California Institution for Women

California Institution for Women (CIW) is a California state women’s prison located in Chino, California. It has a capacity of 1,398 inmates, but currently houses more than 1,800 prisoners.

Although the CIW has an address in the city of Corona in Riverside County, the prison has been physically located in the city of Chino since 2003 following an annexation of land in previously-unincorporated San Bernardino County.

CIW sits on 120 acres, and has housing for Level I, Level II, and Level III inmates. There is also a Reception Center to process inmates coming into the California prison system.

The original California Institution for Women was dedicated in Tehachapi in 1932; however, after the 1952 Kern County earthquake, the female inmates were transferred to the just-opened CIW in Chino, and the Tehachapi facility was rebuilt as the male-only California Correctional Institution.

In the early years of CIW, convicted women wore Sunday dresses while walking and working at the campus-like setting. However, this changed in the 1980s when three towers were added with officers on top, armed with shotguns.

The first prison nursery in California opened at CIW in 2006 to correct what experts call, “a dangerous disruption of the natural bonding process.” It joins newborns with their incarcerated mothers for up to 15 months.

Notable inmates include:

  • Betty Broderick, a San Diego socialite who was convicted of the 1989 murder of her ex-husband, Dan Broderick, and his new wife, Linda Kolkena Broderick. She was convicted in 1991 and was sentenced to 32-years-to-life in prison.
  • Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, of Charles Manson's, "family," are current inmates. Each has repeatedly been denied parole.
  • Stephanie Lazarus, a former LAPD detective convicted in 2012 of the 1986 murder of a former boyfriend's wife.
Renee Alway, a former contestant of America's Next Top Model (season 8) and Modelville runner-up. She is serving a 12-year sentence for four felony burglary counts and one count each of vehicular theft and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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California Institution for Women

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Visiting Hours and Rules

California Institution for Women 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 CIW, you should either call the 800 Visitors’ Information number (800-374-8474) and follow the directions given on the recording, or visit the CDCR website Click on Prisons and then select California Institution for Women.

The 800 Visitors’ Information number and website provides information on days and visiting hours at CIW, as well as 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 Institution for Women
  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 you can visit an inmate at CIW, you must get on the approved visiting list. 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 inmate must sign the questionnaire before sending it to you because the signature confirms that the prisoner has agreed to have you added to her visiting list.

Mail the completed questionnaire to:
California Institution for Women
Visiting Sergeant
PO Box 6000
Corona, CA 92878-6000

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will conduct a background check for arrests and convictions when processing your application, and they will deny approval to visit if the check indicates an arrest or conviction not listed on the questionnaire. So, be sure to fill it out completely, and be honest and thorough with your answers.

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, and it will give you the specific reason. The prisoner will also receive notice of the disapproval, but they will not be given the reason for denial.

Contact, Non-Contact, and Family Visits

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

You are allowed a brief hug and kiss at the beginning and end of the visit, and you are allowed to hold hands during the visit.

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 only allowed to have non-contact visits.

At a non-contact visit, there is a glass partition between the prisoner and their visitors. Prison staff will escort the prisoner in handcuffs, and the officer will remove the handcuffs when the prisoner is secured in their side of the visiting booth.

If you have children with you and do not want them to see the prisoner in restraints, you should wait away from the booth or glass partition until the prisoner is settled.

Non-contact visits are restricted to three visitors and there is a time limit, 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 have limited availability, and an inmate can usually have one family visit every three to five months.

An eligible prisoner must put in an application for a family visit with her assigned Correctional Counselor at the prison.

General Visiting Rules

All adult visitors must have a current and valid photo ID in order to visit an inmate. 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. To reduce the amount of time that you have to wait, schedule a visit in advance using the VPASS system.

The wait times are usually longer first thing in the morning, when many visitors arrive all at the same time.

The only items you can bring into a visit are:

  • A $50 limit per adult and $20 limit per minor to use at the vending machines. 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 bandanas
  • 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 visit at CIW. There is a specific dress code that is extremely modest and they follow these four general rules:

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).

The visitor center at CIW provides some babysitting services, some transportation services (such as between a nearby bus or train stop and the prison), and some clothing assistance (when the prison has rejected the clothing worn by a visitor).

Additionally, the staff at the Center is a source of information regarding visitation, mail, telephone calls, and other issues that may arise as family members and friends try to maintain connections with an incarcerated loved one.

Physical Address

16756 Chino-Corona Road
Corona, CA 92880

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(909) 597-1771

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

California Institution for Women
Inmate name and CDCR number
16756 Chino-Corona Road.
Corona, CA 92880

Staff inspects all mail sent to prisoners to make sure that there is nothing unacceptable in the envelope. This means that all mail sent to the prisoner is opened by mailroom staff.

You may send prisoners letters (not more than 10 pages in one envelope), cards (without stickers or glitter), photographs (limited to 10 per envelope and no larger than 8” x 10”), drawings, children’s schoolwork, articles cut from newspapers or magazines, etc.

You can’t send books, magazines, newspapers, or packages directly to an inmate. Instead, you must send those through approved vendors.

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 Institution for Women:

  • Lookup the inmate’s CDCR number by using the Inmate Locator
  • Make sure the inmate is located at California Institution for Women 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 Institution for Women
16756 Chino-Corona Road
Corona, CA 92880

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

​Programs For ​Inmates

  • Prison Industry Authority (PIA): Clothing and textile manufacturing (shirts, shorts, jeans, smocks, aprons, bedspreads, handkerchiefs, bandanas, Nomex firefighting clothing), Construction.
  • Vocational: Computer training, The Last Mile Coding Program, Data Processing, Word Processing, Building Maintenance, Cosmetology.
  • Academic: Adult Basic Education (ABE), General Education Development (GED), High School Diploma Program (HSDP), Voluntary Education Program (VEP), Transition Program, Enhanced Outpatient Program (EOP), Chaffey College (Associate degree), Coastline Community College (Associate degree), Palo Verde College (Associate degree), Feather River College (Associate degree) and Adam’s State University (Bachelors of Arts, Bachelors of Science, Masters of Business).
  • Other: Alpha Faith-Based Re-entry, Prison Puppy program, Victim Awareness, Substance Use Disorder Treatment (SUDS), Forestry/Camp Training.

Pictures of California Institution for Women

Careers at California Institution for Women

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