San Diego Central Jail

If your family member has been arrested in San Diego County, it is a high possibility they have been booked at the San Diego Central Jail (SDCJ). The SDCJ is the primary facility for male prisoners in San Diego and the main location for booking. The location is quite large and can seem overwhelming at first: there are over 75,000 bookings annually that take place at SDCJ and the facility has 200 staffed employees and nearly 200 professional staff members.  The Corrections Standards Authority (CSA) rated capacity is 944 beds and the average population is approximately 900 inmates.

The incarcerated population at SDCJ is primarily “special handling” individuals and also recently booked inmates that are waiting for a transfer to another local facility. Special handling simply means people with medical challenges such as being under psychiatric care and also inmates who will be representing themselves in court and those with potentially high-publicity trials. SDCJ’s Psychiatric Security Unit for special handling inmates is also the largest acute psychiatric treatment facility in San Diego County.

SDCJ is quite the state-of-the-art facility, built in 1988, and is now packed with technological advances like touch screen controls and comprehensive video security surveillance.  The operations hub is the Central Command Center, a station that can control all jail operations, especially in an emergency, crisis, or major system failure.

Besides being high-tech, the SDCJ building is large, pleasing aesthetically and well-built. Standing at 230 feet tall it is the tallest construction project ever undertaken by the County of San Diego. There are a total of eleven floors, seventeen if you include the mezzanines and basement. The building, while a correction facility, serves as a beautiful addition to the downtown San Diego skyline. The facility has even been awarded multiple “orchids” for architectural design, interior design, and lighting design.

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