IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR VISITING
12/02/2020 UPDATE: All 35 CDCR prisons will offer limited video visiting starting this month to allow friends and family a way to safely connect with incarcerated people. Five institutions will begin offering video visiting on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6, with more added on the weekends of Dec.12 and Dec. 13 and Dec. 19 and Dec. 20. In-person visiting remains canceled statewide until further notice as part of the department’s COVID-19 response. Please continue to check this site for which institutions are offering 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 will now begin to offer real-time video visiting as a safe way for incarcerated people to see and speak with their loved ones. We have developed a virtual process in cooperation with California Correctional Health Care Services and the California Department of Public Health.
Under the new system, each inmate will have the opportunity for a free 30-minute video visit every 30 days. Visits will take place on weekends and holidays. Most facilities will schedule their visits between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., but hours may vary.
The department initially launched video visitation at five institutions: Central California Women’s Facility, California Institution for Men, Mule Creek State Prison, San Quentin State Prison, and Valley State Prison.
Please note: Incarcerated people in isolation or quarantine will not be able to participate in video visiting.
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
Prospective visitors must submit visiting requests directly to the institution where their loved one is housed, using the designated email addresses for each institution:
- Central California Women’s Facility: CCWFVideoVisiting@cdcr.ca.gov
- California Institution for Men: CIMVideoVisiting@cdcr.ca.gov
- Mule Creek State Prison: MCSPVideoVisiting@cdcr.ca.gov
- San Quentin State Prison: SQVideoVisiting@cdcr.ca.gov
- Valley State Prison: VSPVideoVisiting@cdcr.ca.gov
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 five 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.
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/
Use the Inmate Locator to find an inmate and in what facility they are housed.
Schedule Visit, Visitor Processing Appointment Scheduling System (VPASS)
Sign-up or log into VPASS to schedule an inmate visit. VPASS stands for Visitor Processing Appointment Scheduling System. Note: this requires creating an online account.
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.