Sending money to inmates is changing at all prisons

Inmate Deposits may now be sent through the Lock Box Service for inmate deposits of checks and money orders up to $999.99. Lock Box allows for incoming inmate monies to be mailed to a secured centralized depository. Checks and Money Orders in the Amount in of $1,000.00 or more will still be accepted at the institution. The Lock Box Service pilot program is being rolled out in stages for all prisons.

The process for Electronic Fund Transfers remains unchanged for ALL prisons.

How to Send Money to an Inmate

Sample Check Mail a Check or Money Order

Funds may be enclosed in correspondence in the form a Check or Money Order. Funds should be sent by mail to the institution where the inmate is currently located; refer to the specific institution's webpage for the mailing address. Find a prison using the Facility Locator.

Required on all checks and
money orders:

  • Inmate's name (lookup)
  • Inmate's CDCR number (lookup)
  • Sender's name
  • Sender's address

* Personal checks are held for 30 days before being deposited into the inmate's account. Funds not in the form of Certified Checks shall not be released for spending by the inmate for thirty (30) days from the date of deposit into the inmate trust account.


  • Personal Check*
  • Cashier's Check*
  • Money Order*
  • Certified Check

Do Not Send:

  • Cash
  • Traveler Checks
  • Foreign Currency

EFTElectronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

You may also send money electronically through one of the following companies:

Reasons to Send Money

  • Funds to Inmate (for discretionary spending). Money that is being sent to the inmate for his or her own personal use is subject to restitution and administrative charges.

  • Restitution Payment. To make a payment for a restitution fine or direct order for a parolee, the parolee should contact his/her parole agent for instruction. If the payment is for an inmate, the inmate should contact his/her counselor for information. When making a payment, please give the restitution fine or direct order information. We also need in writing what should be done with any excess money over the fine or direct order amount. It can either be given to the inmate or refunded to the sender.
    I M P O R T A N T : When an inmate has a Restitution Fine and Direct Order Collection a portion of any money you send in will be used to pay that fine or collection. Effective January 1, 2007 and thereafter, when an inmate owes any obligation pursuant to a restitution fine imposed by a court, the department shall deduct 50 percent or the balance owing, whichever is less, from the inmate's wages and trust account deposits regardless of the source of such income. In addition, an administrative fee of 10 percent of the deduction shall be deducted to reimburse the department for its administrative costs, for a maximum deduction of 55 percent. The amount deducted, less the administrative fee, shall be transferred to the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board for deposit in the Crime Victims' Restitution Fund in the State Treasury. (CCR § 3097) You may contact the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board at 800-777-9229 or

  • Family Visiting. Before sending money for family visiting, contact the institution's Family Visiting Office at the institution where the inmate is located for instructions. NOTE: Funds for family visiting may NOT be sent via Electronic Funds Transfer.

  • Temporary Community Leave. Before sending money for Temporary Community Leave, the inmate should contact his or her counselor for instructions.

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