Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF) is a medium to maximum-security state prison located in San Diego County, California. It was designed to hold a maximum of 2.200 inmates, but the population is over 3,000.

RJDCF’s primary mission is to provide housing for General Population and Special Needs Yard (SNY), Level I, II, III & IV inmates who are serving their term of incarceration. Additionally, RJDCF provides health care services and rehabilitative programs to inmates.

This facility is a designated institution for inmates with severe mental illness and inmates with developmental disabilities. RJDCF is also responsible for providing officer coverage for inmates being treated in community hospitals throughout San Diego County.

There are currently three facilities at RJDCF which are designated as SNY. Due to safety concerns, SNY inmates are separated from General Population inmates to serve their term of incarceration.

SNY inmates have the opportunity to work and attend education programs that include Adult Basic Education, college courses, GED programs, Career Technical Education (Carpentry, Welding, Electronics, Building Maintenance), Inmate Work Labor, and a multitude of voluntary programs that afford the inmates opportunities for self-improvement.

The General Population inmates at RJDCF provide support to the institution by working maintenance, food service, janitorial, as well as other jobs that serve in supporting the operation of the prison.

General Population inmates also have the opportunity to attend education programs and a multitude of other voluntary programs that afford the inmates opportunities for self-improvement.

There are currently two Non-Designated Programming facilities at RJD–Facility E and the Minimum Support Facility (MSF). Non-Designated Programming Facilities are those that house inmates together regardless of their designation (Sensitive Needs Yard (SNY) or General Population (GP) in order to provide greater access to self-help, educational, vocational, and rehabilitative programs.

The department is doing this as one of the efforts to focus on an inmate’s rehabilitation while safely housing them in the least restrictive facilities possible. These facilities are intended to provide an environment focused on positive rehabilitative programming for inmates who abstain from violence.

Inmates at RJDCF are expected to participate in the recreation yard, job assignments, education/vocation assignments, inmate activity groups, religious services, and other programs and activities.

California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) operates a full-functioning bakery at RJDCF which produces 9,760 loaves of wheat bread daily. The shoe factory produces 1,000 pairs of shoes daily, and the laundry provides service for VA hospitals and local prisons.

CALPIA also employs inmates in maintenance, warehouse, and has also implemented the Health Care Facility Maintenance program. Over 200 inmates are employed and learn job skills through CALPIA Enterprises at RJDCF.

The Institution Hearing Program (IHP) at R. J. Donovan is designed to prepare inmates who are illegal immigrants for release to USINS custody and the return to their native lands.

Prison Insights

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

Go back

What Do Inmate Families Think?

Go back

What Do Former Inmates Think?

Go back

What Do Employees Think?

Go back
Sorry, there are no insights for this section of the facility yet.
Overall Score = /10
Total Respondents =

Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting hours at RJDCF are on Saturdays, Sundays, and four holidays: New Year’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. The visiting hours are generally between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

We recommend a few things before visiting an inmate at Richard J. Donovan:

  • Call the 800 Visitors’ Information number at 800-374-8474 to get information on lockdowns, medical quarantines, or other circumstances affecting visiting.
  • Read the CDCR’s detailed Visitation Guidebook.This 28-page book includes information on visiting rules and procedures, and it has answers to any questions you might have.
  • Schedule a visit in advance by using the VPASS system. This is required when you are visiting an inmate who can only have non-contact visits behind glass.

Getting Approved for a Visit

Before you can visit an inmate at RJDCF you must get on the approved visiting list. You will need a visitor questionnaire to do this, but the only way to get one is by asking the inmate you wish to visit to send it to you.

After you receive it and fill it out completely, mail the completed questionnaire to:

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility
Visiting Sergeant
480 Alta Road
San Diego, CA 92179-0001

The prison will only notify the inmate if you are approved, and then they must notify you. If you are denied, the prison will mail you a letter explaining the reason for the denial.

Contact and Non-Contact Visits

The intent of CDCR's Visiting Program is to help develop and maintain healthy family and community relationships.

Inmates in general population are allowed contact visits where the prisoner can sit with you in a large visiting room, and you are allowed limited physical contact, like a brief hug and kiss and hand-holding.

Contact visits are restricted to five visitors at a time. Prisoners who receive contact visits are allowed to visit until either their visits are terminated or until the end of visiting. You may leave a visit at any time or stay until the end of visiting.

Inmates in intake and ADSEG (Administrative Segregation) are only allowed non-contact visits, and you must have an appointment. Prisoners subject to non-contact visits have time-limited visits, usually one to two hours, and their visitors must leave at the end of the allotted time.

To get details about what you can bring to a visit and what you are allowed to wear, please refer to the Visitation Guidebook.

Physical Address

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain
480 Alta Road
San Diego, CA 92179

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(619) 661-6500

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
Facility A
P.O. Box 799001
San Diego, CA 92179-9001

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
Facility B
P.O. Box 799002
San Diego, CA 92179-9002

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
Facility C
P.O. Box 799003
San Diego, CA 92179-9003

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
Facility D
P.O. Box 799004
San Diego, CA 92179-9004

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
Facility M
P.O. Box 799005
San Diego, CA 92179-9005 

If you don’t know the specific housing facility your inmate is in, send your mail to:

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility
PO Box 799006
San Diego, CA 92179-9006

Be sure to include the inmate’s name and CDCR number on all correspondence. All mail going into RJDCF is inspected by prison staff.

You are allowed to send any of the following items:

  • Letters (not more than 10 pages in one envelope)
  • Cards (without embellishments such as stickers or glitter)
  • Photographs (limited to 10 per envelope and not larger than 8” x 10”)
  • Drawings
  • Children’s schoolwork
  • Articles from the internet, newspapers, or magazines

You can’t send books directly to an inmate. Instead, they must be sent through approved vendors like Amazon. If you want to send magazines or newspapers, you have to do that via  subscription so it comes directly from the publisher.

How to Call an Inmate

Inmates at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility can’t receive incoming calls, but they do have access to phones and can call you collect. For complete details on how to call an inmate in California, please click here.

How to Send Money

There are three ways to send money to an inmate at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility: Electronic Funds Transfer,  Lock Box, or mailing a check or money order directly to the inmate.

  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is a paid service where you can use your credit or debit card, and the funds post to the inmate’s account within one to three days
  • Lock Box is a no-fee option for sending money via money order, personal check, or cashier’s check, but there is a ten-day hold
  • Mail Your Check or Money Order directly to the inmate, but this option has a 30-day hold 
To get complete details about sending money to an inmate at RJDCF, click here.

​Programs For ​Inmates

  • CALPIA:  Bakery, Laundry, Casual Shoe Factory
  • Vocational:  Welding, Machine Shop, HVAC, Building Maintenance, Carpentry, Computer-related Technologies, and Electronics
  • Academic: Adult Basic Education, High School/GED, Pre-Release, English as a Second Language, Literacy Program, and Limited College Courses
  • Community Service Crews
  • Youth Diversion
  • Religious
  • Bicycle Refurbishing
  • Victim Awareness
  • Drug Treatment/Diversion
  • Arts in Corrections
  • Long-term Offender Program
  • Anger Management
  • Transitions Program
  • California Identification Card Program

Pictures of Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

Careers at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

If you are interested in a job at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, you can find available positions on the CalCareers website.