When San Diego County went looking for grant funds to help build
a 300-bed jail for juveniles, officials argued that the 1950s-era
Juvenile Hall on Meadowlark Lane was strained to the breaking
“There is literally no more room at the inn,” the county warned
in a grant application in 1999 seeking $36 million in
construction funds for what would become, in 2004, the East Mesa
Juvenile Detention Facility.
And things were only going to get worse: At the time, the county
estimated it would need 1,284 beds to house all its juvenile
offenders by 2015.