The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is an extensive state prison system that spans California and even contracts with out of state institutions to relieve overcrowding. If you or someone you know will be doing time in a California state prison, you can find a lot of information about what your experience will be like at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website. You can access the website at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/.
When an inmate first gets to a California prison, they undergo a lengthy reception and classification process that can last for 120 days. After this happens, the CA inmate will be assigned a location that can accommodate their classification. This might mean being sent to a prison far away from the inmate’s family, making visitation difficult. California officials attempt to consider family location, but it cannot always be accommodated.
Before the inmate is assigned a classification, he or she cannot make phone calls or receive packages, but most California prisons say that inmates can get mail and writing supplies during this time. If you need to send mail to an inmate, this is how you should address the letter:
Facility, Building #, Cell #
PO Box ____
City, State Zip Code
It is possible to visit inmates while they are in reception. You must go through an application process and become an approved visitor in order to pay an inmate a visit in California state prisons. You must also make an appointment ahead of time. You can find more information about visiting California inmates at this webpage: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Visitors/index.html.
California inmates are placed in particular locations according to the information in their criminal case. Inmates are assigned security levels that determine which facility they will be housed in. The security level is based on the crime they committed and key facts of their case, such as if the crime was violent, as well as whether they have been in jail before or been involved with gangs. The classification board weighs these factors, as well as the inmate’s age.
There are four security levels, and California inmates are assigned to them based on a score from zero to 52 and above. A score of 18 or less puts you in a level 1 facility or camp, which have open dormitories and low security perimeters. If your number is 19 to 27, you will be in a level two facility, which is an open dormitory with a secure perimeter and armed coverage. Inmates who fall in the 28 to 51 range are assigned to a level 3 facility with a secure perimeter, armed coverage, and cells that are not adjacent to exterior walls. Level 4 facilities house California inmates with a score of 52 or above, and these facilities have secure perimeters, internal and external armed coverage, and housing units or cell block housing with cells that are not adjacent to exterior walls.
While an inmate is in prison in California, their classification score can go up or down based on their behavior and whether they are participating in a program. A score can also go up because of behavior and resulting disciplinary actions.
After the classification committee decides which institution the California inmate will be assigned to, the Classification Staff Representative has to sign off on the decision, and this might not happen for 45-60 days. Then the inmate has to wait for a bed to open up at the institution and for a bus seat to get there.You can also learn more about privileges while in reception at this webpage: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Ombuds/Entering_a_Prison_FAQs.html.