* New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas
A CDCR funded Visitor Center is at the institution operated by a community-based organization under contract to CDCR. The Visitor Center provides visiting assistance to family members and friends including a sheltered place to wait before and after visits, transportation to and from local transit terminals, childcare, clothing appropriate for visits on loan, and information about local resources, visiting rules and regulations.
CIW is located 37 miles east of Los Angeles; 90 miles northwest of San Diego. Visit this link to customize your driving directions.
Local Inmate Family Councils (IFC's) are a gathering of family and friends of the incarcerated who meet regularly with Wardens to support visiting since keeping strong family connections with loved ones is a powerful rehabilitative tool. These IFC's promote visiting by clarifying rules and regulations as well as discussing health, education, vocational training, packages, books, and related issues. For more information on connecting with a local IFC, please visit the Statewide IFC website.
The primary mission of the California Institution for Women is to provide a safe and secure environment for primarily Level I/III female offenders. This mission is further defined by our responsibility to provide quality health care and institution programs specifically geared to meet the special needs of female offenders. Specialized programs include academic and vocational programs, pre-release and substance abuse programming, pre-forestry and camp training, an arts in corrections program and a wide variety of inmate self-help groups and community betterment projects.
The California Institution for Women accommodates all custody levels of female inmates. In addition to its large general population, CIW houses inmates with special needs such as pregnancy, psychiatric care, methadone, and medical problems such as HIV infection.
CIW serves as a hub institution for the selection and physical fitness training of female firefighters selected for conservation camp placement. The institution also serves as a higher security facility for female inmates in Administrative Segregation.
Until 1987, CIW was California's only prison for female felons. It was originally called "Frontera," a feminine derivative of the word frontier - a new beginning. The campus-like design was in keeping with the 1950's progressive notion of rehabilitation.
In August 2016, Dawn Davison accepted the Warden (A) position at the California Institution for Women (CIW). Warden Davison left CDCR in 2009 after a 30-year career, with the last seven years as the Chief Deputy Warden and Warden at CIW.