Valley State Prison (VSP)

Physical Address: 21633 Avenue 24, Chowchilla, CA 93610 (Directions)

Main Phone: (559) 665-6100

  • Institution: P. O. Box 99, Chowchilla, CA 93610-0099
  • Inmates (make sure to include Inmate’s Name and CDCR number as well as last known housing):
    • General Inmate Mail: P. O. Box 92, Chowchilla, CA 93610-0092
    • Inmate Moneygram: P. O. Box 94, Chowchilla, CA 93610-0094
    • Inmate Legal Mail: P. O. Box 96, Chowchilla, CA 93610-0096
  • Valley State Prison Institutional Staff: P. O. Box 99, Chowchilla, CA 93610-0099
  • Education: The VSP Education Department currently offers educational services to the inmate population via two service delivery streams; the Academic Program, the Vocational Program.  At any one time, the Education Department offers educational services to approximately 2,400 of our inmate population.  Education is currently operating under a six year accreditation without a review issued by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (approximately 3% of all schools in the Western United States receive this high a level of accreditation).
  • Academic Education Programs:  Six classes for Adult Basic Education I, II, III, and General Education Development (GED) level.
  • Vocational Programs: Automotive Mechanics, Cosmetology, Electronics, Office Services, Small Engine Repair, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Welding, Electrical Works, Carpentry and Masonry.
  • PIA:  PIA employs approximately 215 inmates in three separate operations:  Farm Operation, Eyewear Manufacturing, and Laundry.
  • Substance Abuse Program (SAP):  SAP currently provides substance abuse services/counseling to 125 inmates in the Walden House program.  Inmates follow a curriculum that includes education and counseling for substance abuse, domestic violence, anger management, conflict resolution, co-dependency, etc.  This program also includes re-entry planning.
  • Other: Religious, Law and Recreational Library, Physical Education, and Centerforce.
  • Health Care Services: The Division of Correctional Health Care Services (DCHCS) at VSP consists of three departments:  Medical, Mental Health and Dental Departments.  VSP provides a range of treatment and rehabilitative services to assist men with emergent issues, alcohol and drug recovery, chronic care issues, preventative services, patient education, health care support, mental health services and dental services.

DRP Programs
CDCR’s Division of Rehabilitative Programs offers a wide range of programs for inmates. Check to see which programs are offered at this institution.

Family Liaison Service Specialist
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!

Hume lake with trees
Yosemite National park with rocks, shallow lake and large rock mountain in the background in clear sky.


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.

Warden of Valley State Prison - Raythel Fisher

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.

ceo raul recarey

Raul Recarey is the CEO at CHCF. Raul is uniquely experienced in managing complex healthcare organizations, as well as health IT-related projects. Prior to moving to California, Raul was appointed by Governor Quinn to head the HIE initiative for the state of Illinois as Executive Director for ILHIE, the state’s Health Information Exchange. He also implemented Missouri’s health network as President and CEO of that state’s Health Information Exchange after having served as chief operating officer and acting executive director of the West Virginia Health Information Network. Prior to that, Raul was vice president of Health Programs at Wells Fargo Insurance Services where he was responsible for developing disease management and population health solutions centered on using advanced analytics. He also founded MedicorpCare, a disease-management consulting firm, dedicated to helping large, self-insured employer groups address rising healthcare costs. Raul’s extensive healthcare background also includes administration of Acute Care Hospital and he has held several executive positions within the Managed Care and PPO industries.

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.