How to Contact an Inmate

Written Contact

Individuals are free to contact any state prison inmate by mail. Incoming letters are opened and inspected for contraband and then forwarded to the inmate. To ensure prompt processing the following information should be included on the envelope:

  • Inmate’s full name, CDC#
  • Institution Name
  • P.O. Box Housing (preferable)
  • City, CA ZIP

To get an inmate’s CDC# or housing assignment, individuals should call the Public Information Officer (PIO) or the inmate locator at the institution (see below for phone numbers).

Those people who don’t know where an inmate is housed may contact the Department’s ID Unit at (916) 445-6713. A date of birth will be required if the person they are inquiring about has a common name.

Mailing Addresses

In most cases, the inmate mail address is different from the general institution address.

(View the List of Adult Institutions.)

In the right column, click the name of the prison the inmate is housed. A list of mailing addresses will be listed at the top of that page.

(View contact information for institution Public Information Officers.)

Email Contact

CDCR and Viapath Technologies (VPT) are initiating inbound electronic communications to CDCR facilities. CDCR and Viapath Technologies (VPT) are rolling out tablets to institutions statewide. Once tablets are active at an institution, users are able to receive emails and photographs from friends and family. The cost of an inbound electronic communication (e-message, photo, or e-Card) is $.05 each (2,000 character maximum).

(Learn more about email contact.)

Phone Contact

Most incarcerated people have access to telephones and can initiate outgoing calls. Beginning January 1, 2023, all telephone audio calls made from an incarcerated person in a California state prison are free of charge to the incarcerated person and their friends and families. When corresponding with an incarcerated person, individuals may provide a telephone number where an incarcerated person can call them. It is up to the incarcerated person to initiate the call. Phone calls are limited to 15 minutes.