Plata Order Regarding Mandatory Vaccination for Incarcerated People

On November 26, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted a stay of the District Court’s September 27, 2021 and October 27, 2021 orders pending appeal. With the stay granted, the implementation plans of these court orders as outlined in this memo are postponed until further notice.

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide updated information regarding COVID-19 vaccination  requirements as they relate to  visiting and  those   working  off-site   work detail (OSWD). Per court Plata Court Order issued on September 27, 2021, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will require incarcerated  people to  be fully vaccinated, or have an approved medical or religious exemption by December 20, 2021, in order to participate in in-person visiting or be newly assigned to an OSWD.

All individuals that regularly work on CDCR institution grounds who are subject to mandatory vaccination shall be fully vaccinated on or before December 20, 2021. Compliance dates are as follows:

  • Latest date first of two-dose Pfizer shall be received by November 15, 2021
  • Latest date second of two-dose Pfizer shall be received by December 6, 2021
  • Latest date first dose of two-dose Moderna shall be received by November 8, 2021
  • Latest date of second dose of two-dose Moderna shall be received by December 6, 2021
  • Latest date of single dose Johnson & Johnson shall be received by December 6, 2021


Only those who have completed the COVID-19 vaccine series shall be eligible to participate in in-Person visiting to include family (overnight) visiting. All others will be eligible for video-visiting. Masking, physical distance requirements and visitor requirements will remain unchanged, as outlined in the Roadmap to Reopening Update – The Inmate Visiting Program, dated May 27, 2021; the Inmate Visiting Program – Changes to Covid-19 Testing Requirements, dated July 28, 2021; and the Roadmap to Reopening Update – Visitation at a Camp Setting, dated August 26, 2021.

The Photo Ducat Program will be reintroduced at institutional facility visiting areas. All COVID-19 protocols will be strictly adhered to and all persons being photographed must remain masked.

Existing vaccination and testing requirements for visitors will not change. Visitors must present proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their visit. On-site testing is not available, and self-administered tests will not be accepted.

Camp visiting

Visiting for camps will follow the same protocols as detailed in the August 30, 2021, Roadmap to Reopening Update – Visitation at Camp Settings memorandum. Family (overnight) visiting shall be offered at Fire Camps in Phase 3.

The current method of scheduling visitation will remain the same. Visitors will continue scheduling visits through the Visitation Scheduling Application (VSA) system. The only exceptions will be scheduling visits at a fire camp or California Health Care Facility. Visitors at these locations will continue to schedule visits by email.

Safety and public health protocols will continue to be enforced. Face coverings shall be required. Six feet physical distancing shall be maintained between visitors and incarcerated persons, and six feet of physical distancing between one group of visitors and another. Child play areas will be made available. COVID-19 sanitation protocols will be followed throughout the day. High contact touch point areas will continue to be cleaned and disinfected between visits.

Off-Site Work Detail

Those currently assigned to positions labeled as OSWD, such as fire camp or fire house, will remain in their assignment and encouraged to participate in the vaccination program if they are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Incarcerated people will not be removed from their assignment; however, all new assignments to an OSWD position will require the individual to be fully vaccinated, prior to assignment.

Those currently assigned to a Male Community Reentry Program (MCRP), Custody Community Transitional Re-entry Program (CCTRP), or an Alternative Custody Program (ACP) are encouraged to participate in the vaccination program if they are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Individuals will not be removed from their assignment and all new MCRP, CCTRP, or ACP participants will not be required to vaccinate, prior to assignment.

The Division of Adult Institutions is currently evaluating solutions for easily identifying vaccinated people in the Strategic Offender Management System and other measures to improve the visiting process.

For information regarding an offender Request for Religious or Medical Accommodation refer to memorandum dated October 26, 2021, titled, Incarcerated Persons Request for Religious and/or Medical Accommodation Process.