Parole Agents at a meeting

Folsom Prison Boasts A Rich History Spanning One Hundred Thirty Years

Non-Revocable Parole

Folsom State Prison is California's second-oldest prison, and one of the nation's first maximum-security prisons built in the decades following the California Gold Rush. Construction of the facility began in 1878 on the site of the Stony Bar mining camp along the American River. The prison officially opened in 1880. Inmates spent most of their time in the dark behind solid boiler plate doors in stone cells measuring 4 feet by 8 feet with 6 inch eye slots. Air holes were drilled into the cell doors in the 1940s, and the cell doors are still in use today. Folsom was the first prison in the world to have electric power, which was provided by the first hydroelectric powerhouse in California. The quarry at Folsom provided granite for the foundation of the state capitol building and much of the gravel used in the early construction of California's roads.

Mission Statement

Folsom State Prison (FSP) is California’s second oldest State Prison; Our Mission is to house Medium Security Inmates in a secure and effective manner consistent with Departmental, State, Federal and relevant Case Laws while providing access to a variety of Vocational/Educational Training, Prison Industries Authority (PIA) as well as Religious and Self-Help Programs aimed at reducing recidivism rates.

Folsom Prison History Portal


prison iconFolsom prison has a rich history.

Early Daily life

cdcr starLife as an inmate at Folsom was more than sitting in a 4 x 8 cell.

Crime & Punishment

inside CDCRInfractions were met with swift action at the prison.

An Officer's Life At Folsom Prison

paroleFind out what life as a guard was like at the turn of the century.

The Prison Today

paroleFolsom prison of today is much different than its past.

Further Resources

paroleFind out more about Folsom prison and its 130 years of history.