How to Call an Inmate in California

Even though you can’t call an inmate directly, inmates housed in a California state prison do have access to phones during daytime hours, and they can call you collect or prepaid collect through Global Tel*Link, or GTL.

Collect calls are billed to you every month through your phone carrier company, while prepaid collect calls are paid for with money on your personal GTL account. With GTL, you can add money to your personal account via their website with a debit or credit card.

  • PREPAID COLLECT: GTL’s prepaid collect option, AdvancePay®, allows a friend or family member to set up a calling account to his or her phone number without the restrictions of standard billing.

Every time calls are made and accepted to a prepaid number, the charges are deducted from the account. Prepaid accounts can be set up for all types of numbers, including cell phones. Friends and family should visit or call 866.607.6006 to set up an AdvancePay account. Note that if an account remains inactive for a period of one-hundred and eighty (180) days from first notification of inactivity, GTL will close the account.

  • COLLECT: This method is for calls to certain approved numbers. and the call charges will remain the same as they do today on your monthly phone bill. However, note that collect calls cannot be made to cell phones, office phones, VOIP provided service phones, or hospital numbers. Collect calls are dependent on your phone provider’s acceptance of collect calls.

If you receive a high number of collect calls, you may have reached the billing limit allowed by your local phone company. Once you reach a maximum phone bill amount, you may be at a risk of being blocked from receiving future collect calls from an inmate.

If that happens, you can call GTL at 866.607.6006 to sign up for a prepaid calling account and begin receiving calls again. In addition, online account registration and deposits are available through

Global Tel*Link, in conjunction with the CDCR, monitors and records all connected phone calls. For additional information on this policy, please visit GTL’s Friends and Family Information page.

Rates- Adult Institutions

Call Type       Per Minute       15-minute call*

Local              $0.096               $1.44

IntraLata      $0.096               $1.44

InterLata      $0.135                $2.03

Interstate     $0.440               $6.60

Rates- Youth Institutions

Call Type          Per Minute   15-minute call*

Local                 $0.028           $0.42

IntraLata         $0.028            $0.42

InterLata         $0.030            $0.45

Interstate        $0.132             $1.98

*Cost does not include applicable local taxes and Federal Universal Service Fees or the $4.75 Prepaid Account Set Up Fee. All international countries will be at $0.75 per minute, no surcharge.

Please Contact GTL Customer Service for billing or blocking questions at 1-866-607-6006.

Other Info About GTL Accounts

  • To find out the balance on your prepaid account─or to manage the account online─visit You can also find out your balance by calling the GTL AdvancePay automated system at 1-866-607-6006.
  • If an inmate is released, you can get a refund for the funds on your account by calling the AdvancePay automated system and pressing “0” to speak with a customer service representative.
  • GTL accepts Visa, Mastercard, and Discover (including debit and check cards) to set up prepaid accounts.
  • Payments made through the ConnectNetwork website are credited quickly, usually within five minutes.
  • If you don’t have a credit or debit card, you can make a deposit through the mail,  via Western Union, or you can purchase a prepaid debit card at many local retailers that can be used with GTL’s automated systems. Prepaid cards with a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover card logo are normally compatible.
  • To set up an account on the ConnectNetwork, you will need internet access and a valid email address. Visit this website to sign up for an account, follow the registration process, and click on the email that the system sends you.

Be sure to select California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) when choosing the facility during setup. Once you have completed this process, you will be able to log in to the site and manage your account.

Important notes about calls from correctional facilities:

  • DON’T attempt a 3-way call
  • DON’T try to transfer the call
  • DON’T put the offender on hold
  • DON’T use or answer “call waiting”
  • DON’T press numbers on the touch tone pad during the call (on both offender phone and called party phones)
  • DON’T stop the conversation for any length of time because even short pauses may result in a disconnection