California Medical Facility

California Medical Facility (CMF) is a male-only state prison for inmates with long-term medical needs, located in Vacaville, California. It has the capacity to house 2,361 inmates in Level I, Level II, or Level III housing.

CMF has a general acute care hospital, a correctional treatment center (CTC), a licensed elderly care unit, inpatient and outpatient psychiatric facilities, a hospice unit for terminally ill inmates, housing and treatment for inmates identified with AIDS/HIV, housing for general population, and other special inmate housing.

It is the healthcare flagship in the California state prison system and has the largest hospital among California prisons.

Charles Manson was transferred to CMF in May of 1976, and he stayed for over nine years. While at CMF, Tom Snyder interviewed Manson for The Tomorrow Show. In 2013, Ben Gurecki released recordings made by Manson at the facility during 1983-84 on a vinyl LP.

Timothy Leary also served time at CMF from 1973 to 1974 for marijuana possession.

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Visiting Hours and Rules

The visiting days at California Medical Facility are as follows: Saturdays, Sundays, and four holidays during each calendar year: New Year’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Visiting hours begin between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. and end between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. There is no time limit on visits.

To get more information about visits at CMF, 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 Medical Facility.

The 800 Visitors’ Information number and website provides information on days and visiting hours at CMF, as well as information on lockdowns, medical quarantines, or other circumstances that affect visiting.

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 Medical Facility
  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

To visit an inmate at CMF, you must first get on the approved visiting list. The inmate must mail you a signed visitor questionnaire that you will fill out and mail in to the facility. The inmate’s signature must be on the visiting application because that confirms their agreement to add you to the visiting list.

Mail the completed questionnaire to:

California Medical Facility
Visiting Sergeant
PO Box 2000
Vacaville, CA 95696-2000

When you submit your application, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will conduct a background check for arrests and convictions, 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 for not being approved. 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, consisting of tables and chairs, and there are usually many other prisoners and visitors in the room.

When the visit begins and ends, you are allowed a brief hug and kiss, 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, segregation, or who are assigned to Behavior Management Units are allowed 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 at California Medical Facility 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 their 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.

To reduce the amount of time that you have to wait to be processed, schedule a visit in advance using the VPASS system. The wait times are usually longer first thing in the morning.

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”)

The visiting room has vending machines stocked with food and beverages for purchase by visitors and consumption by visitors and prisoners. A visitor may not bring any food or beverage from the outside into the prison and cannot take out any food or beverage bought at the prison when he/she leaves. Vending machines usually have sodas, water, sandwiches (including burgers) and burritos, popcorn, candy, pastries, and coffee.

A limited number of board and card games are available for prisoners and their visitors to play together. These may include Scrabble, Dominoes, Uno, Checkers, Chess, and other like games.

The prison also has children books that prisoners can read to their minor visitors as well as religious materials from most major religions (the Bible, the Torah, the Koran).

The visiting room has digital cameras available for photographs of prisoners and/or their visitors to be taken. There is a cost for the photographs, usually two dollars for each photograph.

Dress Code

  • No blue denim, blue chambray, orange jumpsuits or orange tops with orange bottoms
  • No forest green bottoms with tan tops
  • No camouflage unless identification shows active or reserve military personnel
  • No strapless, halter, bare midriff, sheer, or transparent clothing
  • No skirts, dresses, or shorts that expose more than two inches above the knee
  • No clothing that exposes the breast, genitalia, or buttocks area
  • No very tight, form-fitting attire
  • No wigs, hairpieces, extensions, or other headpieces except for medical reasons and with prior approval
  • No hats or gloves, except with prior approval or in inclement weather
  • No shower shoes

Physical Address

1600 California Dr.
Vacaville, CA 95696

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(707) 448-6841

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

California Medical Facility
Inmate name and CDCR number
PO Box 2000
Vacaville, CA 95696- 2000

Prison staff opens and inspects all mail sent to prisoners to make sure that there is nothing unacceptable in the envelope.

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

You can’t call an inmate directly at California Medical Facility, but 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

Before sending money to an inmate at California Medical Facility:

  • Lookup the inmate’s CDCR number by using the Inmate Locator
  • Make sure the inmate is located at California Medical Facility 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 Medical Facility
1600 California Dr.
Vacaville, CA 95696

There is a 30-day hold on the money when you mail it directly to the institution, EFT is available within one to three days, and the lockbox method depends based on sending a check or money order.

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

​Programs For ​Inmates

  • Vocational: PIA Janitorial, Office Services and Related Technologies and Computer Literacy. Students can receive Internet Computing Core Certification/Microsoft Digital Literacy Certification, and Microsoft Office Specialist Certification.
  • Academic: Adult Basic Education, GED Prep, High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) Prep, and Voluntary Education Program (VEP), College Program (face to face) through Solano Community College, Distance Learning through Coastline Community College, Lassen Community College, Ohio State University, and California Coast University.  A Computer Lab is also available as well as a Computer-Based GED Exam Center and an On-Line CTE Testing Lab.
  • The Disability Placement Program (DPP): The DPP classroom/resource center is provided for inmates who have disabilities that fall under one or more of six Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) categories including: vision impairment, hearing impairment, speech impairment, mobility impairment, wheelchair users, or other disabilities.

Instruction and training are provided in areas such as: basic literacy skills for disabled students and training in computer use with adaptive software for disabled persons. The DPP Teacher works with the VEP Coordinator to facilitate student participation in the Braille Program offered through the Hadley School for the Blind. The DPP ensures that eligible students have access to equipment and software used for Braille.

  • The Developmental Disability Program (DDP): It is CDCR’s Departmental policy to ensure that inmates with developmental disabilities are afforded access to education (academic and vocational), work, and other programs available to non-disabled inmates. Students who are screened and tested by CDCR clinical staff and determined to have developmental disabilities and who are enrolled in school are offered special assistance provided by the Developmental Disabilities Teachers and/or Teaching Assistants.

Blind Project

Over 50 years ago, this program began as a cooperative effort between staff and inmates at the California Medical Facility, which transformed a small group of volunteers into a far reaching 501(c)(3) non-profit  organization that today impacts thousands of people.

A program like the Blind Project is important because it positively affects three segments of society; the visually impaired community is provided with affordable/donated services; the Lions In Sight & California Talking Book Library benefit from donated services; and the inmate workers while learning a technical/marketable skill also get to work in a stimulating environment.

The inmate workers are impacted by the responses received from the many clients who appreciate their high quality services. The workers feel a sense of gratification knowing they are giving back to society. For some, it is an attempt to make amends for their past wrongs.

There are 20 worker positions and five (5) departments within the Blind Project: Perkins Braille Writer Repair, Braille Transcription, Eyeglass Gauging, and Digital/Cassette Machine cleaning.

Refurbishing Perkins Braille Writers is an integral part of the Blind Project’s success. There were 518 braille writers serviced in 2014, which is double the amount of previous years.

Donations are regularly made to other charitable organizations such as The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Mission Solano, Orchard Kindergarten’s Playground just to name a few.

Bike Project

Since 1988, the CMF Bicycle Refurbishing Project has been providing refurbished bicycles to children and families who would otherwise be unable to have bikes.  The project provides bicycles to needy children. During 2002, CMF set a record by providing 606 bicycles to the local communities. CMF’s bike project receives donations of new, used, and damaged bicycles from police departments, private businesses, and private citizens.

Inmates at CMF then refurbish the bicycles and make them look and ride like new.  Bicycle paint and tires are purchased by funds collected by recycling aluminum cans from the institution.

The inmates involved in The Bike Project shared that working on the bikes brings back memories of their youth before they made the decisions that landed them in prison. Providing a child in need with a bicycle might just help keep him or her on the right path.

The Bike Project inmate workers learn their skills from local volunteers, including Ray’s Cycle owner, Mike Posey, whose family has been coming to the prison for years to share their skills with inmates in the program.

Posey teaches the men about different styles of bikes, techniques for fixing them, which tools to use, and how to make sure they’re safe and ready to be ridden.

The Bike Project provides a way for the institution to give back to the community, and for the inmates involved to learn new skills and spend their time in a positive way.

Pictures of California Medical Facility

Careers at California Medical Facility

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