Visitation Information

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR VISITING 

Posted April 14, 2021

Visitation Scheduling Application (VSA) now available to schedule in-person visiting at ten institutions
  • Beginning 12 a.m. on Friday, April 16, approved visitors at the following institutions MUST use VSA to schedule both in-person and video visits: Calipatria State Prison, Deuel Vocational Institution, Folsom State Prison, High Desert State Prison, Ironwood State Prison, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, California State Prison – Sacramento (in-person visits only), Sierra Conservation Center, Valley State Prison and Wasco State Prison. See below for more information.

Most institutions have reopened for limited in-person visiting.

  • For the latest information regarding in-person visiting, including important details on COVID-19 testing requirements, please review our Visitation FAQs and see below
COVID-19 Test Required for In-Person Visiting
  • In-person visitors, including vaccinated individuals, MUST provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no longer than 72 hours prior to the visit, or undergo a rapid test prior to admission into the institution. ON-SITE TESTING IS LIMITED AND NOT GUARANTEED. Find a testing location near you through the California Department of Public Health website, some free resources included.

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. After suspending in-person visiting statewide in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency, the department worked closely with our health care partners to begin reopening institutions for limited in-person visitation beginning April 10.

The reopening of in-person visitation for facilities within each of the state’s 35 prisons will be based on the number of active cases, the time in between active and resolved cases, and other factors based on health and safety. Check the Facility Visiting Status page regularly for updates on the status of in-person visiting at each institution.

For more on CDCR’s response to COVID-19, please see our COVID-19 information page.

CDCR continues to offer real-time video visiting at 33 prisons and 32 conservation camps 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 60-minute video visit and one, 60-minute in-person visit. There are no limits to the amount of visits a visitor may schedule; however, incarcerated persons are only allowed one visit per day, either in-person or video. All visiting will be determined based on availability and health and safety considerations.

Conservation camps, also known as fire camps, will only conduct video visits at this time.

Visiting hours vary, but most facilities will schedule video and in-person visits between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Visiting slots will be limited based on space availability in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols.

All institutions will be following public health protocols while conducting visits, including physical distancing and sanitation of each station following a visit. CDCR will continue to enforce visitation rules including appropriate attire. Visitors are encouraged to reference visit our Frequently Asked Questions  for how to schedule visits, and an overview of new protocols, including COVID-19 testing requirements.

Scheduling Video and In-Person Visits at Institutions using VSA

The Visitation Scheduling Application (VSA) is currently used to schedule video visits at the 33 participating institutions. The VSA allows approved visitors to easily schedule their own visits and receive instant confirmation of their request.

Using a phased approach, friends and family will now have the ability to schedule in-person visits with an incarcerated person using the VSA, which will replace the email reservation process at the participating institutions.

Beginning 12 a.m. Fri., April 16, approved visitors at the following institutions will be allowed to schedule both in-person and video visits using VSA: Calipatria State Prison, Deuel Vocational Institution, Folsom State Prison, High Desert State Prison, Ironwood State Prison, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, California State Prison – Sacramento (in-person only), Sierra Conservation Center, Valley State Prison and Wasco State Prison.

Requests for a visit can be made using VSA beginning eight days prior to the date of the visit. Approved visitors have five days to schedule a visit using VSA for a visit on the following weekend.

For example, the scheduling window for a visit to take place on Sat., April 24 is from 12 a.m. April 16 through 11:59 p.m. April 20. For a visit on Sun. April 25, the scheduling window is 12 a.m. April 17 through 11:59 p.m. April 21.

Additional institutions will be announced in the coming weeks.

Connectivity issues will not allow CDCR to offer VSA to schedule fire camp video visits. A step-by-step guide for how to use VSA is available on CDCR’s website.

In-person Visiting

There will be significant changes to visiting operations, including new protocols such as temperature and symptom screenings, COVID-19 testing, physical distancing, face coverings, limiting the number of visitors at a given time, length of time allowed for each visit, and other expectations for visitors.

In-person visitors MUST provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no longer than 72 hours prior to the visit, or undergo a rapid test prior to admission into the institution. ON-SITE TESTING IS LIMITED AND NOT GUARANTEED. Find a testing location near you.

To make your in-person visit go as smoothly as possible, CDCR encourages you to familiarize yourself with our video on in-person visiting and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Video Visiting

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. Visit our website for additional information on CDCR’s COVID-19 response.

Scheduling Video Visits at Conservation Camps with Email

CDCR has announced video visiting at 32 conservation camps, also known as fire camps. Friends and family may schedule visits starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday through 8 a.m. on Monday for visits the following weekend.

Please submit requests via email, and include all necessary visitor information to the designated email of the camp for which you’d like to request a video visit:

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

Email 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. 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. Please check the Visiting Facility Status for updates.

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.

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.