Sending Money to an Inmate

To send money to an inmate using any of the methods listed below, use CDCR's:

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3 Ways of Sending Money

  1. Lock Box: A no fee service with a shorter hold time for sending money via money order, personal check, or cashier’s checks.
  2. EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer): A paid service, this is the fastest option with funds posted to inmate’s account within 1 to 3 days
  3. Mail funds directly to the institution: Never a fee. All funds except Certified Funds are subject to a 30 day hold.


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.