Sending money to inmates will change on January 1.
Beginning January 1, 2015, San Quentin and WASCO State Prison will be participating in a 90-day pilot program intended to streamline the process for sending checks and money orders to inmates. The new service, Lock Box, allows for incoming inmate monies to be mailed to a secured centralized depository.
Folsom, Mule Creek and California State Prison-Sacramento will be using the Lock Box service exclusively for inmate deposits of checks and money orders. The process for electronic fund transfers will remain the same for all prisons.
How to Send Money to an Inmate
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
* 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:
- Traveler Checks
- Foreign Currency
Electronic 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 www.victimcompensation.ca.gov.
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.
- Visitation Home
- Facility Locations
- CA Out-of-State Facilities
- Community Correctional Facilities
- Juvenile Facilities (DJJ)
- Printable Maps of California's Correctional Facilities
- Get on the Bus
- Inmate Visiting Guidelines - includes Mail and Telephone calls (pdf)
- Juvenile Visitor Guidelines
- Visitor Processing Appointment Scheduling System (VPASS)