East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility

East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility

East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility (EMJDF) is a secure juvenile facility located in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego. EMJDF serves as the primary booking facility for all juvenile detentions in San Diego County.  EMJDF has a rated capacity of 290 beds across nine 30-bed housing units and one 20-bed unit.  EMJDF meets all standards set by Title 15 such as a youth to officer ratio, personal hygiene, clean clothing and bedding, mental health and/or drug counseling, training programs, recreation and exercise, and visitation with parents or guardians.  Medical care is also provided to all youths as needed. Youth detained at EMJDF also have access to behavioral health, educational, and substance abuse services, as well as physical activity/recreational and religious services.  Youth receive meals prepared on site based on specific nutritional requirements as set by the State of California.  Upon entering EMJDF, youth receive screening/assessments at intake to identify potential trauma, or other stressors that may require immediate intervention.

EMJDF’s population is mostly comprised of pre-adjudicated youth awaiting disposition by the Juvenile Court.  Youth being screened or awaiting placement into a short-term therapeutic treatment program or awaiting transfer to a local commitment program are also housed at EMJDF.

EMJDF is also the home of the Youth Development Academy (YDA), the local Secure Youth Treatment Facility developed in response to Senate Bill 823 (SB 823), signed into law in 2020, which directs the closure of the Division of Juvenile Justice and return of youth to local programs.  The program structure is designed to support the principles of trauma-informed culturally responsive care and a development approach to youth rehabilitation.

EMJDF features individual recreation quads, a track and grass field, as well as support services areas including a medical clinic, classrooms, a visiting center, and college testing center.  

New Track and Field For Justice-Involved Youths