Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

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Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD)
Location San Diego County,
near San Diego, California
Coordinates 32°35′05″N 116°56′00″W / 32.5846°N 116.9334°W / 32.5846; -116.9334Coordinates: 32°35′05″N 116°56′00″W / 32.5846°N 116.9334°W / 32.5846; -116.9334
Status Operational
Security class Medium - Maximum
Capacity 2,200
Population 3,559 (161.8%) (as of 31 December 2012[1])
Opened July 1987
Managed by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Warden Daniel Paramo

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF or RJD) is a state prison located in unincorporated southern San Diego County, California, near San Diego.[2][3] It is a part of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. It is a 780-acre (320 ha) facility. It is the only state prison in San Diego County.

The prison is situated on a mesa about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the Mexico–United States border,[4] in the foothills of Otay Mesa overlooking the Mexican border. The Otay Mesa site is shared with four other properties related to law enforcement:[5]

  • the federal San Diego Correctional Facility privately operated by the Corrections Corporation of America
  • the George Bailey County Detention Facility
  • the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility, operated by the County of San Diego
  • and a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement firearms training complex used by the FBI, the Customs Service, and local police forces


The prison cells were designed to house one person each, however, due to overcrowding, many house two prisoners each.[3] As of March 2012, the facility's total population was 3,666, or more than of 166.6 percent of its design capacity of 2,208.[1]

The prison includes a reception center that opened in 1989. The counties served by the center include Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego.[2] Lt. Michael Stout, the community partnership manager of the prison, said in 2010 that the reception center mainly gets prisoners from Imperial and San Diego counties, while some prisoners come from Los Angeles and Orange counties. A male felon who is convicted and sentenced in San Diego County will not necessarily serve his sentence at Donovan.[3]

The prison includes a housing unit for "Level 3" prisoners that was originally a gymnasium. In 1989 the gymnasium was converted. It has a capacity of 152 prisoners.[4]

Donovan has five interfaith chapels. Each religion represented at Donovan gets a series of lockers to store materials.[4]

The prison includes a bakery that serves the facility and five other CDCR facilities. Each day, it produces about 18,000 loaves. About 85 prisoners work in the bakery, as of 2010. During that year, the monthly salary of a prisoner working in the bakery was between $90 ($98.84 when adjusted for inflation) and $100 ($109.83 when adjusted for inflation). KPBS said that bakery jobs were "desirable" compared to clerk and custodial jobs, which pay a monthly salary between $24 and $48.[4]

The prison also includes a shoe factory; it manufactures shoes used by prisoners throughout CDCR. It makes both high top and low top versions. About 2,000 shoes are produced every day. In 2010 the monthly salary for an employee was between $90 and $100, so the shoe factory positions are prized in Donovan.[4]

The prison formerly housed an eyeglass factory. It built glasses for MediCal patients. About 115 prisoners worked in the factory. It closed in 2009. As of 2010 there are discussions about a possible reopening.[4]

On November 22, 2013, Sirhan Sirhan was transferred to Donovan. Sirhan was convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy. The transfer to Donovan occurred, coincidentally, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert Kennedy's brother, John F. Kennedy.[6]


Each week, "Level 4" (maximum security) prisoners may have 15 hours of yard time.[4]


In 2010 it had about 4,800 prisoners. Between 150 and 200 of the prisoners were Native Americans.[4]

During that year prisoners belonged to 15 religious faiths.[4]

Notable prisoners[edit]




  1. ^ a b Offender Information Services Branch (3 January 2013). "Monthly Report of Population" (PDF). California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: 2. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD)." California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Retrieved on September 24, 2011. "480 Alta Road San Diego, CA 92179"
  3. ^ a b c Cavanagh, Maureen. "Doing Time in Donovan State Prison." KPBS. Monday February 1, 2010. Retrieved on September 24, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Life Inside R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility." KPBS. January 29, 2010. Retrieved on September 24, 2011.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Monica Garske, RFK killer Sirhan Sirhan moved to another prison — on anniversary of JFK assassination, (November 22, 2013). Retrieved on November 23, 2013.

External links[edit]