Defendants who are convicted of a crime in San Diego County may face the possibility of time in jail. When a criminal penalty includes a jail sentence, your loved one will be assigned to a detention center under the jurisdiction of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. One of these centers is the South Bay Detention Facility in Chula Vista.
If your loved one is detained at the South Bay Detention Facility you may have questions. “How can I contact them?” “When can I visit them?” “What can I send them?” Our experienced San Diego criminal defense attorneys have put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the South Bay Detention Facility.
Who is brought to and held at the South Bay Detention Center?
The South Bay Detention Center is a medium-security, incentive-based housing detention center. Inmates who are detained at the South Bay Detention Center is generally classified with a “risk level” of 4 or 5. The jail is made up of 4 (four) housing pods with approximately 100 inmates assigned to each. Inmates who demonstrate good behavior and complete a learning program can be placed in an “incentive-based” pod. Inmates who are assigned to this pod can have access to extra privileges and activities.
The South Bay Detention Center Location
The South Bay Detention Center is located underground beneath the South Bay Regional Justice Center.
The physical address for the South Bay Detention Facility is:
500 Third Ave
Chula Vista, CA 91910
How do I get information about an inmate at the South Bay Detention Center?
Phone: You can get contact the South Bay Detention Facility directly by phone at 619-213-1433 to get information about inmates detained at the facility.
Online: The San Diego Sheriff’s Department website has a portal called Who’s In Jail. Using this website, you can find information about an inmate and schedule visits. Information about court dates and trials can be found on the San Diego County court case information site.
How do I contact an inmate at the South Bay Detention Center?
Phone: Inmates at the South Bay Detention Facility cannot receive incoming phone calls. This means that all contact must be initiated by inmates. Inmates who want to make phone calls must use a Collect service or prepaid calling card. Prepaid calling cards can be purchased directly from the South Bay Detention Facility Commissary. If you expect to receive calls from an inmate at the South Bay Detention Facility make sure that your phone provider has not blocked the number.
USPS: Inmates at the South Bay Detention Facility can both send and receive mail. All mail must be sent using the United States Postal Service. Mail that is sent using another carrier will not be accepted.
All mail must comply with the South Bay Detention Facility’s mail regulations. Follow these steps if you want to make sure that your mail is accepted and delivered to your loved one.
- Clearly label the envelope with your return address, the inmate’s full name, and the inmate’s booking number.
- Send only letters, postcards, and non-offensive photographs (no larger than 4”x6”).
- Do not send any items containing food, snacks, glass, wood, rubber, stationery, flowers, staples, paper clips, tape, stickers, glue, crayon, chalk, lipstick, or glitter. Transparent, tracing, heavy stock, or colored paper will not be accepted.
- Cash and stamps may not be mailed directly to inmates. (Note: Money can be placed in an inmate’s in-house debit account. Information about how to put money “on the books” can be found below.)
- Send books and magazines directly from retail stores.
All mail will be searched before it is distributed to inmates. Mail that violates facility regulations will be returned or destroyed.
E-Mail: Inmates can also be reached by email using the Who’s in Jail portal. When you send an email it will be reviewed by a South Bay Detention Facility staff member. If the message follows the e-mail regulations it will be printed and given to your loved one. E-mail messages should be limited to one printed page and cannot contain attachments or photographs.
When can I visit an inmate at the South Bay Detention Center?
Visiting Hours: Each week, eligible inmates at the South Bay Detention Facility can have two 30-minute social visits. Visiting hours are held Thursday through Monday of each week. Visiting hours will depend on which pod your loved one is in. Pod-specific visiting hours can be found on the San Diego County Sheriff’s website.
Scheduling a Visit: Visits should be scheduled in advance. You can call the South Bay Detention Facility directly at 619-213-1433 or visit the Who’s in Jail portal. You should be prepared to have the following information available when you schedule your visit:
- Inmate’s full name;
- Inmate’s booking number; and
- Each visitor’s name, date of birth, address, phone number, and relationship to the inmate.
Visiting an Inmate: You should arrive at the South Bay Detention Facility one hour before your scheduled visit. Each visitor (maximum of 3) will need to show government-issued ID. Minors who have not been issued a driver’s license or other form of government ID can use a school ID card. All visitors will be searched before they can go into the visitation area. Visitors may not bring cell phones, cameras, bags, food, drinks, pets, drugs, or weapons into the visitation area. Visits generally take place behind glass and may be recorded.
Restrictions on Visitation: Visitors who have served time in a state prison or who have been convicted of a felony must receive prior approval from the South Bay Detention Facility Watch Commander. Minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian or parent.
What rehabilitation services are available to inmates at the South Bay Detention Center?
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department provides inmates with a variety of rehabilitation services. At the South Bay Detention Facility, inmates who participate in these programs may be eligible for placement in incentive-based housing. Programs available to inmates include:
- GED courses and certification;
- College-level academic courses;
- HiSET training;
- Yoga and meditation;
- Cognitive behavioral therapy;
- Food handling training courses;
- Anger management; and
- Domestic abuse and substance abuse counseling.
How do I get money to an inmate at the South Bay Detention Center?
Inmates who are sentenced to the South Bay Detention Facility are provided with basic necessities. These include a uniform and underwear; toiletries including a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and deodorant; and three meals a day. The South Bay Detention Center does permit inmates to purchase additional items at the Commissary using funds from an “in-house” account. You can put money “on the books” in this account for your loved one.
There are a few ways to put money in your loved one’s account:
In-Person: TouchPay kiosks are available at all San Diego County Detention Facilities.
Online: Visit the San Diego County Sheriff Department’s website.
Direct Deposit: Have a portion of a retirement benefit or paycheck deposited into the account.
Mail: Mail cash, personal check, cashier’s check, or money order to the South Bay Detention Facility.
When will an inmate get their belongings back?
All personal items are confiscated, cataloged, and stored while inmates are detained at the South Bay Detention Facility. These items will be returned when they are officially released from the facility. Inmates can also sign a form to allow friends and family members to pick up these items.
For more information, do not hesitate to contact our team of experienced San Diego criminal defense attorneys. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about your loved one’s case.