The 8 List Of Level 3 Security Prisons in California

The level 3 system in California is one of the most secure prisons systems available. However, it’s less secure than level 4 and more secure than level 2 prisons.

Image of level 3 security prisons in California.

Moreover, the inmates are deemed to be in a high-risk category and have committed crimes that require them to serve a life sentence without parole.

Level 3 security prisons are not just reserved for murderers and rapists; they can also be for people convicted of drug trafficking, kidnapping, burglary, or assault with a deadly weapon.

There are currently around 08 level 3 security facilities scattered across the state of California. These prisons have the strictest level of security and a greater degree of separation from the general population.

The inmates live in close quarters with limited privileges and must follow strict rules at all times to avoid being sent back to Level 1 or Level 2 prisons. In this blog post, we will go over all the level 3 security prisons in California.

1. California Institution for Women

The California Institution for Women is one of the level 3 security prisons in California. It was opened in 1952 and has been operational ever since, only for women prisoners.

OIW is located in the city of Chino, Riverside County, California. The facility house has 1553 inmates when it has a capacity of 1398 inmates.

There are many different programs available to these inmates, such as job training, drug awareness education, anger management classes, parenting skills courses, and so much more! The area of this prison isn’t too big (120 acres). 

2. California Medical Facility

The California Medical Facility is the level 3 security prison in Vacaville, Solano County, California. It was established in 1995. Medical Facility, also known as “CMF” to locals, and it’s a male-only state prison.

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CMF is one of the state’s newest correctional facilities designed with features that meet or exceed national standards for safety and security.

It has 2361 beds capacity, but it holds about 2396 inmates. Therefore it’s one of the low population density state prisons in California. 

3. California Men’s Colony

In 1954 for the first time, California Men’s Colony prison opened. It stands near the city of San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo County, California; It has the tag of level 3 security prison. It houses 3727 inmates and employs 1870 staff members to maintain order and security.

The prison is operated by the California Department of Corrections (CDCR. CDCR opened this facility to housing maximum custody of male offenders who require close supervision due to their history or current behavioral status. CMC has 356 acres of area. 

4. California State Prison, Solano

California State Prison, Solano is one of the medium (Level 3) security prisons located in the city of Vacaville, Solano County, California. It was founded in August 1984 and housed 3752n inmates classified as minimum custody.

The prison provides various vocational training opportunities and work assignments for its inmates, such as horticulture (growing plants) and dairy farming. Though it has a small area of 146 acres it’s well organized. 

5. Central California Women’s Facility

If you live in California, then you are well aware of the state’s high crime rates. One of the most recent prisons to be built in California is Central Women’s Facility, a level 3 prison for women that was opened in October 1990.

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The address of this prison; in the city of Chowchilla, California. The facility has a security perimeter consisting of barbed wire and razor wire and houses about 2640 inmates against 2004 prisoners’ capacity.

The Central Women’s Facility is one of many facilities in California that have been created due to an increase in female prisoners over the past few decades. 

6. Ironwood State Prison

Ironwood State Prison has located in n eastern Riverside County, California. Ironwood State Prison is listed as a level 3 security prison.

It was built on 1 February 1994 and has 2,200 inmates, but it’s overcrowded with 3203 inmates. The prison features an onsite hospital facility staffed by licensed doctors and nurses 24 hours per day.

Ironwood also provides programs to help inmates transition back into society, such as substance abuse treatment and education classes! 

7. Pleasant Valley State Prison

Welcome to Pleasant Valley State Prison, one of California’s level 3 security prisons. It’s located in Coalinga, Fresno County, California. PVSP was opened in November 1994.

It is a place where inmates are forced to live in all kinds of conditions, from overcrowding and violence to extreme heat and cold.

The prison houses approximately 3,062 inmates when PVSP has a capacity of 2308 people. This state prison is surrounded by 640 acres of land. 

8. Salinas Valley State Prison

Salinas Valley State Prison is one of the level 3 security prisons in Monterey County, California. It was built In May 1996. It can house more than 2452 inmates, but as of April 30, 2020, it’s overcrowded with 2877 inmates.

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This prison also arranges mental health programs under the California Department of State Hospitals. The area of this prison is 300 acres. 


Level 3 security prisons in California are different than the other levels of Prison. In these high-security facilities, prisoners live in a more restrictive environment and have less freedom to move about or interact with others.

Those who commit crimes that require this level of punishment can be not easy to adjust–but for many, the tradeoff is worth it for their safety and peace of mind.

If you’ve got questions about what life inside one of these maximum security prisons entails, you’ll find that on our website. 

Level 3 security prisons in California are not for the light-hearted. You’ll need to be prepared to live a life of strict controlled rules and regulations.

Therefore, the question is, do you think that this level of prison environment would work well with your lifestyle? If it does, we can help point you towards some options within the state!

5 thoughts on “The 8 List Of Level 3 Security Prisons in California”

  1. Pingback: List of Minimum Security Level 1 Prisons in California

  2. Pingback: Top 10 List Of Maximum Security Prisons In California

  3. Pingback: The 10 List Of Level 4 Security Prisons in California - Prisons Review

  4. You guys say level 3 prisons require more restrictive rules that must be followed to avoid going back to level 1 or level 2–what? Level 1 and 2 are minimum and medium. So, this was typed in error if they want to avoid going Back to a lower level facility? Whatever do you mean? Isn’t it logical that most men want to be in lower levels so that they can obtain all the services that they have to offer?

  5. Pingback: The List Of Level 2 Security Prisons in California

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