Deuel Vocational Institution

Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) is California state prison for male inmates located in San Joaquin County, California, near the town of Tracy. It was designed to hold a maximum capacity of 1,681 inmates; however, like most California prisons, it is overcrowded.

This facility houses long-term inmates in general population, but its main purpose is to serve as a reception center for inmates who are new to the California prison system. They stay at DVI for a short period of time to be evaluated and classified before they are transferred to another prison to serve the rest of their sentence.

Because DVI is a reception center, a large number of inmates who have a history of violence, disciplinary, and security issues are in the facility. As a result, Deuel Vocational Institution has a reputation for being a violent and dangerous prison and is known as, “gladiator school.”

DVI was named for the late Senator Charles D. Deuel who sponsored legislation establishing the institution. The facility opened in 1953 and was expanded in 1959, 1981, and 1993.

This facility has a farm where 110 inmates live and operate a 1200-cow diary, grow cattle grain, and supply milk to other state prisons.

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Visiting Hours and Rules

The visiting hours at Deuel Vocational Institution are on Saturdays, Sundays, and four holidays - New Year’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Visiting hours usually begin between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. and end around 3:00 p.m.

To get more information about the visiting specifics at Deuel Vocational Institution, you can call the 800 Visitors’ Information number (800-374-8474). This number gives up-to-date information on lockdowns, medical quarantines, or other circumstances affecting visiting.

The CDCR has put together a detailed Visitation Guidebook, and we highly recommend that you read through all 28 pages. It gives you details on everything from preparing for a visit to the dress code.

We also recommend that you schedule a visit in advance online using the VPASS system. This will guarantee you a spot in the visiting room and it will reduce your wait time.

Getting Approved for a Visit

Before you can visit an inmate at Deuel Vocational Institution- or any other California state prison - you must first get on their approved visiting list. The inmate you want to visit must send you a visitor questionnaire, and then you must feel it out completely and accurately.

Also, make sure that the inmate signs the questionnaire before they send it because their signature is their consent for adding you to their visit list.

Mail the completed questionnaire to:

Deuel Vocational Institution
Visiting Sergeant
PO Box 400
Tracy, CA 95378-0004

The CDCR will conduct a background check for arrests and convictions when processing the application, so make sure you are honest when filling it out.

Once you are approved to visit, the prisoner will be notified and then it is their job to notify you. You will be listed in the CDCR computer as being an approved visitor for that specific prisoner, so you don’t need to bring any proof of approval with you to the prison on the day of your visit.

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

Contact and Non-Contact Visits

Most prisoners in the general population 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). Contact visits are restricted to five visitors at a time.

However, because most of the inmates at DVI are in the reception center, that means they are only allowed non-contact visits, where the inmate and his visitors are separated by a glass partition. You must schedule an appointment for a non-contact visit.

Visiting Rules at DVI

All adult visitors must have photo identification when being processed to visit. You and your property will also be searched and you will have to go through a metal detector.

When you arrive, you will fill out a pass that calls for the prisoner’s name and CDCR number, your relationship to the prisoner (spouse, mother, friend, etc.), your name and address, and your signature.

If you are bringing in minor children, you must list the names of the children on the pass. Once you complete the pass you must submit it to prison staff. They will check the prisoner’s file to make sure you are an approved visitor and that the prisoner is eligible to visit on that day.

The pass, along with your identification, is your “key” to get into and out of the prison.

If you are going to DVI for a contact visit, you are allowed to bring:

  • A $50 limit per adult and $20 limit per minor; only as dollar bills, dollar coins, and quarters for the vending machines
  • A small (generally 6” by 8”) 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”; photos may be shown to the prisoner, but must be taken out by the visitor at the end of the visit. No Polaroids. No sexual or gang images.
  • Documents up to 10 pages, no larger than 8-1/2” by 11” (standard size typing paper)

If you are there for a non-contact visit, you will not be able to buy food or drinks from vending machines or give the inmate pictures or documents.

Dress Code

Keep things modest and appropriate when dressing for a visit. You don’t want to wear anything that resembles an inmate’s clothing or the clothing worn by staff. If you do, you will be denied entry to the visiting room.

Physical Address

23500 Kasson Rd.
Tracy, CA 95304

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(209) 835-4141

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
Deuel Vocational Institution
P.O. Box 600
Tracy, CA 95378-0600

All mail should be addressed to the prisoner with their full name, CDCR number, housing unit (if you know it), and the address of the prison.

Prison staff will inspect all mail that is sent to inmates. You can send letters, cards, drawings, or newspaper, internet, and magazine articles. However, you can’t send packages, books, magazines, or newspapers directly. Instead, those items must come from approved vendors.

You may send a money order or check for an inmate and the mailroom staff will send it to trust accounts where it will be credited to the prisoner’s account so they can purchase items from the prison commissary.

How to Call an Inmate

Unfortunately, you can’t call an inmate at DVI. However, the inmates do have access to phones during the daytime hours, and they can make collect calls. For complete details on how to call an inmate in California, please click here.

How to Send Money

To send money to an inmate at DVI, you first need to look up their CDCR number by using the Inmate Locator. Then, use the Facility Locator to make sure the inmate is housed at DVI.

The Three Ways of Sending Money are:

  1. Lock Box
  2. EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer)
  3. Mail funds directly to the institution
To get complete details about sending money to an inmate at DVI, click here.

​Programs For ​Inmates

  • DVI Education Programs

Adult Basic Education 100; Adult Basic Education 200; Computer Literacy; Auto Body repair; Building Maintenance; Heating, Ventilation, Air-conditioning (HVAC).

Kasson Adult School (KAS) which is part of Deuel Vocational Institution is a fully accredited Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) adult school. The programs offered through the school have been an integral part of the rehabilitation of thousands of men that have been incarcerated at DVI since 1953.

KAS provides academic programs that lead toward the completion of the General Education Development (GED) exam. College courses are offered through Coastline Community College which is part of the California Community College System and leads to an Associate of Arts or Science Degree.

Career Technical Education classes are provided by credentialed instructors and train inmates in Auto Body & Paint, Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning and Building Maintenance. A basic computer fundamentals class is also offered that provides skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access & Power Point.

Independent study programs are available for inmates that have institutional job assignments to further their educational goals or interests. Courses available assist inmates to prepare for the GED exam, basic literacy in reading and mathematics, American Sign Language, art appreciation, small business management, and a book & poetry club.

The physical education (PE) program is facilitated by a credentialed physical education teacher and provides conditioning and health & nutrient classes. The PE program provides inmates the opportunity to participate in intramural sports and activities year round.

  • Prison Industry Authority (PIA):

Dairy/Farm – Select inmates at DVI operate a full dairy and farm operations on DVI grounds, which consists of approximately 1,400 head of cattle, with 600 being milked on any given day producing approximately 162,000 gallons of milk per month.

The dairy packages ½ pint, ½ gallon, 3 and 6 gallon dispensers in nonfat, 1%, 2%, milk. Also included is 1% chocolate milk. The milk is then shipped to PIA customers throughout the northern part of the state.

CALPIA also farms approximately 450 acres of corn for silage, oats, and alfalfa hay used as cattle feed. This operation employs minimum support inmates who get on the job training as dairymen and/or farm hands.

  • Youth Diversion
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Alcoholics Anonymous

Pictures of Deuel Vocational Institution

Careers at Deuel Vocational Institution

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