided card. It must not contain any writings/markings on the exterior of the envelope that depict offensive images or gang affiliation.
How to properly address mail correspondence
All mail correspondence must have a return address with the complete and correct spelling of the minor’s information for accurate delivery.
General mailing address: (name of the facility is not necessary to be indicated on the address)
Minor’s Name (complete and correct spelling, middle name if applicable)
2801 Meadow Lark Dr.
San Diego, CA 92123
The Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility is a 24-hour maximum-security juvenile detention facility that serves the community of the San Diego County. It is operated under the command of the San Diego County Probation Department along with East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility. Established in 1954, the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility accommodates 359 male and female minors awaiting assessment under the juvenile justice system.
Formerly known as the San Diego Juvenile Hall, The Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility’s mission is to provide the community of San Diego County a sense of protection from juvenile offenders while rehabilitating the minors involved in juvenile cases. The facility offers a wide range of services focused on establishing accountability of the minors for the crimes they have committed.
In collaboration with the rehabilitation facilities such as Girls Rehabilitation Facility, Juvenile Ranch Facility, and Camp Barrett, the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility is significant in providing temporary juvenile detention and treatment of minors before they reintegrate back into the community upon completion of their adjudication.
NOTE: If your loved one is at the Juvenile Hall or the San Diego Central Jail, contact our San Diego CA criminal defense lawyers for help at (888) 327-4652.