California Men's Colony (CMC)

Contact & Visiting Information

Main Phone: (805) 547-7900

Physical Address:

  • Highway 1, San Luis Obispo, CA 93409

Mailing Addresses:

  • Staff Mailing Address: P.O. Box 8101, San Luis Obispo, CA 93409-8101
  • Inmate Mailing Address:
    California Men’s Colony
    Inmate’s First and Last Name, CDCR Number, Housing
    P.O. Box 8103
    San Luis Obispo, CA 93409-8103

Visiting Hours and Directions

Saturdays, Sundays and Designated Holidays* from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
* New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas

Important Visiting Information

Visitors are expected to dress appropriately and maintain a standard of conduct during visiting that is not offensive to others. Consistent with the goal of making visiting a safe, positive, constructive time for families and staff, the following standards shall apply:

Prohibited attire consists of:

  • Clothing that resembles state-issued inmate clothing (blue denim or blue chambray shirts and blue denim pants).
  • Clothing that resembles law enforcement or military-type clothing, including rain gear and camouflage.
  • Clothing that exposes the breast/chest area, genitals or buttocks.
  • Clothing that exposes more than two inches above the knee, including slits when standing.
  • Clothing or accessories displaying obscene or offensive language, drawings or objects.
  • No strapless garments, halter, midriff, tank tops (male or female), transparent (see-through), wrap around tops, skirts, or dresses.
  • No under wire garments.
  • No leg warmers, lycra or spandex clothing.
  • No excessively loose or tight fitting clothing
  • No warm-up suits, sweat suits or jogging suits or other similar items of clothing.
  • No hats, wigs, hairpieces, non-readily removable hair extensions or hair weaves worn solely for cosmetic purposes. These require prior written approval based upon verification of need per DOM 54020.20.
  • No scarves or excessive clothing.
  • No things, shower shoes or slippers.
  • No broaches or stick pins.

EXEMPTIONS: Children fewer than 36 inches are exempt from denim wear, tights, and head gear (hats or hoods).

Visitors not properly attired will be afforded the opportunity to utilize Friends Outside or find appropriate clothing through other means.

Visitors not properly attired will be denied visiting.  Children of all ages, except where exempted, are also to be dressed in accordance with the above restrictions.

Please contact our visiting number for further information at (800) 374-8474.

Visitor Processing Appointment Scheduling System (VPASS) Information:

California Men's Colony (CMC) is participating in the VPASS pilot program. VPASS is an on-line program used to schedule appointments for visitor processing (contact visits only). New appointment times for CMC become available each Monday at 12:01 a.m. For more information about VPASS go to CDCR Visitation. In the event the VPASS appointments are full CMC’s non-appointment/walk-up time is 10:00 a.m. to enter the grounds and 10:30 a.m. for processing.

Visiting Assistance:

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.

Statewide Inmate Family Council Message:

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.

General Directions:

From the North or South:

  • Hwy 101 to San Luis Obispo; exit Hwy 1
  • North on Hwy 1 (for approx. 3 miles)
  • West Facility visitors: turn left on Santa Cruz (first left), and follow signs to Visiting
  • East Facility visitors: stay on Colony Drive and park in parking lot on left side

Visit this link  to customize your driving directions.

San Luis Obispo offers a wide variety of lodging choices, from campgrounds to luxury hotels.  For more information, call the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce at (805) 781-2777 or visit our website

About California Men's Colony

Aerial of California Men's ColonyAerial photo. Click image for larger view.

The primary mission of the California Men's Colony is to provide secure housing for minimum and medium security inmates. 

Institution Details

CMC has two physically separated housing complexes, commonly referred to as "East" and "West". An emphasis is placed on providing all inmates with programs for self-improvement. These programs include academic and vocational education, work skills in prison industries and inmate self-help group activities.

The Level III housing complex (East), which houses medium security general population inmates, is divided into four Facilities. Each Facility has its own dining room, classrooms, athletic fields, and two three-story housing units. The East housing complex has a fully licensed General Acute Care Hospital and provides a full range of medical services for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The facility also provides a Mental Health Delivery System in the form of an Enhanced Outpatient Program and Outpatient treatment for inmates assigned to the Correctional Clinical Case Management System, as well as a new fully licensed 50 bed Mental Health Crisis Unit.

The Level I and II housing complex (West) houses minimum security general population inmates in dormitory settings within three separate facilities. In addition, the West housing complex contains a Level I camp program for fire suppression, conservation and other community service work. CMC works extensively within San Luis Obispo County, in conjunction with other governmental entities, through Community Service Crews which perform many valuable services to the various communities within the county. CMC's West Facility has been designated as a re-entry hub. As part of the re-entry hub program, inmates are given the opportunity to take advantage of increased academic education and increased career technical education. CMC West inmates have access to cognitive behavior therapy programs such as substance abuse, criminal thinking, anger management and family relationships. Additionally, CMC West inmates may also take advantage to transitional programs that help them get jobs, plan out a career path, plan for their financial future and obtain a California ID card before their release.

Hospice Program

The CMC is the second institution in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to offer a hospice program to the inmate population. The program has trained over 100 inmate volunteers since its inception at CMC in 2001.  There are currently 61 volunteer inmates who have completed the training program and are available to visit terminally ill inmates that are housed in the institution hospital. These volunteers are also available to the general population inmates during a monthly memorial service to assist them in their grief of family members who have passed while incarcerated.  The training was developed and presented by local hospice staff, to closely match training offered to volunteers within the community. According to volunteer inmates and inmate recipients of hospice care, the program is of great value on both sides of this very critical issue.

Warden Gastelo

About the Warden

Josie Gastelo has been Warden at the California Men’s Colony (CMC) State Prison in San Luis Obispo since September 2015. Gastelo has served as Chief Deputy Warden at the California Men’s Colony since October 2013.

She arrived at CMC in 2007, as a Correctional Business Manager II, promoted to Associate Warden over Business Services and Central Operations.

She served in multiple positions at Pleasant Valley State Prison, from 1994-2007, including Staff Services Manager I, Accounting Officer, Associate Governmental Program Analyst as the Budget Analyst and State Automated Preventive Maintenance System (SAPMS) Analyst. She worked at North Kern State Prison from 1992-1994, as the SAPMS Analyst.

She began her career with the California Department of Corrections in June 1988, at California State Prison (CSP), Corcoran as an Office Assistant. While at CSP-Corcoran, she also worked as a Program Administrator’s Secretary and Personnel Specialist.