With a specific focus on reentry services for inmates, San Diego County's East Mesa Reentry Facility (EMRF) is one of seven adult correctional facilities operated by the County Sheriff's Department. Located in the city of San Diego, CA, the East Mesa Jail is a 900-bed, medium-security facility housing men detained and sentenced for California misdemeanor and felony crimes.
The East Mesa Reentry Facility is in the South San Diego/Otay Mesa area, about 11 miles from the national border. The address and phone number are:
446 Alta Road, Suite # 5200
San Diego, CA 92158
Information of interest to friends/family members of individuals incarcerated in the East Mesa San Diego Jail is provided below. The California criminal defense lawyers team offers important data on the following key topics:
- 1. How do I search for an inmate in San Diego County?
- 2. How do I post bail at the East Mesa Reentry Facility?
- 3. Can I call an inmate?
- 4. How do I put money on an inmate's account?
- 5. What are the visiting hours and policies?
- 6. Can inmates send and receive mail?
- 7. What is life like at the East Mesa Jail?
- 8. Are there Alternative Incarceration Opportunities?
- 9. Criminal Defense Help
1. How do I search for an inmate in San Diego County?
If you believe your friend or loved one has been arrested in San Diego County, you can use the Sheriff's Department Who's in Jail” web link to conduct an inmate search. Those in custody will be identified by their date of birth, height/weight, and other personal characteristics.
Detailed information can be found on the website pertaining to each booked individual, including:
- Date and time of arrest
- Booking Number
- Criminal charge(s)
- Upcoming court date
- Projected release (if applicable)
You can also obtain more detailed information about an inmate by calling the jail directly (at (619) 210-0334) and speaking with a staff member.
2. How do I post bail at the East Mesa Reentry Facility?
Most people booked into a San Diego County correctional facility are granted the opportunity to gain temporary freedom by posting bail. Friends or family members can often make bail payment at the jail, or can seek assistance from a licensed bail bonding agency. To obtain specific bail amounts and payment options, call the EMRF facility directly at (619) 210-0334.
3. Can I call an inmate?
Under California law, new jail detainees are allowed to make at least three, local phone calls free of charge. These calls are used to contact friends or family members and/or to seek counsel from a criminal lawyer.
Once an inmate is booked into the East Mesa Reentry Jail, he can make outgoing, collect calls, but may not receive personal phone calls. Friends and loved ones can arrange payment for inmate calls through a correctional billing service. To set up and fund an inmate phone account, go online to Securus or call the company at (800) 844-6591.
Options include a prepaid phone plan, “Advance Connect,” monthly direct billing services, or an “Inmate Debit” plan, which provides funding an inmate can use as he desires. (All inmate phone services include Securus fees.)
You can also communicate with an EMRF inmate through e-mail. Use the San Diego County Sheriff's “Who's in Jail” link to send email messages. The website provides detailed information and instructions for e-mailing.
It is important to understand that email and phone calls with inmates are not private, but are subject to monitoring and recording. Therefore, please refrain from discussing or writing about criminal charges to avoid harming your loved one's case.
4. How do I put money on an inmate's account?
All East Mesa Reentry Facility inmates will receive meals and other basic necessities, but many will want to purchase items through the jail's weekly commissary. Available comfort items include snacks and treats, preferred hygiene items, and correspondence materials.
An inmate cash account is established at booking, initially funded with monies confiscated from the inmate. This account is used for commissary orders and other incidental expenses. Family and friends can contribute to the inmate trust account by depositing funds.
Inmate account deposits can be made in the following ways:
- Jail Lobby Kiosk- There are “TouchPay” kiosks located in the lobby of the jail, accessible to the public daily from 6:30 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.
- Online – Using a credit or debit card, you can make an online deposit on the “Who's in Jail” application. You can also go to sdsheriffcommissary.com to choose your own gift packs for an inmate.
- Mail -- Money orders are accepted for commissary account deposits. Personal and third-party checks will not be accepted.
Note: There is a maximum balance of $500 for EMRF inmate accounts. If you have questions or need help with deposits for commissary, call this specific phone number: (619) 661-2860.
5. What are the visiting hours and policies?
Visitation options for family/friends of East Mesa Jail inmates include onsite jail visits as well as remote video visitation using your home computer or Android device. Off-site video visits are 20-minutes long, but frequent visits are allowed. To participate, you must set up an account for video visitation at the Securus website.
Reservations are required for all visits, and appointments can be made through the “Who's in Jail” website application every day except Tuesday. (See detailed appointment set-up instructions in English and in Spanish.) You can also make visitation appointments by calling the jail at (619) 210-0334. Call Wednesday through Monday between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Visiting hours at the East Mesa Reentry Facility vary by the individual housing units, with some inmates allowed 60-minute visits and some limited to 30 minute appointments. Inmates are allowed a minimum of two visits per week, with the week beginning Sunday.
There is no jail visitation at EMRF on Tuesday or Wednesday, and no remote visits Monday evening between 4:00 and 10:00 p.m. Visitation timeslots in East Mesa are within the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 11:35 a.m., 12:10 to 5:35 p.m. and 6:10 to 9:05 p.m. A detailed EMRF visitation schedule, provided by the San Diego Sheriff's Department, breaks down visitation day and time slots according to housing units.
Visits must be scheduled 24 hours in advance – no same day visits at this facility. At the jail, personal visits with inmates are generally facilitated through a video screen near the lobby.
Visitation rules in East San Diego are as follows:
- You must check in one hour before your scheduled appointment.
- Visitors are required to present valid, government-issued photo identification (or current high school identification.)
- There is a maximum of three visitors allowed at a time, including children.
- Minors under the age of 18 must be in the company of a parent or legal guardian. The adult will need to present identification indicating parentage or legal custody.
- If you are a convicted felon, currently on parole, or have been released from jail in the past 90 days, you must have advanced written permission from the administrator to visit the jail. Use this form to request a visit.
As with phone calls, all visits with EMRF inmates may be monitored and recorded. It is, therefore, best to refrain from discussing details of your friend or relative's criminal case.
6. Can inmates send and receive mail?
Inmates and their loved ones are free to send an unlimited amount of postal mail to/from the East Mesa Detention Center. Inmates can purchase correspondence materials and stamps through commissary, and these materials should not be sent in by friends/family. Inmates who are without funds will be provided with materials to mail out two personal letters a week.
All mail for inmates must include your name and return address on the envelope. Address inmate correspondence as follows:
Full name and booking number
East Mesa Reentry Facility
446 Alta Rd, Suite 5200
San Diego, CA 92158
All mail will be opened and inspected. You are permitted to enclose appropriate, standard photographs (sized 4” x 6” or smaller) for an inmate, otherwise, most items cannot be sent to inmates through the mail. Specifically forbidden enclosures include:
- Tobacco products or drug-related materials
- Polaroid photos
- Greeting cards altered in any way or enhanced with music, pop-ups, etc.
- Sexually suggestive material (no nudity)
- Any material that appears to be gang related or advocating violence, crime, rioting, or racial hatred
- Any items larger than 8.5” x 14”
- Items made of metal, glass, wood, foil, rubber, hard plastic
- Colored paper, tracing paper, confetti
- Items enhanced with crayon, paint, chalk, markers, stickers, labels, or glitter
- Glue, staples, whiteout, tape, string
- Items containing fragrance of any kind, lipstick marks, hair, or any type of stains
You may send new, soft-cover books and magazines as long as they are ordered for shipment directly to the East Mesa Reentry Facility from a publisher or vendor, such as amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.
7. What is life like at the East Mesa Jail?
The San Diego County Reentry Facility has six housing dormitories and a medical unit, which provides for basic healthcare, dental and mental health treatment. Co-pays of $3.00 are assessed for “sick calls” at the facility. If necessary, inmates can be transported outside for treatment.
The jail does not accept prescription medication drop-offs by family members. Any necessary prescriptions are ordered through the jail pharmacy. If you would like to discuss an inmate's medication needs (or special dietary needs) call the jail and speak with medical staff.
Situated on eight acres of land, the East Mesa Facility was initially used as a probation camp, and was turned over to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department in 1991. The building was expanded in 2014 and renamed the East Mesa Reentry Facility. This facility does not house maximum-security offenders, and many inmates are granted opportunities to obtain privileges. For example, selected inmates participate in a “landscaping program,” allowing them to plant and maintain the grounds of the jail.
The East Mesa Jail provides food production and laundry services for all San Diego County's adult and juvenile detention facilities, and inmates are involved in a variety of related vocational training. Other vocational opportunities offered include Print Shop, Construction, and Bike Shop.
The East Mesa Correctional Facility also provides education (including G.E.D. preparation) and psycho-social programs for inmates. The San Diego Sheriff provides an Inmate Programs page that lists a variety of programs that may be available at the jail, including twelve-step groups, anger management classes, and religious services.
Policies related to the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) are posted online in San Diego. There is a zero-tolerance policy is stated pertaining to reported incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct at the jail. Inmate and third-party complaints are accepted and investigated.
8. Are there Alternative Incarceration Opportunities?
A work release program is available to San Diego County inmates who are granted judicial approval to participate. Run by the Probation Department, the Work Furlough program provides special housing downtown in a designated facility.
There is also home monitoring detention (using GPS) offered in San Diego County, as well as “Fire Camp.” You can find more information about alternative sentencing on the San Diego County Sheriff's website, or call the jail directly.
9. Legal Defense Help
An experienced lawyer can make a difference to the outcome of your San Diego County criminal case. The experienced attorneys at the California Legal Defense Group defend men and women accused of all types of crimes, and demonstrate a strong record of results for past clients. We can help you get charges dropped or negotiate a much-preferred case outcome. To obtain a free consultation and case assessment, please call (855) 396-0370 or contact us online.