Types of Visits

All incarcerated people are eligible to receive visits unless they have temporarily lost that privilege due to disciplinary action. See below for information on in-person and family visiting. Please note that all visiting is dependent on the Department’s Roadmap to Reopening and health and safety factors.

In-Person Visits

Most incarcerated people in the general population may participate in an in-person visit. These visits allow the incarcerated person to sit together with their visitor(s) in a designated shared space, usually furnished with tables and chairs. In-person visits are limited to five visitors at a time and are not limited in duration except for normal visiting hours or terminations caused by overcrowding.

In-Person Non-Contact Visits

Incarcerated people 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 incarcerated person and his/her visitors. The incarcerated person is escorted in handcuffs by staff to the visit. The handcuffs are removed only after the incarcerated person is secured in his/her side of the visiting booth; thus, parents who do not wish to have children see the incarcerated person 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).

Incarcerated people on Death Row, often referred to as “condemned”, 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” incarcerated people on Death Row may receive contact visits (meaning no partition between incarcerated person and his/her visitor) unless their visiting privileges have been restricted for disciplinary or security reasons. “Condemned Grade B” incarcerated people on Death Row may only receive non-contact visits. All Condemned visits are in a secured booth and involve the incarcerated person being escorted to visiting in handcuffs. Visits for all incarcerated people on Death Row are limited in time (usually one to two hours).

Family Visits

Some incarcerated people 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. There are no age restrictions for prospective visitors.  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 the OPEN Phase of the Roadmap to Reopening. Each institution has its own protocols for marriages; please contact your institution for details.

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 OPEN Phase, 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.

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.