San Diego City Jail Sending Money

San Diego City Jail

446 Alta Road
San Diego, CA 92154



San Diego City Jail Sending Money

The information below provides complete instructions regarding the San Diego City Jail:

  • Inmate Accounts and Deposits,
  • Commissary Information,
  • Depositing Money Online,
  • Mailing Inmate Money, or
  • Sending Care Packages 
  • Special Jail Fees

Follow these instructions exactly to help ensure that your inmate has access to commissary, and in some cases medical and bail money, as soon as possible.

How to Put Money on an Inmate Account in the San Diego City Jail

There are usually four options for putting money on an inmate's books:
Option 1 - Dropping Money at the Jail
Bring money to the jail in person. 
Either the jail personnel will process the Inmate Account payment or you will use a self-serve kiosk in the lobbies that accepts cash, debit or credit cards.
Option 2 - Deposit Inmate Money Online
San Diego City Jail and others often use a private company to process all online deposits to an inmate's account. The company charges you a small fee for doing so, but the fee probably isn't as much as gas and parking would cost to take it to the jail in person.
Option 3 - Mail the Inmate Deposit to the Jail
Mailing a deposit takes more time to process than the other methods but can be done if you live too far away to bring it in person and you don't have a debit/credit card for online deposits. Never send cash. Always send a Money Order from the US Post Office, a reputable bank or Western Union.
Make the Money Order out to the inmate's name and put their Inmate ID# in memo section of the Money Order.
Call San Diego City Jail at 619-661-7205 to confirm the address to send the money order to and how they want it made out.
Failure to do this properly will delay your inmate getting his account credited and may require you to have to resubmit a second money order.
Call 619-661-7205 to ask facility personnel who to make the money order out to, and where to send it.
Option 4 - Make an Inmate Deposit over the Phone
Most of the online companies that provide deposit services will accept deposits over the phone with a debit or credit card.
To do this you will need the inmate's offender # (inmate ID #) and full legal name.

Inmate Care Packages

This facility does offer a care package program. These can be ordered by you online and are delivered directly to the inmate.

Click here to see the packs currently being offered.

Click here to choose a pack and place the order.  

What is the Maximum Amount I can Deposit in an Inmate's Account?

Inmates are allowed to have up to $500 on the books at any given time. If your deposit will put the inmate’s account over the $500 limit, your credit/debit card will only be charged the amount that takes the account to $500.

For example, if the inmate has $460 on the books and you attempt to make a $50 deposit, your credit/debit card will only be charged $40 plus the processing fee.

Call San Diego City Jail at 619-661-7205 or click here to learn the Inmate Account deposit limits and other rules regarding depositing money on an inmate's books.

What can an Inmate Purchase through Commissary?

People who have never been to jail would be surprised by the large amount of candy, snacks, art supplies, playing cards, hygiene products and clothing that can be purchased through a jail's commissary.

The San Diego City Jail Commissary Instructions and Information can be found here. If you need more information contact the jail by calling 619-661-7205.

Who Can Put Money in an Inmate's Account?

Anybody can contribute to an inmate's books or commissary fund as long as there isn't a no-contact order in place.

Because of the ability for family members and friends to deposit money online using a credit or debit card, jail inmates can now receive funds from anywhere in the world.


Since inmates are not allowed to possess cash money while in custody in the San Diego City Jail, the jail maintains a 'bank account' for the inmate to purchase products and services from their commissary (canteen) store.

Commissary funds allow inmates to purchase items such as personal hygiene products, snacks and stationery supplies from the jail store.

Inmates can use money from their account to purchase phone time credits or prepaid phone cards in order to make outside phone calls to friends and family members.

Many jails also allow an inmate to bail himself out of jail if he has the funds in his account. The bail amount is typically 10-15% of the bond amount set by the court.

Inmate accounts are also used to pay the co-payment for medication and visits to the jail's medical clinic should they become ill.

Medical Copays, Jail Fees and other Inmate Expenses

Many jails debit (charge) an inmate's commissary accounts for medical visits, any medications including over-the-counter pain reliever, jail stay fees, restitution, etc.

Taking this into consideration when deciding how much to deposit will ensure the inmate gets the amount you wanted him to have after things are deducted.

This facility does not currently charge inmates for medical visits.

A quick call to the San Diego City Jail at 619-661-7205 will let you if the policy has recently changed.

Important Tips

Call the San Diego City Jail at 619-661-7205 and ask how you can view a commissary list. This gives you an idea of what things cost the inmate and you can make an informed decision regarding how much to deposit.

The maximum deposit to an inmate’s account is $500.

Inmates at this facility are allowed to have up to $500 on their commissary accounts at any given time. If your attempted deposit amount will put the inmate over $500, your credit card will only be charged the amount that will take the account to $500.

You will receive a confirmation number by email as soon as your payment clears. The inmate also receives a notification.

Deposits are typically available 24 hours following it being processed. Deposits are processed Monday through Friday. Any deposit made after 2 p.m. is processed the following business day, which means if you make a deposit after 2 p.m. on a Friday, the funds will not be available until Monday.

Deposits are not processed on holidays.

Refunds cannot be requested by those who put money on an inmate’s books, even if you accidentally put them on the wrong inmate’s account. Double check the booking number, inmate name and deposit amount before completing the transaction.

A non-refundable service charge of $4.25 is added to all transactions.

Inmates can be permanently restricted from receiving website orders for various reasons including, but not limited to, fraudulent orders, making false claims regarding Commissary orders, etc. This permanent restriction also includes orders for inmates that are rebooked under a different booking number.

Credit cards will go through an address verification system for each transaction. Credit cards from providers without such a system will be rejected.

Inmates housed in "Pre-Arraignment" housing units will not have access to their booking accounts to purchase Commissary until they are transferred out of the unit. This could take up to seven days. They will still be able to purchase phone time. When they are transferred out of the unit, they will have full access to their account to purchase Commissary.

Not surprisingly much of an inmate's commissary money is used to purchase item's to pay gambling debts or purchase prescription medicine from another inmate. If your inmate is spending more than $3-4.00 a day on commissary items, you are paying for him or her to gamble or buy drugs.

Put your financial needs first and the inmate's second. Don't forget, the inmate is getting three free 2,000 calorie meals a day. The food may not be of the highest quality, but the commissary food is generally much less nutritious.

Click here to view the jail website for additional information.