Visitation Information

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR VISITING

1/21/2021 UPDATE: Using a phased approach, CDCR is in the process of implementing a new Visitation Scheduling Application (VSA) system that will allow visitors to choose the date and time of their appointment and receive instant confirmation of the scheduled video visit. In order to provide friends and family with more time to become familiar with the new system and to allow CDCR to further improve accessibility, we are extending our launch schedule by one week.

  • Approved visitors must continue to use the current email request process from 8 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 23 through 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 25 for visits to take place the weekend of Jan. 30 and Jan 31: http://bit.ly/3pWVmDe
  • Approved visitors are now able to claim their VSA account at four pilot institutions: San Quentin State Prison, California Institution for Men, Valley State Prison and Central California Women’s Facility. A step-by-step guide and video are available on CDCR’s website: http://bit.ly/3bJD0BK
  • Please note: you MUST use a desktop computer to claim an account at this time.
  • From Jan. 29th to Feb. 3rd, Visitors will be able to use the system to reserve a video visit to take place the weekend of Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 for the four pilot institutions.

Dates on the availability of the scheduling application for additional prisons will be posted here and on CDCR’s Visiting Information page.

In-person visiting remains canceled statewide until further notice as part of the departments COVID-19 response.

Please note: Incarcerated people in medical isolation or quarantine will not be able to participate in video visiting.

CDCR recognizes visiting is an important way to maintain family and community ties. At the same time, our first priority is the health and safety of those who live in and work in our facilities.

CDCR offers real-time video visiting as a safe way for incarcerated people to see and speak with their loved ones. Under the new system, each inmate will have the opportunity for a free 30-minute video visit every 30 days. This includes holiday visits. Visits will take place on weekends and holidays. Most facilities will schedule their visits between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, but hours may vary.

Visitors are encouraged to reference information below on how to schedule visits, use the video system and expectations for video visits. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Scheduling Video Visits

Using a phased approach, CDCR will be replacing the existing email reservation process with the user-friendly Visitation Scheduling Application (VSA) system.  The VSA system will allow approved visitors to easily schedule their own video visits and receive instant confirmation of their reservation.

Approved visitors must create an account on the VSA system in advance, at this time accounts can only be created using a desktop computer.

Beginning Jan. 18, approved visitors will be allowed to establish an account on the VSA if their loved one is housed at the following four institutions: San Quentin State Prison, California Institution for Men, Valley State Prison and Central California Women’s Facility.

The accounts can be used to make reservations beginning 12 a.m. Friday, Jan. 29 through 12 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3 for visits to take place the weekend of Feb. 6 and Feb 7.

Additional institutions will be announced in the coming weeks.

Until the Video Scheduling Application is implemented at an institution, requests must continue to be submitted directly to the institution where their loved one is housed, using the designated email addresses for each institution:

Only those individuals who have already been approved as a visitor may make an appointment. Step-by-step instructions can be found here. VPASS will no longer be used to schedule a visit.

Reservations will be taken weekly, beginning each Saturday at 8 a.m. through Monday at 8 a.m. for visits the following weekend. Please note, emails received outside the timeframe allowed will not be rolled over to the following weekend for review. Instead, a new request must be submitted during the following week reservation timeframe. Reservations are currently only available for the first four institutions. Not all reservations may be accepted because of space and equipment limitations.

Visitors must provide the following information in their visitation email request:

  • Inmate Name
  • Inmate CDCR Number
  • Approved Visitor(s) Full Name(s)
  • Date of Birth
  • Valid Identification Type and Number
  • Relationship to the Inmate
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number

Visitors approved for video visitation will receive a confirmation email that includes the visit’s time and date. The dates and times are assigned and cannot be changed if you cannot make the appointment. You may request a new visiting session during the next open visiting scheduling timeframe. Also included in the confirmation will be a link to join a visiting session as well as instructions on how to begin a video visit. You may also check out the Webex How-To resource for some helpful tips and a step-by-step guide on how to access the Webex video visit.

As with all visitation at our institutions, visits may be canceled at any time for health and safety reasons. All visitors should check the VPASS Facility Status before any scheduled visit to ensure the institution is still open for video visiting.

Holiday Video Visiting

A request to visit on an approved holiday may be submitted seven days prior, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Example: An approved visitor wanting to visit on Friday, Dec. 25, 2020 (Christmas Day), would be allowed to request a video visit on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Recognized holidays are New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Using Webex Video System

Video visits will take place using Webex, which can be accessed for free on devices with internet and camera capabilities (i.e., smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer). Incarcerated people will use laptop computers in designated visiting areas. CDCR will only provide laptop computers to inmates; no equipment will be provided to visitors by CDCR. View more information on the video visitation technology.

During the Visit

To make your video visit go as smoothly as possible, CDCR encourages you to familiarize yourself with our new video visiting guidelines and procedures. Once connected to the Webex system, visitors should ensure they are in a location where they will be able to hear throughout the visit, as the incarcerated person’s mask must remain on through the duration of the video visit.

Before staff connects you to your loved one, approved visitors should log into the video visit at least five minutes prior to the scheduled start time and have valid identification ready to present to staff (including minor(s) birth certificates).

To maintain order and to ensure safety, rules established in California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Article 7 Visiting, still apply during all video visits with the exception of dress code color restrictions

Misconduct by any party during a visit will result in termination of the video visit, and may include disciplinary action. Information about attire and other visiting guidelines are available at https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/visitors/inmate-visiting-guidelines/.

All institutions will be following public health protocols while conducting video visitation, including physical distancing and sanitation of each station following a visit. For additional information on CDCR’s COVID-19 response, additional updates and information can be found at https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/covid19/


Locate Inmate

Use the Inmate Locator to find an inmate and in what facility they are housed.


Check Visiting Status

You can find out the visiting status of a CDCR facility by checking the VPASS Visiting Status. You should always do this the day you plan to visit, because visitation can sometimes be unexpectedly cancelled.

Contacting an Incarcerated Person

Individuals are free to contact any state prison inmate by mail, and electronic mail is available at some institutions. See our website on how to contact an inmate.

You cannot directly call an inmate. However, most inmates have access to telephones and can initiate outgoing collect calls. Learn how to receive a call.

Sending Money and Packages

Sending money to an inmate is permitted. Learn how to send money. How to Send a Package to an Inmate.
You can send Inmate Quarterly Packages through authorized private vendors. Learn how to send packages.

You can send Religious Property Packages through authorized private vendors. Send Religious Property packages.


Inmate Family Councils

Statewide Inmate Family Council 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.

Throughout the roll-out of the video visitation program, CDCR will be collecting feedback, questions, and concerns on the process from the IFC’s so the department can work to create better solutions and processes for this new program.


Visitation Guidelines

Refer to the Department’s current policies and regulations in Title 15 and the Department Operations Manual if you want to know more.