How do I visit an inmate?
If you plan to visit an inmate at an Institution, you will need to complete a visiting application form. The inmate must initiate this process by first signing and then sending the form to you. You cannot obtain the form yourself; it must come from the inmate and must be signed by him/her before you send it in. Once you receive it, you should complete it and mail it back to the attention of the Visiting Sgt. or Lieutenant. A thorough background check of your arrest history is completed to determine if you are eligible to visit a state prison. Previous charges may or not preclude you from visiting, but omitting them on your application will be an automatic denial. It is important you are completely honest regarding your arrest history. The review and approval process could take 4-6 weeks. Upon approval, the inmate is notified and it is his /her responsibility to notify you. If you are denied, a letter will be sent to you from the Visiting Office which will state the reason for your denial.
There is a toll free visiting hotline number (1-800-374-8474) that will provide general visiting information and then prompt you in order to obtain more specific information regarding the institution you plan to visit. It is highly recommended you call this number prior to any visit to verify there has not been a lockdown and to determine that visiting is open that day. Before traveling to the prison please call the visiting hotline number (1-800-374-8474) to verify there has not been a lockdown and that visiting is open.
There are restrictions on what you may wear to a prison. In general, there are four rules to remember:
1. Do not wear clothing that resembles the clothing that prisoners wear
- Blue denim pants
- Blue chambray shirts;
- Orange tops with orange bottoms;
- Red tops (specifically at Pleasant Valley State Prison); or
- Dresses that resemble prisoner muumuu (female institutions only)
2. Do not wear clothing that resembles what custodial staff wears
- Forest green pants;
- Tan shirts; or
3. Dress conservatively and modestly; and
- Do not wear any item that cannot be taken off and will not clear a metal detector
(such as an underwire bra or clothing with metal buttons).
There are specific restrictions:
- No blue denim, blue chambray, or orange tops with orange bottoms;
- No forest green bottoms with tan tops;
- No camouflage unless identification shows active or reserve military personnel;
- No strapless, halter, bare midriff, sheer, or transparent clothing;
- No skirts, dresses, or shorts that expose more than two inches above the knee;
- No clothing that exposes the breast, genitalia, or buttocks area;
- No very tight, form-fitting attire;
- No wigs, hairpieces, extensions, or other headpieces except for medical reasons and with prior approval;
- No hats or gloves, except with prior approval or in inclement weather;
- No shower shoes.
Where can I find more information regarding visiting?
If the inmate is housed in the Reception Center, or Ad-Seg you must call and make an appointment to schedule a non-contact visit. If the inmate is currently housed in the General Population area then you can a have a regular contact visit. Again, contact the visiting hotline # at 1-800-374-8474 to confirm there are no restrictions at the facility
Ombudsman Contact Information
Juvenile Justice Related
FAQs for Adult Inmates
- General Information
- Entering a California State Prison -What to Expect
- General Information Upon Arrival To Endorsed Institution
- Transfer Information
- Visiting Information
- Parole Information
- Health Care Information
- Legal Assistance Information