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. Refer to the List of Adult Institution page and 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. To find the contact information of the institution’s Public Information Officer see

Email Contact

CDCR and JPay have initiated inbound electronic communications to CDCR facilities.  All inmates will now be able to receive emails and photographs from friends and family through the JPay website (JPay Email).  When an electronic correspondence is received, mailroom staff will print and forward the correspondence to the inmate.  The cost of an inbound electronic communication will be one stamp per page (5,000 character maximum), and two stamps if a photograph is attached. 

JPay Email link

Phone Contact

Most inmates have access to telephones and can initiate outgoing collect calls. When corresponding with an inmate, individuals may provide a telephone number where an inmate can call them collect. It is up to the inmate to initiate the call. Phone calls are limited to 15 minutes.