Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

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Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD)
CDCR - Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility by Don Ramey Logan.jpg
LocationSan Diego County, California, U.S.
near Otay Mesa
Coordinates32°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
Security classMedium – Maximum
Population3,074 (102.7% capacity) (as of July 31, 2022[1])
OpenedJuly 1987
Managed byCalifornia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
WardenRay Madden (A)

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF or RJD) is a California state prison located in unincorporated southern San Diego County, California,[2] near San Diego.[3][4] 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,[5] in the foothills of Otay Mesa overlooking the border. The Otay Mesa site is shared with six other properties related to law enforcement:[6]

  • the federal San Diego Correctional Facility privately operated by the Corrections Corporation of America
  • the George Bailey Detention Facility (San Diego County)
  • the East Mesa Reentry Facility (San Diego County)
  • the Facility 8 Detention Facility (San Diego County)
  • the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility (San Diego County)
  • 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.[4] For example, in March 2012, the facility's total population was more than 166.6% of its design capacity.

As of July 31, 2022, RJDCF was incarcerating people at 102.7% of its design capacity, with 3,074 occupants.[1]

In 1989, RJDCF opened a reception center which accepted newly-sentenced inmates from across Southern California. However, in 2012, the institution changed from its previous reception center mission, and completed the conversion of three of its five facilities to sensitive needs yards. Other missions have included housing and providing treatment to inmates with severe mental illnesses, and inmates who have been identified as having medium to high risk medical concerns.[7]

Donovan has five interfaith chapels. Each religion represented at Donovan gets a series of lockers to store materials.[5]

The prison includes a bakery that serves the facility and five other CDCR facilities. Each day, it produces about 9,760 loaves.[8] 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 ($111.84 when adjusted for inflation) and $100 ($124.26 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.[5]

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 1,000 [8] 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.[5]

The prison formerly housed an eyeglass factory. It built glasses for Medi-Cal patients. About 115 prisoners worked in the factory. It closed in 2009. As of 2010, there are discussions about a possible reopening.[5]

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.[9]


Each week, "Level 4" (maximum security) prisoners may have 15 hours of yard time.[5]


In 2010, Donovan Correctional Facility had about 4,800 prisoners. Between 150 and 200 of the prisoners were Native Americans.[5]

During that year prisoners belonged to 15 religious faiths.[5]

Notable prisoners[edit]




  1. ^ a b "California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: Monthly Report of Population As of Midnight July 31, 2022" (PDF). California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Internal Oversight and Research. July 31, 2022. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 5, 2022. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  2. ^ "2020 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: San Diego County, CA" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. p. 230 (PDF p. 231/259). Retrieved 2022-08-14. Richard J Donovan Corr Faclty
  3. ^ "Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD)." California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Retrieved on September 24, 2011. "480 Alta Road San Diego, CA 92179"
  4. ^ a b Cavanagh, Maureen. "Doing Time in Donovan State Prison." KPBS. Monday February 1, 2010. Retrieved on September 24, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Life Inside R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility." KPBS. January 29, 2010. Retrieved on September 24, 2011.
  6. ^ "The Center for Land Use Interpretation". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  7. ^ "CDCR – Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD)". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ Monica Garske, RFK killer Sirhan Sirhan moved to another prison — on anniversary of JFK assassination, (November 22, 2013). Retrieved on November 23, 2013.
  10. ^ "CDCR Public Inmate Locator Disclaimer".
  11. ^ "CDCR Public Inmate Locator Disclaimer".
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  13. ^ "CDCR Public Inmate Locator Disclaimer".
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  16. ^ "CDCR Public Inmate Locator Disclaimer".
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  19. ^ "People v. Shell, B257034 | Casetext Search + Citator". Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  20. ^ "CDCR Public Inmate Locator Disclaimer".
  21. ^ "CDCR Public Inmate Locator Disclaimer".
  22. ^ Official X-Raided Facebook page
  23. ^ "CDCR Public Inmate Locator Disclaimer".
  24. ^ "'Tool Box Killer' Who Preyed on Teenagers Dies in California". NBC Bay Area. February 25, 2020. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  25. ^ Second Tool Box Killer dies in prison, Mercury News, Sarah Steade February 25, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  26. ^ The Associated Press (7 November 2005). "Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Gets Two Years in Prison for Deadly Crash". Fox News. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  27. ^ Nobel Prize-winning physicist Schrieffer dies in Florida], Associated Press, July 27, 2019. Retrieved May 3, 2020.

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