Types of Visits
All prisoners are eligible to receive visits unless they have temporarily lost that privilege due to disciplinary action. There are, however, different types of visits.
Real-time video visiting at designated Institutions and Fire Camps is a safe way for incarcerated people to see and speak with their loved ones. 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 these exception:
- No dress code color restrictions.
- No recording of video visits. Any visitors caught violating these restrictions could have their visiting privileges suspended
Misconduct by any party during a visit will result in termination of the video visit, and may include disciplinary action. Review attire and other visiting guidelines in this section prior to visiting.
Get Prepared for Your Video Visit
Video visits will take place using Webex, which can be accessed for free on devices with internet and camera capabilities. 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.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your visit:
- Learn How to Use Webex to Join a Video Visit
- Log into the video visit five minutes prior to the scheduled start time
- Have valid identification ready to present to staff (including minor(s) birth certificates).
- 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.
Rescheduling a Video Visit
The dates and times cannot be changed if you cannot make the appointment. You may request a new visit during the next open visiting scheduling timeframe.
Most prisoners are in the general population and may receive contact visits. Contact visits allow the prisoner to sit together with his/her visitors and have limited physical contact with them. Visitors may briefly embrace their loved one while masked upon greeting and again upon exiting the visiting room. We understand loved ones are eager to reunite, but at this time, physical contact must be limited to avoid spread of COVID-19. These visits occur in a large visiting room, usually furnished with tables and chairs and usually shared with many other prisoners and visitors. Contact visits are restricted to five visitors at a time. Contact visits are not limited in duration except for normal visiting hours or terminations caused by overcrowding to allow other visits to begin.
In-Person Non-Contact Visits
Prisoners who are still in reception (recently admitted to CDCR or transferred between prisons) or who are segregated (i.e., Administrative Segregation, Security Housing Units, Adjustment Centers, pending specific rules violation report charges, or assigned to Behavior Management Units) are restricted to non-contact visits. Non-contact visits occur with a glass partition between the prisoner and his/her visitors. The prisoner is escorted in handcuffs by staff to the visit. The handcuffs are removed only after the prisoner is secured in his/her side of the visiting booth; thus, parents who do not wish to have children see the prisoner in restraints should wait away from the booth or glass partition until the prisoner is settled. Non-contact visits are restricted to three visitors and are limited in time (usually one to two hours, depending on the prison and the reason for the non-contact status of visits).
Prisoners on Death Row, often referred to as “condemned” prisoners, are housed either at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County (men) or at Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla (women). “Condemned Grade A” prisoners on Death Row may receive contact visits (meaning no partition between prisoner and his/her visitor) unless their visiting privileges have been restricted for disciplinary or security reasons. “Condemned Grade B” prisoners on Death Row may only receive non-contact visits. All Condemned visits are in a secured booth and involve the prisoner being escorted to visiting in handcuffs. Visits for all prisoners on Death Row are limited in time (usually one to two hours).
Some prisoners are eligible for “family visits.” Family visits occur in private, apartment-like facilities on prison grounds and last approximately 30 to 40 hours. The following individuals are excluded from family visits: Incarcerated persons on Death Row, any incarcerated person with convictions for sex offenses, anyone in the Reception Centers process, or anyone under disciplinary restrictions. Family visits are restricted to immediate family members (parents, children, siblings, legal spouses, registered domestic partners, or who have a bona fide and verified foster relationship) of the incarcerated person. Family visits are further restricted by availability. An eligible incarcerated person must put in an application for a family visit with their assigned correctional counselor at the prison. Further inquiries about family visiting should be directed by the incarcerated person to their counselor or by the family to the respective institution visiting staff.
Scheduling Family Visits
To schedule a family visit, an incarcerated person must request to schedule a Family Visit with the Family Visiting Coordinator. The Family Visiting Coordinator at the institution will provide the necessary paperwork for the incarcerated person to complete, as well as a packet for them to send to their approved visitors to complete. Once all paperwork is complete and a visit is scheduled, the Family Visiting Coordinator will assist in arranging meals and other details. Depending upon the institution, family visits may be offered on the weekend, during the week, or both. Incarcerated persons and their families must pay for meals; all other accommodations are provided at no cost.
Waitlist for Family Visits
Each institution compiles a waitlist for family visit requests, prior waitlists are no longer in effect. Availability of visits, and turnaround time between approval and visit, varies with each institution.
In‑Person Marriage Ceremonies
Effective immediately, in-person marriage ceremonies may be scheduled and facilitated at adult institutions in Phase 3 of the Roadmap to Reopening. Each institution has its own protocols for marriages; please contact your institution for details. Ceremonies will be limited to three approved visitors:
- The visitor to be married
- The ceremony officiant (if not provided by the institution)
- One civilian witness
As part of ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, incarcerated guests will not be permitted at this time.
The process for requesting and completing a marriage packet has not changed. The incarcerated person must request the marriage packet from their counselor. Prior wedding waitlists will be honored. For more information, contact the institution in which your loved one is housed.
If an institution is not in Phase 3, adult applicants may continue to appear before a county clerk to obtain a marriage license via videoconference, rather than in person per Governor’s Executive Order #N-58-20 . While CDCR is in compliance with this order, the authority to issue marriage licenses and to validate marriage ceremonies continues to rest entirely with the individual counties.
All in-person visitors must show proof of a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test or a rapid Point-of-Care COVID-19 test obtained within three days prior to the visit or present a valid vaccination card noting they are at least two weeks past their final injection.
An in-person ceremony may be cancelled at any time due to health and safety reasons. When this status changes, a request may be submitted to the Marriage Coordinator to reschedule.