Main Phone: (559) 665-6100
Physical Address: 21633 Avenue 24, Chowchilla, CA 93610 (Directions)
Learn about contacting, visiting, and corresponding with inmates and juveniles who are in our institutions.
CDCR's Division of Rehabilitative Programs offers a wide range of programs for inmates. Check to see which programs are offered at this institution.
CDCR provides through a contract with a community-based organization an on-site Case Manager as a family reunification liaison for inmates and family members, to assist with an inmates pre-release preparation; and conduct Parenting and Creative Conflict Resolution classes for inmates. Please call the Institution to contact the Family Reunification Liaison.
Madera County has a rich agricultural tradition along with a strong industrial base. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are local, county, state and national parks. Bass Lake has excellent fishing, hiking trails and warm waters. An hour and a half away is Yosemite National Park world renowned for giant, ancient sequoia trees, Bridalveil Fall, and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. In Chowchilla, there’s the Chowchilla Stampede, held annually to celebrate the towns heritage, featuring a cattle drive through town. The town’s main attractions is the Fossil Discovery Center, where you can see the preserved remains of animals from 700,000 years ago like the Columbian Mammoth, Sabre-toothed cats and the largest bear to walk the earth!
The mission of Valley State Prison (VSP) is multi-fold. VSP functions as a Level II, General Population institution housing inmates requiring Sensitive Needs Yard (SNY) placement. VSP also houses inmates who are assigned to the Enhanced Outpatient Program (EOP). The EOP provides a higher level of mental health treatment for inmate requiring a more enhanced treatment plan with mental health staff. VSP has been identified as a Re-Entry hub for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (CDCR). As a Re-Entry hub, VSP will focus on needs based rehabilitative services to include substance abuse and cognitive behavioral training. VSP offers educational and vocational training, along with work skills training through the Prison Industry Authority Optical and Laundry programs.
VSP was constructed and dedicated in 1995. The original name for VSP was Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW). VSPW housed multi-level female felons and served CDCR as the state’s only Security Housing Unit (SHU) for the female offender population. In 2011, the California Legislature passed, and Governor Brown signed into law, Assembly Bill 109 (AB109) the Governor’s Public Safety Re-Alignment bill. The result of that law was a decrease in the female offender population and the recidivism rate. CDCR seeing the drastic reduction in the female population saw the opportunity to utilize VSPW to house level II SNY male inmates. In October 2012, VSPW began a historic conversion from an all female institution to an all male institution. In January 2013, the conversion was successfully completed and the name changed to Valley State Prison or VSP.
Raythel Fisher has been warden or acting warden at Valley State Prison, Chowchilla, since 2014. Fisher served in several positions at Pleasant Valley State Prison from 1994 to 2014, including chief deputy warden, associate warden, lieutenant and sergeant. He was a captain at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran, from 2007 to 2010 and at Kern State Valley Prison from 2006 to 2007. Fisher was a correctional officer at North Kern State Prison from 1993 to 1994 and at California State Prison, Corcoran from 1988 to 1993. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1984 to 1988.
Tim R. Neal joined California Correctional Health Care Services in 2010. For five years he was the Chief Executive Officer for both the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) and Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW). After the conversion of VSPW to a male prison he continued at Valley State Prison (VSP) as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining CDCR Mr. Neal was a Regional Vice President for Kindred Health Care.
Local Inmate Family Councils (IFC's) are a gathering of family and friends of the incarcerated who meet regularly with Wardens to support visiting since keeping strong family connections with loved ones is a powerful rehabilitative tool. These IFC's promote visiting by clarifying rules and regulations as well as discussing health, education, vocational training, packages, books, and related issues. For more information on connecting with a local IFC, please visit the Statewide IFC website.