All About California Men's Colony

Connect With an Inmate All About California Men's Colony

How to Connect With Your Loved One at California Men's Colony

If you have a loved one serving time in the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo, DoNotPay can help you connect with them.

The California Men's Colony is composed of two separate complexes.

  1. The East Facility is a medium-security Level III complex that houses inmates with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities. There is also a 50-bed Mental Health Crisis unit in the East Facility. Inmates housed at the East Facility have access to a wide selection of vocational, educational, and self-help programs as well as counseling whenever they need it.
  2. The West Facility houses Level I and II medium and minimum-security prisoners in a dormitory format. Many of the inmates at the West Facility are inmate firefighters who assist in fighting wildfires and other natural disasters in the region. Other West Facility inmates are a part of the New Life K9 program training service dogs to work with first responders who have physical limitations or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

West Facility inmates have access to a greater selection of academic opportunities and self-improvement programs, such as criminal thinking, anger management, cognitive behavioral therapy programs, family and relationships, and substance abuse education, as well as a plethora of career and technical programs.

The focus of the Men's Colony is to give the inmates their best chance at a peaceful reintegration into society when their sentences end.  As a whole, the California Men's Colony has an inmate population of 3,800 adult males. 

Where is the California Men's Colony Located?

The California Men's Colony is located in San Luis Obispo, California.

Physical addressCalifornia Men's Colony

Colony Drive

San Luis Obispo CA 93409

Phone Number(805) 547-7900
WebsiteCMC Website

Ways of Connecting to Inmates at the California Men's Colony

Friends and loved ones can connect through letters, packages, money sent, and visitation.

No matter which type of connection you are considering, the first thing you will need to know is the address of their housing unit and the California Dept of Corrections (CDC) Identification number.

Letters and Postcards

When you write letters to inmates at the California Men's Colony, you need to make sure that the outside of the envelope is clean. You cannot draw on the envelope or enhance it with stickers or glitter. You need to always make sure that you put your complete return address on the outside and the inmates' complete, correct address and CDC ID number on the envelope as well. If either of these addresses is incomplete, your letter will most likely be either returned to you or disposed of.

Greeting cards cannot have any electronic components or pop-out features. There should not be any glitter on the card, and never add any inside the envelope. Keep things simple with no profanity or nudity or obscene language or messages, and your messages will not have any trouble getting to your loved one.

All mail to the California Men's Colony should be addressed as follows:

California Men's Colony

Inmates first and last name, CDC ID number, Housing assignment

PO Box 8103

San Luis Obispo CA 93409-8103


Inmates are only allowed to receive packages quarterly, and they must be from an approved vendor. The California Department of Corrections has approved these vendors for shipping packages to inmates in all CDC correctional facilities:

  • 1 Stop Value Pack (661) 441-2434
  • Access Securepak (800) 524-2389 or
  • Aramark iCare (877) 615-3296
  • JPAY (800) 574-5729
  • Mike's Better Shoes (856) 767-1300
  • The Vitamin Outlet (800) 967-1827
  • Union Supply Direct (866) 404-8989
  • Walkenhorst's (800) 660-9255

You may also send your loved one paperback books as long as you order them new and directly from The content of the book cannot incite hate or rage, including pornography or other questionable content. Hardcover books are not allowed. Make sure that the book is coming from Amazon and not one of the storefronts that operate within Amazon. Amazon customer service can help guide you on this.

Before you send a package to an inmate, always make sure to check with them as to what they need, how much they are able to have, or if there is something else they would prefer. Packages do not come very often, and you will want to make it meaningful.

Phone Calls

Phone calls must always be initiated by the inmate. 

Your loved one can always call you collect, but those calls can get expensive, and cell phone providers do not allow them.

The CDC offers a prepaid option to help you save money on your phone conversations with your loved one. You can easily set up a prepaid account with the CDC provider, Global Tel Link, also known as GTL. You can easily set up a prepaid account by calling GTL  at (888) 415-0377.

Sending Money

Each inmate has a trust account to draw from for what they might need.There are only a few reasons that an inmate will need money while they are incarcerated:

  1. Funds to their trust account. These are funds that the inmate will use to purchase snacks, and other items, such as writing materials from the canteen. If the inmate owes restitution as part of his sentence, a percentage of all money they receive is put towards restitution. These deductions can add up to 55% or more, including administrative fees.
  2. Restitution payments.
  3. Family visiting. Note if you are sending funds specifically for family visiting, they must go through the Family Visiting office at the facility.
  4. Temporary community leave

You can send funds in one of the following ways:

  • EFT funds, minus a small fee, are transferred to the inmate's account within one to three days. There are three EFT vendors used by the California Department of Corrections. They are GTL/ConnectNetworkJPay, and Access Corrections. You cannot use EFT funds for family visiting purposes.
  • Lock Box funds. You can write a personal check or a money order payable to JPay and include a money order deposit form. Send to JPay, 2202 South Figueroa St Box 3001, Los Angeles CA 90007. Personal checks are always held for ten days, and there is no fee to send money this way.  Make sure your full name and address as well as the inmate's full name and address, including an ID number, are on the check or money order. Any messages you try to include when sending payments in this way will be disposed of.
  • Mail to CMC. You can send a personal check or money order payable to CDCR. Your full name and address need to be on the check or money order as well as the inmate name and DOC ID number. Once the funds are received at the California Men's Colony, there will be a 30-day hold placed on personal checks.


In order to visit your inmate, you will need to be added to the inmate's approved visitor list. This applies whether the visit is in person, a family visit, or a video visit. Once approved, you will need to call and schedule your visit with the facility.

Visits can be canceled at any time for a number of reasons, which include a new COVID outbreak in the housing area, the facility going on lockdown, or if your inmate has their visiting privileges revoked. If you do have an appointment for an in-person visit, be sure to abide by the dress code. If you have any questions about the dress code, call the prison for information.

All visitation needs to be scheduled in advance. Video visitations can take place from the comfort of your own home.

What You Should Know Before You Connect With Your Loved One at the California Men’s Colony

Every inmate in the California Department of Corrections (CDC) population is assigned an identification number.

You will not get very far with your attempt to connect with your loved one at the California Men's Colony unless you have their CDC identification number. It is the number that must be included on every letter, when you send money, apply for visitation, etc. You might not even be able to locate them without it. You can always get help from DoNotPay to find their CDC ID and location.

How DoNotPay Can Help Get You In Touch With Your Loved One in Corrections

Whether you simply need to locate them or you are sending them a personalized message, you can get started with the click of a button. 

  1. Locate the Connect With an Inmate service on DoNotPay. 
  2. Choose whether you want to locate a loved one, create a virtual mailbox, or send a personalized letter. 
  3. If you want us to find your loved one, provide his or her personal details and the state they are located in. We'll then conduct a search on the appropriate state database. 
  4. If you want to create a virtual mailbox, just provide your full name! We'll set one up for you so you can easily receive incoming mail from your loved one. 
  5. If sending a personalized letter, tell us which facility your loved one is located in and what you would like to say to them. You can even include a photo! Your letter will be delivered automatically - just wait 10 days for it to arrive to your loved one! 

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