Avenal State Prison

Avenal State Prison opened in 1987, and at the time it was the first all-new prison built in California in twenty years. Originally referred to as the Kings County State Prison, it was officially named Avenal State Prison in 1988. This facility serves the state of California as a Reentry Hub programming facility that focuses on the successful reentry of inmates upon their release.

Avenal State Prison houses minimum to medium-security male inmates and has open dormitories with secure perimeter fences and armed guards. The facility itself is actually made up of six independent facilities. They are each given a letter name, and there are numerous buildings to hold its high capacity of 10,000 inmates.

The structures on ASP's 640 acres include: seventeen open dorm buildings, six 200-bed open dorm E-bed buildings, six converted gymnasiums, a 100-cell administrative segregation unit, and a 10-bed firehouse.

The size of this facility has many programs to match it. For example, ASP offers inmates programs such as Inmate Leisure Time Activity Groups (ILTAGS). ILTAGS are 12-step recovery programs where inmates learn how to accept their addictions and negative behaviors and also offers support to learn how to live a sober life.

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Avenal State Prison has visiting on Saturdays, Sundays, and four holidays during each calendar year (New Year’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day). Visits usually begin between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. and end between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

To find out the days and visiting hours for the prison you are going to visit, call the 800 Visitors’ Information number (800-374-8474) and follow the directions given on the recording to find the prison you wish to visit or visit the CDCR website www.cdcr.ca.gov and click on Prisons and then Facility Locations.

In addition to providing information regarding days and hours for visiting, the 800 Visitors’ Information number and website will also provide information on lockdowns, medical quarantines, or other circumstances affecting visiting, addresses, and directions to the prison.

When you visit an inmate at Avenal State Prison, you must comply with the established regulations and policies. If you don’t, it may result in a warning or termination, suspension, or revocation of your visiting privileges.

Recommended Steps Before Visiting:

  1. Read Visitation Guidelines to understand what you can expect and what is expected of you
  2. Make sure your friend or loved one is incarcerated at Avenal State Prison
  3. Schedule a visit online using the VPASS system
  4. The day of your scheduled visit, check the Visiting Status to ensure the institution is accepting visitors

Getting Approved for a Visit

Any adult wishing to visit a prisoner at Avenal State Prison must first obtain approval. You must apply for approval to visit by completing a Visitor Questionnaire, and you obtain the Visitor Questionnaire by having the prisoner you wish to visit send it to you.

The prisoner must sign the questionnaire before sending it to you, as the signature confirms the prisoner’s agreement to have you added to his/her visiting list.

You must fill out the questionnaire completely and accurately. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will conduct a background check for arrests and convictions when processing the application and will deny approval to visit if the check indicates an arrest or conviction not listed on the questionnaire, so you should be thorough when completing the questionnaire.

Mail the completed questionnaire to:

Avenal State Prison
Visiting Sergeant
PO Box 8
Avenal, CA 93204-0008

If you are approved to visit, the prisoner is notified and he/she must notify you. Once approved, you are listed in the computer as being an approved visitor for the prisoner; you do not need to bring any proof of approval with you to the prison.

If you are disapproved, you will receive a letter from the prison giving the reason for disapproval; the prisoner will also receive notice of the disapproval but will not be given the reason. If you are denied approval to visit, you may reapply, you may appeal the denial, or the prisoner may appeal the denial.

General Visiting Rules

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 (a brief kiss and/or hug at beginning and end of visit, hold hands during the visit).

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.

Some prisoners are eligible for, “family visits.” These visits occur in private, apartment-like facilities on prison grounds and last approximately 30 to 40 hours. Prisoners on Death Row, with life sentences, with convictions for sex offenses, or under disciplinary restrictions are not eligible for family visits.

Family visits are restricted to approved visitors who are immediate family members (parents, children, siblings, legal spouses, or registered domestic partners) of the prisoner. Family visits are further restricted by availability; usually one visit every three to five months.

An eligible prisoner must put in an application for a family visit with his assigned Correctional Counselor at the prison. Further inquiry about family visiting should be directed by the prisoner to his/her counselor or by the family to visiting staff.

All adults must present identification when being processed to visit. Acceptable forms of identification must be valid and current (not expired) and include:

  • A driver’s license (from any state) with photo
  • A Department of Motor Vehicle identification card (from any state) with photo
  • An armed forces identification card with photo
  • A United States Department of Justice Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) identification card;
  • A United States passport with photo or a foreign passport with photo
  • A photo identification issued by the Mexican Consulate

Minors (children under 18 years old) are required to be accompanied by an adult who is an approved visitor.

Visitors are strictly limited in the items they may bring into the prison. Items allowed without prior approval are limited to the following:

  • A $50 limit per adult and $20 limit per minor; only as dollar bills, dollar coins, and quarters (change machines are usually available but they may be out of order or out of change)
  • A small (generally 6” by 8”) clear, plastic purse or bag
  • Two keys on a ring with no other attachments. One key may be an electronic car keys
  • Identification (as previously specified)
  • A comb or brush; non-metallic, no pointed end or detachable parts
  • A small unopened pack of tissues or a handkerchief; no bandannas
  • A pair of prescription glasses
  • Ten Photographs, no larger than 8” by 10”; photos may be shown to the prisoner, but must be taken out by the visitor at the end of the visit; photos cannot be Polaroid and may not include any sexual or gang images; photos will be viewed by staff during processing
  • Documents up to 10 pages, no larger than 8-1/2” by 11” (standard size typing paper); usually such documents will be either papers for the prisoner’s signature (for example, tax forms), information to share with the prisoner (for example, pages showing classes available through a correspondence course), or family papers (for example, a child’s report card, certificate of achievement, or drawing), but they can be anything that can be sent to the prisoner through the mail. Documents will be viewed and read by staff during processing and must be taken out by the visitor at the end of the visit.

Dress Code

There are restrictions on what you may wear to a prison. In general, there are four rules to remember:

1. Do not wear clothing that resembles the clothing that prisoners wear (Blue denim pants, Blue chambray shirts, Orange jumpsuits, or Orange tops with Orange bottoms)

2. Do not wear clothing that resembles what custodial staff wear (Forest green pants, Tan shirts, or Camouflage)

3. Dress conservatively and modestly

4. Do not wear any item that cannot be taken off and will not clear a metal detector (such as an underwire bra or clothing with metal buttons)

Physical Address

#1 Kings Way
Avenal, CA 93204

Driving Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/TyJmVJqFfYGUkg7T8

General Phone Number

​(559) 386-0587

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Avenal State Prison
Inmate's name and CDCR number
Facility A
P.O. Box 901
Avenal, CA 93204

Facility B,
P.O. Box 902
Avenal, CA 93204

Facility C
P.O. Box 903
Avenal, CA 93204

Facility D
P.O. Box 904
Avenal, CA 93204
Facility E
P.O. Box 905
Avenal, CA 93204

Facility F
P.O. Box 906
Avenal, CA 93204

How to Call an Inmate

Inmates at Avenal State Prison can’t receive incoming calls, however they do have access to phones during daytime hours. For complete details on how to call an inmate in California, please click here.

How to Send Money

To send money to an inmate first:

3 Ways of Sending Money

  1. Lock Box: A no fee service with a shorter hold time for sending money via money order, personal check, or cashier’s checks.
  2. EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer): A paid service, this is the fastest option with funds posted to inmate’s account within 1 to 3 days
  3. Mail funds directly to the institution:

Never a fee. All funds are subject to a 30-day hold. All checks and money orders must be made payable to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The senders name and address must be written on the face of the check/money order along with the inmates name and CDCR number.

If the sender’s name and address are not written on the face of the negotiable instrument, the item will be considered contraband and will not be deposited to the inmates account.

To get complete details about sending money to an inmate at Avenal State Prison, click here.

​Programs For ​Inmates

Work programs:  Furniture Factory, Metal Fab, Egg Production, PIA Laundry & General Fabrication.

Vocational programs:  Auto body and fender, auto mechanics, electronics, office services and related technology, plumbing, refrigeration, small engine repair, welding, and electrical works.

Academic: Adult Basic Education, High School/GED, English Language Development, Literacy Program, IIP (Incarcerated Individual Program, Computer Assisted Instruction and College Programs available).

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Criminal Gang Members Anonymous (CGA), Braille Transcription, Youth Adult Awareness Program, Timeless and various religious groups, and Eye Glass Recycling, Veterans Group, Avenal Prison Mindfulness Meditation, and Friends Outside.


ASP currently provides services to 972 inmates in their academic classrooms, divided evenly between ABE I, II, and III/GED. Each class provides two three-hour sessions of instruction daily to 27 students each.

Pictures of Avenal State Prison

Careers at Avenal State Prison

If you are interested in a job at Avenal State Prison, please visit the CalCareers website to view available positions.