Ironwood State Prison

Ironwood State Prison is a state prison for male inmates located in Blythe, California, and it is adjacent to the Chuckawalla Valley State Prison. This facility houses more than 3,000 medium to minimum-custody inmates even though the capacity at the prison is 2,200.

Ironwood State Prison's name was derived from the surrounding area's native Ironwood trees, which share with the prison the qualities of strength, solidity, and firmness.

In 2014, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition and the Ford Foundation hosted a TEDx conference inside Ironwood with hundreds in attendance, including billionaire businessman Richard Branson.

Ironwood State Prison has the largest prison education program in California. Inmates transcribe college textbooks into Braille, learn trade skills, and more than 1,200 students have earned college degrees.

Most of the men at Ironwood are serving long sentences — though not necessarily for violent crimes. Many are affected by California’s three-strikes law under which even low-level felonies, such as writing a bad check, can garner a strike on the way to serving 25-to-life sentences.

The 18-year-olds at Ironwood who are sentenced to adult prison for the first time become students and enter the college program mentored by the, “lifers.”

According to the Huffington Post, “these students are able to avoid the typical prison experience of drugs, violence, and negativity because Ironwood has created a culture, a new normal, centered around education, transformation and personal responsibility.”

Prison Insights

Ironwood State Prison

Go back

What Do Inmate Families Think?

Go back

What Do Former Inmates Think?

Go back

What Do Employees Think?

Go back
Sorry, there are no insights for this section of the facility yet.
Overall Score = /10
Total Respondents =

Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting hours at Ironwood 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 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Ironwood 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 before visiting an inmate because there is a ton of information in those 28 pages that will answer any questions you might have.

You can also schedule a visit at Ironwood 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 Ironwood you must get on the approved visiting list. To make that happen you must ask the prisoner you want 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.

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:

Ironwood State Prison
Visiting Sergeant
PO Box 2229
Blythe, CA 92226-2229

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 Ironwood are in general population, and that means that they are allowed contact visits. At a contact visit, the prisoner can sit with you in a large visiting room, and they may have limited physical contact with you. Usually, this means a hug and kiss at the beginning and end of the visit, and holding hands during the visit.

Contact visits are restricted to five visitors at a time.

Inmates in intake and 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 Ironwood for a visit, be sure to bring a current photo ID. Also, 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.

Make sure to dress modestly when visiting an inmate, and do not wear any clothing that resembles an inmate’s clothing.

Physical Address

Ironwood State Prison
19005 Wiley's Well Road
Blythe, CA 92225

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(760) 921-3000

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
Ironwood State Prison
P.O. Box 2199
Blythe, CA 92226

Be sure to include the inmate’s name and CDCR number on all correspondence. All mail going into Ironwood is inspected by prison staff.

You are allowed to 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
  • Articles from the internet, newspapers, or magazines

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

How to Call an Inmate

You can’t call an inmate at Ironwood State Prison, but they do have access to phones and can call you collect. For complete details on how to call an inmate in California, please click here.

How to Send Money

There are three ways to send money to an inmate at Ironwood: using the lockbox, Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) online, or mailing a check or money order directly to the inmate. To get complete details about sending money to an inmate at Ironwood State Prison, click here.

​Programs For ​Inmates

  • Vocational: Carpentry, Electronics, Masonry, Plumbing, Auto Mechanic, Welding, Auto Body, Building Maintenance, Office Services Related Tech.

Academic Courses offered are ABE I, II, GED, Independent Study.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Veterans Group Ironwood
  • Life's Too Short (Youth Diversion Program)
  • Community Based Art Program
  • Criminals and Gangs Anonymous
  • I-4-Sight
  • Actors’ Gang
  • Inside Out Writers
  • Anti-Recidivism Coalition
  • Alternatives to Violence
  • Healing Dialogue and Action
  • Inmate Peer Education Program
  • Lifer’s Group
  • Inmate Peer Education Group
  • Father2Child Literacy Program
  • Victim Offender Education Group
  • The Urban Ministries Institute
  • Siddha Yoga Meditation
  • Meditation Buddhist Pathways
  • Kairos
  • Great Dads
  • Prison of Peace
  • Seven Areas of Life Training
  • Partnership for Re-Entry Program
  • Long-term offender program

The Long-Term Offender Program (LTOP) is a voluntary program that provides evidenced-based programming to inmates who are subject to the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) parole suitability process.

The goal of the LTOP is to provide Cognitive Behavioral Treatment to address criminogenic needs and risk, thereby reducing the likelihood of reoffending. Services are provided in both individual and group settings to address the following major criminogenic areas: Anger Management, Criminal Thinking, Denial Management, Family Relationships, Substance Use Disorder Treatment, and Victim Impact.

Pictures of Ironwood State Prison

Careers at Ironwood State Prison

If you are interested in getting a job at Ironwood State Prison, you can find available positions on the CalCareers website.