Valley State Prison

Valley State Prison is a medium-security California state prison for male inmates located in Chowchilla, California. It used to house female inmates and was known as the Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW).  In October 2012, VSPW began a historic conversion from an all-female institution to an all-male institution. In January 2013, the conversion was successfully completed and the name changed to Valley State Prison or VSP.

VSP functions as a Level II, General Population institution housing inmates requiring Sensitive Needs Yard (SNY) placement. VSP also houses inmates who are assigned to the Enhanced Outpatient Program (EOP).

The EOP provides a higher level of mental health treatment for inmates requiring a more enhanced treatment plan with mental health staff. VSP has also been identified as a Re-Entry hub for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (CDCR). As a Re-Entry hub, VSP focuses on needs-based rehabilitative services to include substance abuse and cognitive behavioral training.

VSP offers educational and vocational training, along with work skills training through the Prison Industry Authority Optical and Laundry programs.

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Valley State Prison

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Visiting Hours and Rules

To visit an inmate at Valley State Prison you must first get on the approved visiting list. Ask the prisoner you want to visit to mail you a signed visitor questionnaire, and then fill it out completely.

Once you fill it out, mail the completed questionnaire to:

Valley State Prison
Visiting Sergeant
PO Box 99
Chowchilla, CA 93610-0099

The prison will notify the inmate when you are approved, and then the inmate will 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.

Visiting hours at Valley State Prison are on Saturdays and Sundays between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. You must arrive at the prison no later than 2:00 p.m. if you wish to visit with an inmate.

Inmates who are in ADSEG or reception are only allowed visits between 10:00 a.m. and noon. The online VPASS system allows you to schedule visits at VSP, and this is required if you’re visiting anyone who is in segregated housing or reception.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has an 800 Visitors’ Information number (800-374-8474) that you can call for up-to-date information about visits at VSP. This number will let you know if the prison is on lockdown, under quarantine, or if something else has occurred that has cancelled visiting for the day.

We highly recommend that you read the CDCR’s Visitation Guidebook before visiting an inmate because those 28 pages are full of information, and it will answer any questions you might have about visiting an inmate at VSP.

General Visiting Rules

Most Valley State Prison inmates are allowed contact visits, which are restricted to five visitors at a time.

When visiting an inmate, you must dress modestly and avoid wearing any clothing that resembles what the inmates wear. A detailed dress code is available here.

When you arrive at VSP for a visit, be sure to bring a current photo ID, and be prepared to be searched and to go through a metal detector.

Leave all electronic devices in your vehicle, as well as outerwear, hats, and sunglasses. Don’t bring anything but the following items into a visit:

  • 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

Visiting rooms have vending machines, so you can buy food and beverages to share with the inmate you are visiting. You are not allowed to bring any food or beverage from the outside into the prison.

Physical Address

Valley State Prison
21633 Avenue 24
Chowchilla, CA 93610

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

​(559) 665-6100

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, CDCR Number
Valley State Prison
PO Box 92
Chowchilla, CA 93610-0092

You must include the inmate’s name and CDCR number on everything you mail to a prisoner at SCC.

You are allowed to send only 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

If you want to send books to an inmate, you must send them through approved vendors, like Amazon. To send an inmate magazines and newspapers, you have to set up a subscription for the inmate so they can be mailed directly from the publisher.

You can’t send care packages directly. Instead, you must go through the Inmate Quarterly Package program. Packages are available through these authorized private vendors:


How to Call an Inmate

You can’t call an inmate at Valley 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 Valley State Prison: 

  • 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 VSP, click here.

​Programs For ​Inmates

  • Education

The VSP Education Department currently offers educational services to the inmate population via two service delivery streams; the Academic Program, the Vocational Program.  At any one time, the Education Department offers educational services to approximately 2,400 inmates.

Education is currently operating under a six-year accreditation without a review issued by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (approximately 3% of all schools in the Western United States receive this high a level of accreditation).

Academic Education Programs:  Six classes for Adult Basic Education I, II, III, and General Education Development (GED) level.

Vocational Programs: Automotive Mechanics, Cosmetology, Electronics, Office Services, Small Engine Repair, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Welding, Electrical Works, Carpentry and Masonry.  

  • Prison Industry Authority: PIA employs approximately 215 inmates in three separate operations:  Farm Operation, Eyewear Manufacturing, and Laundry.
  • Substance Abuse Program (SAP):  SAP currently provides substance abuse services/counseling to 125 inmates in the Walden House program.  Inmates follow a curriculum that includes education and counseling for substance abuse, domestic violence, anger management, conflict resolution, codependency, etc.  This program also includes re-entry planning.
  • Other Programs

Religious, Law and Recreational Library, Physical Education, and Centerforce.

  • Health Care Services: The Division of Correctional Health Care Services (DCHCS) at VSP consists of three departments:  Medical, Mental Health and Dental Departments. VSP provides a range of treatment and rehabilitative services to assist men with emergent issues, alcohol and drug recovery, chronic care issues, preventative services, patient education, health care support, mental health services, and dental services.

Pictures of Valley State Prison

Careers at Valley State Prison

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