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Wasco State Prison: A Comprehensive Overview of California’s High-Security Facility

As one of California’s most high-security facilities, Wasco State Prison has been the center of much attention in recent years. From its notorious inmates to its strict regulations, the facility has gained a reputation for being one of the most challenging correctional institutions in the United States. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the history, current status, and controversies surrounding Wasco State Prison.

If you’re planning to visit an inmate at Wasco State Prison, there are some essential details to keep in mind:

Visitation Hours

Visitation is allowed on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 3 pm. However, visitors must complete the visiting processing by 2 pm; those arriving after this time will not be permitted to enter the visitation area. Please note that if you plan to visit inmates in administrative segregation or those with non-contact status, you must schedule a visiting appointment online.


The physical address of Wasco State Prison is as follows:

Wasco State Prison 701 Scofield Avenue Wasco, CA 93280

Contact Information

Should you need to get in touch with the prison, you can reach them at (661) 758-8400.

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Inmate Mailing Addresses

Sending mail to inmates at Wasco State Prison requires precise addressing. Ensure that you format the address correctly to ensure your correspondence reaches its intended recipient. Here are the mailing addresses for different facilities within the prison:

  • A Facility: Inmate Name, ID Number PO Box 4400 Wasco, CA 93280-4400
  • B Facility: Inmate Name, ID Number PO Box 5500 Wasco, CA 93280-5500
  • C Facility: Inmate Name, ID Number PO Box 6600 Wasco, CA 93280-6600
  • D Facility: Inmate Name, ID Number PO Box 7700 Wasco, CA 93280-7700
  • E Facility: Inmate Name, ID Number PO Box 3300 Wasco, CA 93280-4015
  • H Facility: Inmate Name, ID Number PO Box 9900 Wasco, CA 93280-9900

1. Introduction

Wasco State Prison is a high-security facility located in Kern County, California. It is one of 33 adult prisons operated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), and houses male inmates who have been sentenced to long-term or life imprisonment. The facility’s primary objective is to maintain safety and security for both the inmates and staff.

2. History of Wasco State Prison

Wasco State Prison was originally built in 1991 as a medium-security facility with a capacity of 2,000 inmates. However, in 1997, the prison was converted into a high-security prison due to the increasing number of violent incidents within the facility. Since then, Wasco State Prison has undergone several expansions, including the addition of maximum-security units.

3. Overview of the Facility

Wasco State Prison covers over 634 acres of land and consists of multiple housing units, including general population, sensitive needs, administrative segregation, and maximum-security units. The facility has a total capacity of 5,805 inmates, making it one of California’s largest prisons.

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4. Inmate Demographics

The majority of inmates at Wasco State Prison are between the ages of 25 and 50, with an average sentence length of 30 years to life. The inmate population is primarily made up of individuals who have been convicted of violent crimes, including murder, robbery, and assault.

5. Programs and Services

Wasco State Prison offers various programs and services to help rehabilitate inmates and prepare them for re-entry into society. These include education and vocational training, substance abuse treatment, anger management courses, and mental health services.

6. Staffing and Employment

The prison employs over 1,600 staff members, including correctional officers, medical personnel, and administrative staff. The majority of staff members work in security-related positions, including custody, transportation, and perimeter patrol.

7. Security Measures

Wasco State Prison is known for its strict security measures, including surveillance cameras, metal detectors, and security patrols. In addition, the prison uses various forms of technology to monitor inmate activities, including cell phones, computers, and social media platforms.

8. Incidents and Controversies

Over the years, Wasco State Prison has been the center of many controversies, including allegations of excessive use of force by correctional officers, inmate suicides, and inmate-on-inmate violence. In 2020, the prison made headlines after over 1,000 inmates tested positive for COVID-19.

9. Media Coverage and Popular Culture

Wasco State Prison has been featured in numerous movies, TV shows, and documentaries over the years. These include the TV series “Lockup” and the movie “American Me.” The prison has also been the subject of several news articles and investigative reports.

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10. Conclusion

Wasco State Prison is a high-security facility that plays a vital role in California’s prison system. While the facility has been the center of many controversies and challenges, it remains committed to its primary objective of maintaining safety and security for all inmates and staff members. The programs and services offered at the prison, such as education and mental health services, are essential for preparing inmates for a successful re-entry into society.

Overall, Wasco State Prison serves as a critical reminder of the importance of the correctional system in promoting public safety and reducing crime rates. By addressing the needs and challenges of its inmates, the facility helps to reduce recidivism and promote successful re-entry into society.

11. FAQs

  1. What is the current inmate population at Wasco State Prison?
  • The prison currently has a capacity of 5,805 inmates.
  1. What type of inmates are housed at the facility?
  • Wasco State Prison primarily houses male inmates who have been convicted of violent crimes.
  1. What programs and services are offered to inmates at the prison?
  • The prison offers various programs, including education and vocational training, substance abuse treatment, anger management courses, and mental health services.
  1. Has the prison been the center of any controversies?
  • Yes, the prison has been involved in several controversies, including allegations of excessive use of force and inmate-on-inmate violence.
  1. How does Wasco State Prison promote public safety?
  • By maintaining strict security measures and offering programs that address the needs of its inmates, Wasco State Prison helps to reduce recidivism and promote successful re-entry into society, ultimately promoting public safety.

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