CDCR Revamps Visiting Schedules and Policies

By CN Staff

SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today, in line with the Legislature’s intent to expand in-person visitation, announced institutions statewide will move to three days of in-person weekend visiting on July 7, 2023.

“The expansion of three in-person visiting days a week, while offering free transportation statewide, will allow us to meet demand at our busier institutions and provide more opportunities for people to see their loved ones — enhancing public safety by promoting successful community reintegration,” CDCR Secretary Jeff Macomber said.

Weekend video visiting will no longer be offered at any adult institution as of July 7, 2023. Conservation camps will continue hybrid video visiting and in-person on Saturdays and Sundays as they do not have three days of visiting.

CDCR will continue to provide ways to communicate with friends and family through tablets and phone calls. Incarcerated people are eligible for 15 minutes of free video calls from their tablet every two weeks. Audio calls made from standard institution wall phones and tablets are always free of charge.

In-person visiting will be offered every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at all adult institutions and will continue to be scheduled online through the Department’s Visitation Scheduling Application (VSA). Camp visits are scheduled through email or phone.

In Fiscal Year 2021-2022, the state Legislature approved $20.3 million to expand in-person visiting to three days. Beginning August 13, 2021, CDCR expanded its weekend visiting to Fridays, offering a hybrid of video and in-person weekend visiting.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, CDCR offered two days of in-person visiting on Saturdays and Sundays. After making the difficult but necessary decision to suspend visiting on March 11, 2020, CDCR worked aggressively on a safe alternative, launching temporary video visiting by the end of 2020 at all institutions.

In the spring of 2021, CDCR began a temporary hybrid visiting plan of video and in-person weekend visiting. Weekend video visiting was always intended to be a temporary measure to safely provide communication with friends and family during the pandemic.

This year, CDCR partnered with TransMETRO to provide free bus transportation to all California state adult institutions. This service offers an opportunity for free travel to institutions statewide to anyone who has been approved as a visitor by CDCR. Buses depart Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Central, Southern, Northern, and Bay Area regions. Each region schedules service to all institutions on a rotating basis. Interested visitors can register for services using the easy-to-use portal on CDCR’s website.

Soon, CDCR will launch an improved Facility Status webpage that will provide the most up-to-date visiting status information for each institution. Each institution will be able to clearly and quickly tell the visitor the most current hours of in-person visiting and if there will be impacts due to events like emergencies or holidays.