CDCR-Chuckawalla Valley State Prison (CVSP) (2024)

CDCR - Rules by Type

Arrival for Visiting

A. Many prisons restrict how early a visitor may drive onto prison grounds for a visit; usually about an hour before the start of visiting hours. Some visitors will arrive before that time and line up in their cars directly outside the prison gates. As some prisons are directly off freeways, highways, or other very busy roadways, that can be potentially dangerous and, sometimes, in violation of traffic laws. All visitors should be very careful in parking outside the gates; and when driving on grounds be courteous and respectful of others as well as obeying all traffic laws. Visitors found to be in violation of traffic laws may be subject to warnings, termination, or suspension of visits.

B. Car Searches Most prisons do not have staff at the gate, so visitors are free to drive onto grounds and to the visitor parking lot at the allowed time. Only a few prisons have staff at the gate. At those prisons, staff distributes visiting passes to be filled out by visitors for processing. Staff may conduct a visual inspection of the vehicle, including the trunk, and may also utilize “drug dogs” (Narcotic Detection K-9’s) to assist them by sniffing for drugs around the outside of the car. All visitors should understand that it is a felony to bring any weapons or any illegal drugs onto prison grounds, and will typically result in loss of visits and prosecution. A visual inspection of the interior of your car from outside of the car is allowed anytime you drive onto or off of prison grounds or when you are parked on prison grounds. Additionally, a visual inspection of your trunk is allowed when driving onto or off of grounds. Any further inspection of the interior of your vehicle requires your consent, a search warrant, or reasonable suspicion of a visitor attempting to introduce or remove contraband or unauthorized items.

C. Parking All prisons have parking available for visitors, in a parking lot separate from the parking lot for staff. Visitors should take care to park in the appropriate places. Most prisons have adequate parking for all visitors, but the parking may require a fairly long walk to the processing center or the boarding of a prison van or bus to be driven to the processing center. Parking for disabled visitors is provided in speciallymarked places. All visitors should be careful for themselves and their children in walking through the parking lot, as often there is substantial moving traffic. Visitors should walk from their cars to the line, as running on prison grounds is not allowed and may be perceived as an emergency.

D. Waiting There will be a wait from the time you arrive at a prison to the time you are processed to visit. Typical wait times for processing are not excessive. However, on occasion may be as long as two hours, depending on the number of visitors, the time of day, and conditions of processing (including the size of the processing center, the number of staff, and the speed of processing). The wait times are usually longer first thing in the morning, when many visitors arrive all at the same time. The conditions under which visitors must wait depend on the particular prison, but visitors should be cautioned that the wait may be without shelter (even in the rain, snow, or strong heat), may be without bathrooms, and may be in an area with traffic hazards or restricted movement (including not allowing children to move around). As noted previously, there are Visitor Centers at most of the prisons, and those Centers provide bathrooms, shelter, and activities for children. At a few prisons, visitors are given numbered passes either when they drive onto grounds or once they are parked and get in line. If you have a numbered pass, that will secure your place in line while you go to the Visitor Center; however, since most prisons do not hand out numbered passes, going to the Visitor Center will require the visitor to go to the end of the line when he/she returns to the line. Some prisons require scheduled appointments for visitors during the first two to four hours of visiting. At these prisons, visitors without appointments will be processed on a first-come, first-in-line, first served basis; but not until all visitors with appointments have been processed. Appointments can be made either by e-mail and/or telephone, but only during specified hours. The 800 Visitors’ Information number and the CDCR website will have information regarding whether the prison you are visiting requires appointments and how to make an appointment.

Processing of Visitors

A. Processing Times - The processing of visitors and the movement of the line begins at the time posted for visiting to begin. Processing continues until an hour before the time posted for visiting to end. Processing of visitors may be suspended at times due to staffing issues or a temporary emergency. Delays in visitor processing cannot be predicted, and last only as long as necessary to manage the issue(s) causing the delay.

B. Passes and Computer Checks - Every adult visitor must fill out a pass each time he/she visits. The pass calls for the prisoner’s name and CDCR number, the relationship of the visitor to the prisoner (spouse, mother, friend, etc.), the visitor’s name and address, and the visitor’s signature. If the adult visitor is bringing in minor children, he/she lists the names of the children on the pass. The completed pass is submitted to staff. Using a computer, staff checks the prisoner’s file to make sure the visitor is an approved visitor and that the prisoner is eligible to visit on that day. Staff marks the pass with the prisoner’s housing and notes whether the visit is contact or non-contact. The pass, along with the visitor’s identification, is the visitor’s “key” to get into and out of the prison. Although the pass and identification may be held by staff once the visitor gets to the visiting room, it will be returned to the visitor upon leaving the visiting room.

C. Searches of Visitors - It is a felony for anyone to attempt to bring into the prison any drugs or weapons. It is against prison rules, and sometimes is a criminal offense for which one can be prosecuted, for anyone to attempt to bring in any item not allowed by the prison. Visitors are required to follow all rules, regulations, and laws while on institution grounds. To ensure that prohibited items are not allowed into the prison, all visitors and their possessions are searched before the visitor is allowed to visit. Visitors must remove all outer clothing (jackets, sweaters, etc.), shoes, and any jewelry that will set off the metal detector. Those items are placed along with other allowable items (money, comb, baby items, etc.) on either a conveyor belt for an x-ray search or on a counter for a manual search by staff. The visitor, including all minors, must clear a metal detector. If a visitor has an implant or a prosthesis that prevents him/her from clearing a metal detector or if he/she cannot go through a metal detector (because, for example, he/she cannot get out of his/her wheelchair), staff will use a hand-held metal-detector on the visitor as long as the visitor has presented a letter from a medical doctor verifying the location of the implant or prosthesis.

Visitors who, for religious reasons, cannot remove all outer clothing (such as scarves, burkas, yamakas, etc.) will be taken to a private room where they can remove the item and staff of the same gender will use a wand to search. Visitors with devices to assist their mobility (wheelchairs, canes, etc.) may be required to exchange their device for a prison-issued device and exchange back as they leave the prison. Children are subject to the same searches. A child too young to walk through a metal detector alone may be carried through the metal detector by the adult visitor escorting the child in.

Any search beyond the searching of belongings and the clearing of the metal detector is allowed only if there is cause to believe the visitor is attempting to bring a prohibited item into the prison. If such cause exists, the visitor must be advised, in writing, of the reason for the search and the name of the prison official ordering the search. The visitor has a right to refuse the search, but the refusal will result in the visitor not being allowed to visit for the day; and may result in future visits being conditioned upon a search greater than the usual search of belongings, and clearing a metal detector, for as long as staff has cause to believe the visitor is attempting to bring in a prohibited item.

Visitors may not be searched without their consent unless there is a warrant that requires such a search or unless the visitor is being detained for arrest for unlawful actions that present an immediate and significant threat to prison security. Actions which do not present an immediate and significant threat to prison security but are nonetheless unlawful, may result in the visitor being detained or escorted off prison grounds and prison officials referring the matter to local law enforcement, but may not result in a request of the visitor to submit to search by prison staff.

After clearing the metal detector, staff will stamp the back of one of the visitor’s hands with an ultraviolet ink stamp. At most prisons, visitors are required to put their hands under an ultraviolet light and show the stamp as they exit the visiting room and/or prison

D. Getting to the Visiting Room Most prisons have more than one visiting room. Staff will write which visiting room the visitor is to go to on the pass. At most prisons, visitors walk from the processing center to the visiting room; but at some prisons, visitors must wait for a prison bus or van to take them from the processing center to the visiting room.

In the Visiting Room

A. Turning in Pass and Awaiting Prisoner’s Arrival Upon arrival to the visiting room, the visitor turns in the pass to staff. At some prisons, the visitor also surrenders his/her identification to staff; at other prisons, the visitor must show his/her identification but otherwise holds onto it during the visit. Staff then uses the information on the pass to call the housing unit and advise the prisoner that he/she has a visit and should come to the visiting room. Usually it should not take more than twenty minutes for a prisoner to get to the visiting room after staff has called. That period can be longer due to factors such as the need for an escort, the readiness of the prisoner for his/her visit, or unforeseen lockdowns, incidents on the yard, or quarantines. If a visitor has been waiting more than 30 minutes, he/she should ask staff about the delay. Staff will typically know whether the delay is a prison-related issue and advise the visitor; if it is not, the visitor should ask staff to call again for the prisoner. (When visiting room staff calls the housing unit for the prisoner, it becomes the responsibility of housing unit staff to advise the prisoner. Sometimes housing unit staff are diverted by other responsibilities and forget to advise the prisoner, so it is important to inquire if you have been waiting for more than 30 minutes.) Prisons count their prisoner population at certain times during the day. Movement of prisoners is frozen during those periods, and no prisoner will be released to the visiting room. The only count that is likely to interfere with visiting during the weekend hours is the Close Custody Count which prevents prisoners from going to the visiting from about 11:15 a.m. until the count is cleared around 12:45 p.m. The prisoner you are going to see will be able to tell you whether he/she is close custody and what time the “close custody” count is on Saturday and Sunday. If you arrive in the visiting room during a count period, you will be required to wait for the prisoner’s arrival until count has cleared (meaning that the prison has accounted for all the prisoners being counted), a period that can last more than an hour.

B. Seating All prison visiting rooms have chairs set up for prisoners and their visitors to use while visiting. Most prison visiting rooms also have small tables, usually about 24 inches square and no more than 18 inches high. (A limited number of larger, taller tables are available for disabled prisoners or disabled visitors.) At some prisons, staff assigns the visitors to a specific table and/or chairs; at other prisons, the visitors are allowed to choose where they wish to sit.

Prisoners and visitors are subject to continuous surveillance. Most prison visiting rooms have surveillance cameras. All visiting rooms are staffed by several correctional officers. There is usually a podium or control booth where at least one officer will sit; others will walk throughout the room. Prisoners are usually required to sit facing the podium or control booth. Visitors are usually allowed to sit facing any direction, but some prisons may have restrictions for visitor seating as well.

Many visiting rooms have adjoining patios that prisoners and their visitors may use. The patios may have some grass, some play equipment for small children, and some furniture (benches, chairs, tables). The patios may be available for use during all visiting hours or only at restricted times.

Some visiting rooms have an area set aside for small children. The area is usually relatively small (about the size of a typical bedroom) and has toys, games, and books for the children. Children must be supervised at all times while on prison grounds by the adult who has accompanied them to the prison, including whenever the children are in the play area. Failure to adequately supervise children can result in the termination of the visit, but it can also result in a lack of safety for the children, so visitors should be diligent about supervision and not allow other adults (prisoners or other visitors) to supervise their children. No adults (neither prisoners nor visitors) are allowed in the play area except when supervising their children.

C. Contact Between Prisoners and Visitors Prisoners and their visitors are allowed to briefly kiss and/or hug at the beginning and the end of visits. The only physical contact allowed between prisoners and their adult visitors at other times is holding hands. Prisoners may also hold minor children whom they are visiting.

Physical contact between a prisoner and visitor beyond that described previously, is considered “excessive” and can be cause for staff to terminate the visit and, in some cases, to either suspend the visiting privileges of the visitor for some period and/or to discipline the prisoner. Although most staff will use common sense and not overreact to transitory non-sexual touching (a prisoner physically guiding his/ her wife/husband away from an obstacle as they walk, a mother brushing dirt off a prisoner’s shirt), behaviors such as feeding each other, touching each other’s faces, adjusting each other’s clothing, and the like should be avoided.

D. Food, Photographs, and Games Visiting rooms have vending machines stocked with food and beverages for purchase by visitors and consumption by visitors and prisoners. A visitor may not bring any food or beverage from the outside into the prison and cannot take out any food or beverage bought at the prison when he/she leaves. Vending machines usually have sodas, water, sandwiches (including burgers), and burritos, popcorn, candy, pastries, and coffee. At some prisons, vending machines may also include fresh fruits and vegetables. The prices will vary for such items but usually are about a dollar for a can of soda or bag of popcorn and three to four dollars for a sandwich. The visiting room has microwave ovens for the heating of frozen items.

Although at most prisons the prisoners are allowed to go to the vending machines with their visitors in order to select the food items they want, no prison allows the prisoners to touch either the money or the vending machines. A prisoner who handles money is subject to having his/her visit terminated and may be disciplined.

Most prisons provide limited board and card games for prisoners and their visitors to play together. These may include Scrabble, Dominoes, Uno, Checkers, Chess, and other like games. Most prisons also have children books that prisoners can read to their minor visitors as well as religious materials from most major religions (the Bible, the Torah, the Koran). Prison visiting rooms have digital cameras available for photographs of prisoners and/or their visitors to be taken. There is a cost for the photographs, usually two dollars for each photograph. At some prisons, the visitor purchases a “ticket” for the photograph either from staff in the processing center or from a vending machine in the processing center or in the visiting room. At other prisons, the prisoner is required to purchase the photo ticket from the canteen. Either staff or a prisoner who works in the visiting room takes and prints the photograph and it is given to the prisoner during the course of the visit. Either the prisoner may keep the photo (taking it back with him/her after his/her visit) or the visitor may take the photo.

E. Rules and Violations Per the Department Operations Manual, Section 54020.29.1 - Suspension or Exclusion of Visitors from the Visiting Program, it states, “Visitors violating a policy, regulation, or law are subject to denial, suspension, or revocation of a visit in progress or exclusion from the visiting program in accordance with California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 15, Subsections 3176 - 3176.3.”

All visitors should also be aware that CDCR is prohibited from recognizing hostages for bargaining to affect an escape by inmates or for any other reason(s). In addition, the prison may be surrounded by an electric fence. To protect visitors, especially children, from being injured, visitors are cautioned to stay away from the perimeter fence line. It is a felony for a former inmate or parolee/probationer to be on the grounds of any prison for any reason without prior written approval from the Warden of that institution. Persons discharged from parole must provide proof of discharge along with the Warden’s written permission to visit.

You should behave as a reasonable person would behave in a public place (for example, staying fully clothed at all times, not verbally or physically fighting with others, not being defiant to staff.) Prisoners and visitors are subject to having their visits terminated and/or suspended for rule violations and prisoners may also be disciplined for violations. Serious rule violations (for example, bringing drugs or weapons to the prison or engaging in sexual contact in the visiting room) can result in terminations, suspensions, and discipline even without warning. Less serious rule violations will usually, although not always, result in warnings first and termination, suspension, or discipline only upon a repeat violation.

A visitor whose visit is terminated or whose future visits are suspended, must be given written notice of the violation, the reason for the termination or suspension, and the name of the person authorizing the action. The visitor may appeal the action by writing to the Warden; the Warden will respond within 15 days. If the visitor disagrees with the Warden’s response, he/she can appeal to the Director of Adult Institutions in Sacramento (address at the end of this handbook). Appeals to Sacramento are to be answered within 20 days of receipt by the Director’s Office, but may take longer due to the volume of appeals received and delays in the processing of mail. The action taken by the prison remains in effect while the appeal is pending.

A prisoner whose visits are terminated or suspended or who has been disciplined may appeal that process through the normal prisoner appeal process. Prisoners are given information about process when they first enter prison.

F. Overcrowding - Because there are limited visiting hours at prisons and the prisoner population is large, there are times when more visitors arrive to visit than the visiting room can accommodate. The prisons in very remote areas are less likely to experience this problem than those closer to more-populous areas. When the visiting room becomes overcrowded, staff will terminate some visits in order to allow waiting visitors to come in to visit. Usually, terminations will be of those prisoners and visitors who have been visiting the longest, at the time terminations become necessary, in order to make space for waiting visitors. All prisoners and visitors who have their visits terminated should receive a written termination report, indicating that the reason for the termination was overcrowding. If a visitor is not offered a termination report, he/she should ask for one.

In limited circ*mstances, a prisoner and/or his/her visitor may not have their visit terminated even if the visiting room becomes overcrowded. Generally, the exceptions apply to visitors who have traveled over 250 miles to get to the prison and haven’t visited in 30 or more days, to disabled visitors who must rely on specialized transportation to reach the prison, to visitors visiting due to a family emergency (such as death or serious illness), to visitors who have not visited in six or more months, and to prisoners who have married the day of the visit.

G. Leaving After a Visit - Prisoners subject to non-contact visits have time-limited visits, usually one to two hours; their visitors must leave at the end of the allotted time. Prisoners who receive contact visits are allowed to visit until either their visits are terminated or until the end of visiting. Visitors may leave a visit at any time or stay until the end of visiting. Whenever the prisoner and visitor leave, it is their responsibility to clean up the area in which they were visiting by returning any books or games and putting trash into its proper place. Prisoners and visitors who have had contact visits may again share a brief kiss and/or hug at the end of the visit.

All visitors must show (or collect) their identification and pick up their pass as they leave the visiting room. Visitors should check and make sure they have been handed the correct identification and pass by staff, as sometimes a mistake is made and is not caught until the visitor gets to the processing center requiring them to return to the visiting room to collect the correct items.

Prisoners who have had contact visits must undergo a search before they are allowed to return to their housing units. Some prisons require that the visitor remain in the visiting room until the prisoner has been searched and cleared. That process usually takes only a few minutes; but if the visitor is leaving at the end of visiting, there will be many prisoners to be searched at the same time and the wait (if the visitor is required to wait) can take much longer, up to 30 minutes. Once allowed to leave the visiting room, the visitor returns to the processing center (either by walking or by prison bus or van) and shows his/her identification and the stamp on his/her hand and surrenders his/her pass. He/she is then free to leave prison grounds.

CDCR-Chuckawalla Valley State Prison (CVSP) (2024)
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