Folsom State Prison

“I hear the train a comin'/It's rollin' 'round the bend/And I ain't seen the sunshine since, I don't know when/I'm stuck in Folsom Prison/And time keeps draggin' on/But that train keeps a-rollin'/On down to San Antone” - Johnny Cash

One of the most famous prisons in the United States, Folsom State Prison is located in Folsom, California, but shares a Represa, California address with California State Prison, Sacramento. It has a maximum capacity of 2,066.

FSP opened in 1880, and is the second-oldest prison in California behind San Quentin. It has a rich history, as it was the first prison in the US to have electricity. It was one of the first maximum-security prisons in the country, and it became famous thanks to Johnny Cash.

Cash performed two concerts at Folsom State Prison in 1968 and turned the performances into a live album. He also wrote and recorded the song Folsom Prison Blues.

No longer a maximum-security facility, Folsom State Prison’s A Facility houses medium-custody male inmates, while the B Facility–also known as Folsom Women’s–houses medium-custody female inmates. Folsom State Prison also includes a Minimum Support Facility.

Folsom has five housing units, including the original two-tiered structure that is over a century old. Unit 1 is the most populous cellblock in the United States, with a capacity of nearly 1,200 inmates on four, five-tiered sections. All cells at Folsom include a toilet, sink, bunks, and storage space.

Originally designed to hold inmates serving long sentences, habitual criminals, and incorrigibles, Folsom State Prison quickly gained the reputation of being the end of the line.  Prior to the completion of the granite wall in the 1920's, the prison witnessed numerous escape attempts; the first one occurring shortly after the first inmates arrived in 1880.

Throughout Folsom's violent and bloody history, numerous riots and escape attempts have resulted in both inmate and staff deaths.

Notable current and former inmates housed at Folsom include Erik Menendez, Suge Knight, Timothy Leary, Rick James, Danny Trejo, and Charles Manson.  FSP manufactures the majority of California License plates, and has also been a filming location for several movies, including Riot in Cell Block 11, American Me, The Jericho Mile, Another 48 Hrs., Diggstown, and Walk the Line.

The Folsom Museum is located near the entrance of Folsom Prison. Run solely through the support of volunteers, the museum contains an abundance of documents and artifacts from throughout Folsom's long and colorful history.

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting hours at Folsom State Prison are on Saturdays, Sundays, and four holidays: New Year’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. The visiting hours are generally between 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Folsom State Prison has an 800 Visitors’ Information number (800-374-8474) that you can call for up-to-date information on lockdowns, medical quarantines, or other circumstances affecting visiting.

We recommend that you read the CDCR’s detailed Visitation Guidebook because there is a ton of information in those 28 pages. It gives you details on everything from preparing for a visit to the dress code.

You can also schedule a visit at Folsom State Prison in advance by using the VPASS system. We highly recommend that you take advantage of this because not only will it guarantee you a spot in the visiting room, but it will also reduce your wait time.

Getting Approved for a Visit

Before visiting an inmate at Folsom, the first thing you need to do is get on the approved visiting list. To do that you must ask the prisoner you wish to visit to mail you a signed visitor questionnaire. The inmate must sign the questionnaire before mailing it to you because their signature is their consent to add you to their visiting list.

Be sure to fill out the questionnaire completely and accurately. The CDCR will conduct a background check for arrests and convictions when processing the application, and if you are not truthful on your questionnaire you will be denied.

  • Mail the completed questionnaire to:

Folsom State Prison
Visiting Sergeant
PO Box 910
Represa, CA 95671-0001

The prison will notify the inmate when you are approved, and it is their job to notify you. When you are approved you will be listed in the CDCR computer as being an approved visitor for that specific prisoner.

If you are denied, the prison will send you a letter explaining the reason for disapproval.

General Visiting Rules

Most inmates at Folsom are in general population, and that means that they are allowed contact visits. At a contact visit, the prisoner is allowed to sit together with their visitors in a large visiting room, and they may have limited physical contact with you.

Contact visits are restricted to five visitors at a time.

Inmates in ADSEG (Administrative Segregation) are only allowed non-contact visits, which take place in a separate visiting room, and the inmates and visitors are separated by a glass partition. You must have an appointment for a non-contact visit.

When you arrive at Folsom for a visit, be sure to bring a current photo ID. Be prepared to be searched and to go through a metal detector. The items you bring will go through an X-ray machine.

You must fill out a pass each time you visit an inmate, and you must include the following information:

  • the prisoner’s name and CDCR number
  • your relationship to the prisoner (spouse, mother, friend, etc.)
  • your name and address
  • your signature
  • If you are bringing in minor children, you must list the names of the children on the pass

Once you fill out the pass you must give it to staff and they will check the prisoner’s file to make sure you are on their approved list 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.

When you arrive for a contact visit, you are allowed to bring in the following items:

  • Up to $50 per adult (only as dollar bills, dollar coins, and quarters)
  • 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”; 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
  • Ten pages of documents

Visiting rooms have vending machines stocked with food and beverages that you can purchase for yourself and the inmate during a contact visit. You may not bring any food or beverage from the outside into the prison.

Dress Code

There are restrictions on what you may wear to a prison for a visit, and you can read all of the details in the Inmate Visiting Guide. The most important things to remember are:

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

Physical Address

Folsom State Prison
300 Prison Road
Represa, CA 95671

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(916) 985-2561

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
Folsom State Prison
P.O. Box 715071
Represa, CA 95671

All mail should be addressed to the prisoner with their full name, their CDCR number, their housing unit, and the address of the prison.

Folsom staff inspects all incoming mail, and you may send 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, or articles cut from newspapers or magazines.

You can’t send the following directly to a prisoner: books, magazines, newspapers, or packages; those must be sent through approved vendors.

You may send a money order or check to an inmate, and Mailroom staff will send it to trust accounts, where it will be credited to the prisoner’s account.

How to Call an Inmate

Family and friends can’t call prisoners at Folsom State Prison, they must call you. The inmates have access to phones and they can make collect calls to a landline or cell phone. You will be responsible for paying for the calls, and to do that you need to set up an account. 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 Folsom, you need to know their CDCR number. To look up that number, you can use the Inmate Locator. Also, use the Facility Locator to make sure the inmate is housed at Folsom.

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 Folsom, click here.

​Programs For ​Inmates

  • Prison Industry Authority:  License Plate Factory, Sign Shop, Furniture Shop, Metal Fabrication, Print Shop and Digital Services (Mapping). PIA Modular Building Enterprise and Pre-Apprenticeship Program.
  • Vocational: Masonry, Building Maintenance, Office Services, Welding, (AWS Standards), and Auto Mechanics (ASE Certification).
  • Academic: Adult Basic Education (ABE), General Education Development (GED), Adult High School (AHS), English as a Second Language, college programs, correspondence courses
  • Correctional Learning Network (CLN)
  • Community Crews
  • Self Help Groups (AA/NA)
  • Youth Diversion
  • Parenting
  • Fitness For Life
  • Healthful Living
  • Military Veteran's Group
  • Alpha Re-Entry Program: Offers life skills that include parenting, celebration of recovery, alcohol, drug and other addictive behaviors, preparing inmates for re-entry into their families and communities
  • California New Start Prison to Employment Transition Program: A pre-release employment program for eligible inmates. The program consists of a 4-week 70-hour curriculum that includes: transition planning, job search techniques, job applications, resume writing, interview preparation, financial literacy, and One Stop Career Center orientation

Pictures of Folsom State Prison

Careers at Folsom State Prison

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