The California Public Records Act (California Government Code §§ 6250 through 6276.48) was a law passed by the California State Legislature and signed by the governor in 1968 requiring inspection or disclosure of governmental records to the public upon request, unless exempted by law.

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Public records are generally defined to include “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of a public’s business prepared, owned, used or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristic”. Most of the exemptions under the CPRA are set forth under Section 6254 and are specific as to certain record or type of records, but under Section 6255 a general exemption exists where, on the facts of the particular case, “the public interest served by not making the record public clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record”. In reviewing the propriety of an agency decision to withhold records, a court is charged with ascertaining whether nondisclosure was justified under either of these statutes.

The Department of Corrections website contains detailed information on visiting a prisoner, as well as other ways to contact inmates. Most inmates held in general population may have contact visits. Those who are segregated are restricted to non-contact visits. Some prisoners are eligible for family visits, which are held in apartment-like facilities on prison grounds and last from 30 to 40 hours. Visitations are generally scheduled on weekends and holidays only. Prisoners may receive mail, with certain restrictions, but the sender should understand that the envelope will be opened and inspected in the mailroom. Prisoners cannot receive phone calls, but they are allowed to make collect calls with a 15-minute limit per call.