The information below provides complete instructions regarding the San Diego City Jail Inmate Accounts and Deposits, Commissary Information, Depositing Money Online (where available), Mailing Inmate Money or Care Packages to the jail in San Diego, California.
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.
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.
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.
There are usually four choices for putting money on an inmate's books:
Dropping Money at the Jail
Deposits may be made to an inmate’s account at the Information Office of any Sheriff’s detention facility using cash, money order or cashier’s check. Some jails have self-serve kiosks in the lobbies that accept cash, debit or credit cards.
If you can't get your questions answered online call the San Diego City Jail at 619-661-7205.
San Diego City Jail is unlike many jails that contract with third party commissary fund processors, in that instead of contracting with an outside vendor, San Diego County has its own commissary processing site online.
Click here to get the inmate’s booking number.
Then click here to deposit commissary funds for the inmate.
You may use your credit or debit card to make a deposit by clicking here and following the steps to deposit money.
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.
Make the money order out to the inmate and make sure to include the ID# behind the name.
Address the envelope as follows:
Inmate’s first and last name and ID number
San Diego City Jail
446 Alta Road
San Diego, CA 92154
Include your first and last name and return address on upper left corner of envelope.
No personal checks or multiple party checks are accepted. However payroll and government issued checks are permitted.
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 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.
Click here or here to view online how to make the money order out and where to send it.
This facility does not permit deposits to be made to inmate accounts over the phone.
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. Some jails have several hundred different items.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.