The Sheriff’s Department’s Inmate Services Division seeks to enhance the welfare of County Jail inmates through a number of programs. Programs vary between facilities, and eligibility may be limited to certain security classifications. Inmates may meet with a Correctional Counselor to participate in “prescriptive programming,” a process by which the inmate’s needs are identified, and a plan is established to meet those needs. Programs offered by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department include:
  • Individual and Group Counseling
  • HIV Pre- and Post-test Counseling
  • Religious Services—In partnership with community volunteers, multi-denominational worship services and Bible studies are offered. Inmates may also receive visits from Clergy members.
  • Pro Per Services—Inmates who represent themselves in court proceedings receive support in the form of Law Library access, telephones, supplies, and limited office work (e.g., photocopying)
  • Work Release and County Parole—Opportunities exist for low-risk inmates to meet their legal obligations while continuing to work in the community.
  • CPS Contact Visits—As part of a family reunification program, women inmates may be eligible for contact visits in order to maintain parental relationships with their children.
  • Reading Legacies - A workshop is held to discuss the benefits of reading aloud with children. Inmates are then recorded on DVD reading aloud to their child; the book and DVD are sent home to the child. The child is then able to see the parent reading aloud and follow along in the book.
  • Pregnant Inmate Program—Drug treatment and education services are available for female inmates. Pregnancy verification is available.
  • Print Shop—In partnership with the Grossmont High School District, inmates receive valuable vocational training in a print shop located on the grounds of the East Mesa Detention Facility. Students learn printing, engraving, laminating, silk-screening, binding, and computer graphics.
  • Correctional Counselor Programs— Ongoing classes are offered in Parenting, Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence, Anger Management, GED/High School Diploma, Adult Basic Education, and English as a Second Language.
  • Nursery and Landscape Trades—Students receive classroom and practical instruction in planting, landscape maintenance, and the care of landscape tools while gaining experience at the Las Colinas Detention Facility.
  • Building Trades—Students learn basic construction skills, preparing them for employment opportunities after release.
  • Office Occupations Classes—Students at the Las Colinas Detention Facility learn basic computer skills, preparing them for employment in the business community.
  • Clothing Manufacturing Center—Students learn to fabricate and repair clothing, bedding, and other items. The production of jail clothing in this program results in considerable savings to taxpayers.


Inmates who are registered voters may vote in elections using an absentee ballot. Requests should be directed to a Correctional Counselor, using an inmate request form, up to 60 days before an election.


County Parole is an early release program intended for low risk offenders. Inmates with extensive criminal histories, violent offenses, sexual offenses, or behavioral problems while in custody are considered poor candidates. Inmates may apply after they are sentenced to local custody, but will not be eligible for parole consideration until they have served half of their sentence. Inmates who wish to apply must notify their facility Correctional Counselor in writing.

Inmates should have post-release plans in place that they can present to the Parole Board members. These plans include housing, educational or rehabilitative programs, employment, etc. Those granted parole will be supervised and required to abide by all conditions and rules imposed by the County Parole Board.


Inmates have the opportunity to visit recreation areas at least twice weekly, for a minimum total of three hours. These areas provide space for exercise and recreation not available in their regular housing units. Under normal conditions, inmates are provided access to televisions, board games, and playing cards in their housing units.


Reading materials including books and newspapers are provided to inmates in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Detention Facilities. A variety of materials including religious, educational and recreational reading materials are made available. Inmates may also have books, newspapers, and periodicals sent to them per the guidelines regarding mail.

Legal reference materials are available by request through an off-site contract provider.