The East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility


The East Mesa Juvenile Hall is located north of Brown Field, in East Otay Mesa at:

446 Alta Rd., Suite #6100,
San Diego, CA 92158

Below our San Diego CA criminal defense lawyers will explain the following:

1. Intake procedure at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility

Intake Screening

Minors residing in the community of San Diego County, who exhibit behavior that warrants their placement in the Juvenile Justice System, are eligible for services at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility. These minors are provided the assessment for detention or placement in other treatment facilities necessary to address their individual cases.

Once admitted into the facility after being arrested by the San Diego Police Department, minors go through a rigid screening process that consists of two major factors. Primary is a physical inspection for any illegal items such as drugs, contraband, and/or weapons. These items are confiscated and may be used as evidence against them. Secondary is the medical examination for detection of any health issues that need to be addressed immediately.

Hygiene Supplies

Each minor at the East Mesa Juvenile Hall is provided with his or her own supply of personal care items to maintain proper hygiene while in detention. They are replenished on a regular basis or whenever necessary. That being said, sharing of these items with other children as well as recycling for use are highly discouraged as part of the hygiene practice in the facility. All minors receive their own individual supply of clothing, footwear, bedding, and toiletries.

When do minors get released?

Typically minors will be detained for up to 30 days awaiting their adjudication. If the District Attorney does not have a strong enough case to file a petition against a minor, he or she will be released with certain restrictions mandated by the San Diego County Probation Department.

The San Diego Juvenile Court will determine permanent placement of a minor to a detention facility if necessary. Other forms of rehabilitation, if detention is not recommended, will also be decided by the court depending on what is most conducive to the minor's treatment. Minors who are sentenced to permanent detention for a specific period of time will be committed in other facilities operated by the County Probation Department.

NOTE: Each day a minor is housed at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility costs $255. Parents are billed a portion of the cost for each day a minor is housed at the facility once detention is completed. They are billed $31 for each day their child was detained at the facility.

2. How to contact a child detained at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility

Upon completion of the intake process, it is the responsibility of the East Mesa Juvenile Hall to provide access to communication via telephone so that the minors are able to notify someone about their status and location. Minors are given the opportunity to contact their parents and/or legal guardian, as well as their San Diego criminal defense attorneys if they have already been acquired. Contact is restricted to people specified above only.

After initial contact has been established and someone is notified, subsequent calls are restricted to "outgoing" collect calls (also to parents, legal guardians and attorneys only) with prior approval from the court or the minors' Probation Officers. Communication via telephone with other relatives is NOT allowed under normal circumstances.

All telephone communications are monitored as a standard procedure for security purposes. Privacy and confidentiality are only practiced with your loved ones' correspondence with their legal counsel. Once a minor is detained at the facility, he or she will be assigned to a Probation Officer who will monitor his or her status while in detention.

That being said, it is very important to build a relationship with your child's Probation Officer to be updated as to what is going on. Since phone privileges are restricted, your child's Probation Officer is your primary source of information while your child is detained at the facility.

To get in contact with your child's Probation Officer at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility, you may call (619) 671-4400 daily at any time. You may also call the Juvenile Probation Administration Center for all general inquiries regarding juvenile procedure at (858) 514-3138 during normal business hours.

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 East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility

Visiting Hours

The minors detained at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility are allowed to receive visitors from Monday through Friday between the hours of 3:00 pm - 8:00 pm, and also on Sunday between 9:00 am - 11:15 am (Minors with last names A-L 9 am to 10 am, M-Z 10:15 am to 11:15 am). There are NO visitations allowed on Saturdays. Visits on Holidays follow the weekday schedule, except on Christmas day which follows the Sunday schedule.

Minor visitation is restricted to parents and/or legal guardians only. Visits with other relatives require prior approval from the court or the child's Probation Officer. This approval must be attained before arriving at the facility. In general, it is ideal to coordinate with the child's Probation Officer when arranging minor visitation to avoid any conflict upon arrival.

Proof of Identification and Security Procedure

Upon entering the facilities, all visitors are required to provide valid photo identification to verify their identities. Only government-issued photo identifications are accepted at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility. In addition, all visitors will be subject to search of their belongings for security reasons. This is a procedure that entails "frisking" and passing through metal detectors. Once cleared, visitors will be allowed to conduct their visit with the minors.

Items you cannot bring for the minors

The list below indicates items that are prohibited at the East Mesa 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

Under no circumstance are visitors allowed to exchange any items with the minors while conducting their visit. Visitors may bring one (1) paperback for the minors to read during their free time, to be dropped off at the receptacle area in the front lobby with the minor's correct and complete information for accurate distribution.

Since there are no items allowed to be brought in the visiting area, except one (1) photo identification and (1) key, lockers are available in the front lobby to store all personal items at $0.25 per use. Once your visit is concluded, you will be instructed to leave the premises and will not be allowed to return until the next visiting schedule.

Dress code for visitors

All visitors are required to dress appropriately when conducting their visit with the minors at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility. Clothing that is revealing or sexually provocative in nature is highly discouraged. Additionally, clothing with writings/markings or images that are offensive to others as well as indicative of sex, drugs, violence, or acts of gang affiliation is prohibited. Anyone in violation of the dress code will not be allowed to conduct the visit.

If a visitor is intoxicated

Anyone who appears to be intoxicated or is under the influence of an illegal substance will not be allowed to visit with a minor. Consequently, anyone who exhibits this behavior will face possible prosecution. It is illegal to be intoxicated or under the influence of any illegal substance in a detention facility in the state of California.

Generally speaking, it is in the discretion of the Probation Officer to allow or deny anyone visiting privileges in pursuit of the peace, harmony, and safety of the minors and the staff of the facility.

4. Rules and regulations for mail correspondence

Mail correspondence is another way of communication that is encouraged at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility. Minors are provided with the basic necessities to allow them to communicate through mail with their loved ones on a regular basis. Hence, these items will be refused if sent in the mail.

All mail correspondence is inspected by the jail staff

As a standard procedure, all mail correspondence is subject to a rigid inspection and scrutiny for security reasons. This way, the jail staff are able to detect any continuance of criminal activities or plans for escape manifested by the minors. Only correspondence with your child's attorney will be given privacy and confidentiality.

Items you may not send in the mail

The following items will be refused if sent in the mail at the East Mesa Juvenile Hall: Writing materials such as blank papers, pens or pencils, stamped envelopes, and postage, any form of money, Polaroid pictures, books, magazines, periodicals, and all types of subscriptions, as well as any packages. It is safe to assume that only letters and/or greeting cards will be accepted in the mail.

How to properly address mail correspondence

A return address is required on all mail correspondence. It is very important to indicate 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)

446 Alta Rd., Suite 6100

San Diego, CA 92158

Additional Information

The East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility opened its doors to serve the community of San Diego County in 2004. It functions as a maximum-security detention facility that operates 24 hours a day for minors involved in criminal activities awaiting the adjudication process. Similar to the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility, the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility is mandated by the San Diego County Probation Department.

With a maximum capacity of approximately 290 beds as rated by the Board of Corrections, the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility provides a safe haven to minors while offering them several other services with regards to treatment necessary for their rehabilitation. These services include recreational activities, individual and group counseling sessions, educational and substance abuse programs, and religious services available to any interested detainees.

NOTE: For legal assistance with cases here or at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility, feel free to contact our San Diego CA criminal defense lawyers at (888) 327-4652.

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