Mule Creek State Prison

Mule Creek State Prison is state prison for male inmates that is located in Lone, California. It was designed to hold a maximum of 3,284 inmates, but it currently houses over 4,000. MCSP houses long-term offenders, and it has a re-entry program to help inmates who have been incarcerated for a long period of time learn how to successfully reintegrate into society.

MCSP is the only California state prison that is exclusively for Sensitive Needs Yards inmates. These are inmates who are segregated from the general prison population for their own safety because they are gang dropouts, informants, sex offenders, and former law enforcement officers.

Notable current and former inmates include:

  • Robert John Bardo, who is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer
  • Roger Kibbe, also known as the I-5 Strangler
  • Lyle Mendedez, serving a life sentence for killing his parents

Prison Insights

Mule Creek State Prison

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting hours at Mule Creek 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 in the morning between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and in the afternoon from noon to 3:00 p.m.

Mule Creek 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 that affect visiting.

We recommend that you read the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’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 schedule a visit at Mule Creek State Prison 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. Scheduling a visit in advance is required for non-contact visits.

Getting Approved for a Visit

Before visiting an inmate at Mule Creek you must get on the approved visiting list. The first step is to ask the prisoner you want to visit to mail you a signed visitor questionnaire. Once you fill it out, mail the completed questionnaire to:

Mule Creek State Prison
Visiting Sergeant
PO Box 409099
Ione, CA 95640-9099

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.

Contact, Non-Contact, and Family Visits

Most Mule Creek inmates 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.

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.

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. Prisoners with life sentences, convictions for sex offenses, or who under disciplinary restrictions are not eligible for family visits.

Family visits are restricted to approved visitors who are immediate family members of the prisoner, and they are restricted by availability; usually one visit every three to five months.

General Visiting Rules

When you arrive at Mule Creek State Prison 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.

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) for vending machines
  • 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
Make sure to dress modestly when visiting an inmate, and do not wear any clothing that resembles an inmate’s clothing. For complete details about the visitor dress code, click here.

Physical Address

4001 Highway 104
Ione, CA 95640

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(209) 274-4911

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
A Yard
PO Box 409020
Ione, CA 95640-9020

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
B Yard
PO Box 409040
Ione, CA 95640-9040

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
C Yard
PO Box 409060
Ione, CA 95640-9060

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
Minimum Support
PO Box 409000
Ione, CA 95640-9000

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

You are allowed to send the following:

  • 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 directly to an inmate. Instead, they must be sent through approved vendors like Amazon. To send magazines and newspapers, you must set up a subscription for the inmate so they can be mailed directly from the publisher.

How to Call an Inmate

You can’t call an inmate at Mule Creek State Prison, but they can call you collect during daytime hours. 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 MCSP: 

  • Using the lockbox (check or money order)
  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) online (debit or credit card)
  • Mailing a check or money order directly to the inmate (check or money order)
To get complete details about sending money to an inmate at Mule Creek State Prison, click here.

​Programs For ​Inmates

Mule Creek State Prison offers the following programs for inmates:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Criminals and Gang-members Anonymous
  • Criminals and Gang-members Anonymous re-entry
  • Christian 12-Step
  • Self-Awareness and Recovery (anger management)
  • Gavel Club
  • Veterans’ Support Group
  • Lifers’ Support Group
  • Self-Exploration through Writing
  • Victim Awareness Offender Program
  • Juvenile Diversion Program
  • New Options for Wellness
  • Celebrate Recovery Inside
  • CARE (Concerned About Recovery Education, formerly IMPACT)
  • GRIP (Guiding Rage Into Power)
  • Al-Anon
  • 2x2 Anger Management Program
  • International Bodhisattva Sangha (IBS)
  • Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)
  • Prisoners Overcoming Obstacles and Creating Hope (POOCH, Tender Loving Canine – TLC)
  • Paws for Life Program (PFL, Karma Rescue)
  • Arts in Corrections
  • Educational Programs: Adult Education, Continuing Education, Post-Secondary Education, Library Services, Student Support Services
  • Treatment Programs
  • Long-Term Offender Program
  • Cognitive Behavioral Treatment: Anger Management, Criminal Thinking, Family Relationships, Substance Use Disorder Treatment
  • Pre-Release Programs
  • Transitions Program
  • California Identification Card Program
  • Career Technical Education: Building Maintenance, Computer Related Technologies, Electronics, Heating/Ventilation/Air-Conditioning, and Welding

Pictures of Mule Creek State Prison

Careers at Mule Creek State Prison

If you are interested in a career at Mule Creek State Prison, you can find available positions on the CalCareers website.