California Correctional Institution

California Correctional Institution, or CCI, originally opened in 1933, and it housed only female inmates. CCI was closed in 1952 in response to natural disaster devastation and was reopened in 1954. This state prison is located in Tehachapi, CA on 1,650 acres, and since it’s reopening in 1954 it has been used for male offenders only.

In 1985, California built the first brand new maximum-security facility in more than 100 years at CCI. The state prison grew once again when they added a new medium-custody facility a year later. It was designed for a capacity of 2,783 inmates however, currently there is over 3,200 inmates being housed at this location.

The sprawling correctional facility is separated into Level I housing that has open dormitories with a secure perimeter; Level II housing has open dormitories with secure perimeter fences and armed coverage; Level IV housing has Cells, walled perimeters, electronic security, and armed officers both inside and outside.

California Correctional Institution also has a Security Housing Unit, or SHU, which is considered the most secure area within a Level IV prison to achieve maximum-security. CCI also serves as a Reception Center, or RC. This provides short term housing to process, classify, and evaluate incoming inmates.

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Visiting Hours and Rules

California Correctional Institution has visiting hours 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 get more information about visits at CCI, call the 800 Visitors’ Information number (800-374-8474) and follow the directions given on the recording, or visit the CDCR website, then click on Prisons, and finally click on California Correctional Institution.

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

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 California Correctional Institution
  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

Before visiting an inmate at CCI, you must get approval. The process begins by completing a visitor questionnaire, but you can only get this questionnaire by having the prisoner you wish to visit mail it to you.

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

You must fill out the questionnaire completely and accurately or you could be denied. 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:
California Correctional Institution
Visiting Sergeant
PO Box 1031
Tehachapi, CA 93581-1031 

If you are approved to visit, the prisoner will be notified and then it is their job to notify you. Once you are approved, you are listed in the computer as being an approved visitor for that specific prisoner, and you do not need to bring any proof of approval with you to the prison.

If you are denied, you will receive a letter from the prison giving the reason for disapproval, and the prisoner will also receive notice of the disapproval but will not be given the reason.

Contact, Non-Contact, and Family Visits

Most prisoners are in general population and can have contact visits. At a contact visit, prisoners are allowed to sit with their visitors in a large visiting room that has tables and chairs, and there are usually many other prisoners and visitors.

Contact visits are allowed a maximum of five visitors at a time.

Prisoners who are still in reception, who are segregated, or who are assigned to Behavior Management Units are restricted to non-contact visits.

Non-contact visits take place in a different room from the contact visits, and there is a glass partition between the prisoner and their visitors. Prison staff will escort the prisoner in handcuffs, and the handcuffs are removed only after the prisoner is secured in their side of the visiting booth.

Adults 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.

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.

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.

General Visiting Rules

All adults must present identification when being processed to visit. Only identification that is valid and current will be accepted.

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

There will be a wait from the time you arrive at the prison to the time you are processed to visit. Typical wait times for processing are not excessive. However, on occasion may be as long as two hours, depending on the number of visitors, the time of day, and conditions of processing (including the size of the processing center, the number of staff, and the speed of processing).

The wait times are usually longer first thing in the morning, when many visitors arrive all at the same time. Scheduling a visit in advance with the VPASS system will significantly reduce your wait time.

The only items you can bring into a visit are:

  • A $50 limit per adult and $20 limit per minor. You can only bring dollar bills, dollar coins, or quarters (change machines are usually available, but they may be out of order or out of change)
  • A small clear, plastic purse or bag
  • Two keys on a ring with no other attachments
  • Identification
  • 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” (You can show photos to the prisoner, but you have to take them with you at the end of the visit). Photos cannot be Polaroid and may not include any sexual or gang images. The staff will look at the photos during processing.
  • Documents up to 10 pages, no larger than 8-1/2” by 11” (standard size typing paper). The staff will view and read the documents during processing and you must take them with you at the end of the visit. 

The following baby items are allowed when you are bringing in an infant or toddler:

  • Any combination of two, factory-sealed, single serving size, ready to feed bottles of baby formula, or two, transparent, plastic baby bottles either empty or containing pre-mixed formula/milk/juice/water
  • Three non-glass containers of baby food in sealed packaging
  • One plastic spoon
  • Six disposable diapers
  • One sealed package of baby wipes
  • One change of clothing
  • One small blanket
  • Two searchable small toys
  • One transparent pacifier
  • One burp cloth
  • Baby carrier
  • One clear plastic diaper bag (12” by 20”)

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

2. Do not wear clothing that resembles what custodial staff wear

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

24900 Highway 202
Tehachapi, CA 93561

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(661) 822-4402

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

When addressing inmate male, include the Institution’s name, the inmate’s name, and their CDCR number.

Housing Unit 1
PO Box 107
Tehachapi, CA 93581-0107

Housing Unit 2
PO Box 608
Tehachapi, CA 93581-0608

Housing Unit 3
PO Box 1905
Tehachapi, CA 93581-5905

Reception Center
PO Box 1905
Tehachapi, CA 93581-5905

Housing Unit 4A
PO Box 1902
Tehachapi, CA 93581-5902

Housing Unit 4B
PO Box 1906
Tehachapi, CA 93581-5906

All mail sent to or from prisoners is inspected to the extent necessary to ensure that there is nothing unacceptable in the envelope and to ensure that the content does not contain anything that presents a danger or threat of danger to any person.

As a practical matter, that means that any mail sent to the prisoner is opened by mailroom staff, which checks the envelope for enclosures and quickly examines the written content, although it may be more thoroughly reviewed at any time.

You may send prisoners letters (not more than 10 pages in one envelope), cards (without embellishments such as stickers or glitter), photographs (limited to 10 per envelope and not larger than 8” x 10”), drawings, children’s schoolwork, articles cut from newspapers or magazines, etc.

You may not send the following directly to a prisoner: books, magazines, newspapers, or packages; such matters must be sent through approved vendors and the prisoner can tell you  about that procedure.

How to Call an Inmate

The CDCR uses the Department of General Services (DGS) Inmate/Ward Telephone System (IWTS) Contract that provides collect-only domestic and international telephone services to the inmates and wards at CDCR facilities. For complete details on how to call an inmate in California, please click here.

How to Send Money

Before sending money to an inmate at California Correctional Institution:

  • Lookup the inmate’s CDCR number by using the Inmate Locator
  • Make sure the inmate is located at California Correctional Institution by using the Facility Locator

There are three ways to send money to an inmate:

  1. Lock Box
  2. EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer)
  3. Mail funds directly to the institution:

California Correctional Institution
PO Box 1031
Tehachapi, CA 93581-1031

To get complete details about the different ways to send money to an inmate at California Correctional Institution click here.

​Programs For ​Inmates

Prison Industries Authority (PIA), Fabrics (Clothing) manufactured for the following: California Youth Authority (CYA) Trousers, Shirts; CDCR, Blue Trouser, Shirts, Denim, and Foul Weather Jackets, Camp Pants and Jackets, and Women Pants; Department of Military, Navy Trousers; State Hospital, Khaki and Dark Brown Trouser, Shorts Aprons, and Jackets; and other miscellaneous sewn products.

Vocational: Computer and cabling, office services and word processing, air conditioning and refrigeration, automotive repair, welding, auto body repair, building maintenance.

Academic: Literacy, Adult Basic Education, GED

Religious Programs with staff chaplains to include Native American, Muslim, Jewish, Protestant and Catholic.

Self Help Programs to include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Criminals and Gang Members Anonymous (CGA), Celebrate Recovery, Purpose Driven Life, Alternatives to Violence (ATV), St. Vincent de Paul Society (Assist indigents), White Bison (Native American), and Incarcerated Veterans Group.

Pictures of California Correctional Institution

Careers at California Correctional Institution

If you are interested in a job at California Correctional Institution, please visit the CalCareers website to view available positions.