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California Men’s Colony: A Look Into One of California’s Largest Prisons

California Men’s Colony, also known as CMC, is a large state prison located in San Luis Obispo, California. With over 3,800 inmates, it is one of the largest prisons in the state. In this article, we will delve into the history of CMC, the facilities, daily life for inmates, and more.

Visitation and Contact Information

For families and friends of inmates, staying connected is crucial. Here’s what you need to know about visitation at California Men’s Colony:

  • Visiting Hours: Inmates receive visitors on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. It’s essential to arrive before 2:30 PM to gain entry. Special visitation days include New Year’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. You can also schedule a visiting appointment online.
  • Location: The facility’s physical address is California Men’s Colony, Highway 1, San Luis Obispo, CA 93409.
  • Contact Information: If you need to reach CMC, you can contact them at (805) 547-7900.
  • Inmate Mailing Address:
    • For East Facility: Inmate Name, ID, California Men’s Colony EAST, P.O. Box 8101, San Luis Obispo, CA 93409-8103.
    • For West Facility: Inmate Name, ID, California Men’s Colony WEST, P.O. Box 8103, San Luis Obispo, CA 93409-8103.

History of California Men’s Colony

  • CMC was established in 1954 as a medical facility for inmates.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s, CMC became a hub for prison activism and political organizing.
  • CMC has been the site of numerous riots and protests throughout its history.
  • The prison has undergone several expansions and renovations over the years.
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Facilities at California Men’s Colony

  • CMC houses both minimum and maximum-security inmates.
  • The prison has several housing units, including general population, sensitive needs, and administrative segregation units.
  • There is a medical facility on-site, staffed with medical professionals and mental health specialists.
  • CMC also has educational and vocational programs, including a welding program, computer classes, and a culinary arts program.

Daily Life for Inmates at California Men’s Colony

  • Inmates at CMC typically spend up to 23 hours a day in their cells.
  • They have limited access to educational and vocational programs.
  • CMC has a reputation for being a violent prison, and inmates must be constantly vigilant for their safety.
  • The prison has a strict set of rules and regulations that inmates must follow.

Issues and Controversies at California Men’s Colony

  • Overcrowding has been a persistent problem at CMC, leading to unsafe living conditions for inmates.
  • CMC has faced criticism for its handling of mental health issues among inmates.
  • The prison has been accused of using excessive force against inmates.
  • In recent years, there have been calls for reform of the criminal justice system in California, including changes to the state’s prison system.


California Men’s Colony is a massive prison that has been the site of much controversy throughout its history. From its origins as a medical facility to its current status as a maximum-security prison, CMC has undergone numerous changes and renovations over the years. While the prison provides essential services and programs to its inmates, there is still much work to be done to improve living conditions and address ongoing issues.

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  1. What is the population of California Men’s Colony?
  • CMC currently houses over 3,800 inmates.
  1. What kind of educational programs are available at CMC?
  • CMC offers a range of educational and vocational programs, including welding, computer classes, and culinary arts.
  1. What are the conditions like for inmates at CMC?
  • Inmates at CMC typically spend up to 23 hours a day in their cells and have limited access to programs.
  1. Has CMC faced criticism for its handling of mental health issues?
  • Yes, the prison has faced criticism for its handling of mental health issues among inmates.
  1. What is being done to reform the criminal justice system in California?
  • There have been calls for reform of the criminal justice system in California, including changes to the state’s prison system.

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