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United States Penitentiary (USP) - Atwater

Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)

Last Updated: May 05, 2022
1 Federal Way, Atwater, CA 95301
Mailing Address
PO Box 019001, Atwater, CA 95301

USP-Atwater is for Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) offenders found guilty of a federal crime and sentenced to incarceration in accordance with the Department of Justice Sentencing Guidelines.

All prisons and jails have Security or Custody levels depending on the inmate’s classification, sentence, and criminal history. Please review the rules and regulations for federal high facility.

The phone carrier is Global Tel Link (GTL) - ConnectNetwork, to see their rates and best-calling plans for your inmate to call you.

If you are seeking to send your inmate money for commissary, one recommended for this facility is MoneyGram There is a fee for sending money, see their rates and limitations.

If you are unsure of your inmate's location, you can search and locate your inmate by typing in their last name, first name or first initial, and/or the offender ID number to get their accurate information immediately Registered Offenders

Satellite View of United States Penitentiary (USP) - Atwater

United States Penitentiary (USP) - Atwater's comprehensive information to help guide you through the federal prison process, specifically on how to remain connected to your inmate while they are incarcerated.

The USP-Atwater is a federal prison located at 1 Federal Way in Atwater, CA. This federal high security prison is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to hold inmates who have been convicted to and sentenced for a federal crime through the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

Locate all federal inmates here. If you would like to speak with a case manager or counselor, call 209-386-0257.

The United States Penitentiary, Atwater (USP Atwater) is a high-security United States federal prison for male inmates in California. The institution also includes a minimum-security satellite camp. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice.

Inmates at the Penitentiary are housed in six units, each with 256 inmates who are housed in double-bunked cells. Atwater USP is secured by electrified perimeter fences, video surveillance systems, and multiple armed guard towers. Additionally, this facility utilizes a Laser Voice system which monitors all inmate phone calls. USP Atwater offers various educational programs, including mandatory GED classes for inmates without high school diplomas, occupational and vocational training with apprenticeships, Adult Continuing Education, parenting classes and leisure programs.

USP Atwater is located on land formerly part of Castle Air Force Base. It is near the city of Atwater in Merced County, California, 130 miles from San Francisco.

Notable inmates that have been incarcerated at USP Atwater include Jerry Whitworth the former Senior Chief Petty Officer for the US Navy; convicted in 1986 of espionage for selling highly classified US Navy documents to the Soviet Union, Bobby Banks serving 55 years as the leader of the Crips street gang in Little Rock, Arkansas convicted of conspiracy and large-scale drug trafficking distribution operation and Saudi national Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari serving life for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

Housing: Inmates are housed in one and two-person cells.

Health Services: Health services at USP Atwater include emergency medical services, physical examinations, examinations for inmates 50 and older, medication, dental sick call, and reading glasses. Inmates are assigned to a specific medical care provider who treats them for the duration of their stay. Emergency medical care is available 24 hours a day.

Psychology Services: USP Atwater provides intake screening, assessment, treatment of mental health and drug abuse problems, individual and group counseling, psycho-educational classes, self-help and supportive services, and referral to Health Services for medical treatment of mental illness. It also offers specialized mental health programs and the Challenge Program (an intensive, residential program for inmates with mental health problems).

Education Services: USP Atwater offers literacy, GED (in English and Spanish), and English-as-a-Second Language (ESL), programs. Incentive awards are provided to recognize inmates making satisfactory progress and successfully completing the literacy (i.e., GED and ESL) program. Inmates may also receive incentives for progressing to various levels in the GED or ESL programs. Graduation ceremonies recognize GED, ESL, and Occupational Education completions. A parenting program is also available. Adult Continuing Education (ACE) may also be offered in subjects such as typing, computer literacy, foreign language, and business skills. High school diplomas and post-secondary programs are available through paid correspondence programs.

Vocational Training: USP Atwater offers vocational training in Building Trades/Landscaping and Computer Skills – Illustrator and MS Office. The camp does not offer vocational training programs.

Apprenticeship: USP Atwater offers apprenticeships for the following occupations: Electrician, Cook, HVAC, and Teacher’s Aide. The camp offers apprenticeships for the following occupations: Landscape Technician, Stationary Engineer, and Teacher’s Aide.

Library Services: Leisure and law libraries are available to inmates. A variety of reading materials, including periodicals, newspapers, fiction, nonfiction, and reference books are available at the leisure library. An interlibrary loan program with local, state, and college libraries and available bookmobile services are also available. The TRULINCS Electronic Law Library offers inmates access to legal materials and preparation of legal documents. Typewriters and a copy machine are also available.

UNICOR: The USP Atwater and camp UNICOR facilities handle recycling.

Commissary: A spending limit of $360.00 per month is imposed. Inmates must have their commissary card in their possession at all times for identification purposes. Popular commissary items include ice cream, snacks, foods, electronics, clothing, drinks, and shoes.

Recreation Services: Leisure activities at USP Atwater include organized and informal games, sports, physical fitness, table games, hobby crafts, music programs, intramural activities, social and cultural organizations, and movies. Art activities include all painting and sketching rendered in any of the usual media (e.g., pastels, crayons, pencils, and charcoal). Hobbycraft activities include crochet and knitting. The camp also offers a number of recreation activities including leather craft, painting, sketching, and bead craft. The housing unit common area is where inmates can play cards, table games, etc. The recreation field hosts many structured activities throughout the year, including softball, track and field, soccer, volleyball, and wellness classes.

Admissions and Orientation (A&O) Handbook - This document provides you with general information about the institution, programs, rules, and regulations that you will encounter during your confinement. Familiarizing yourself with this information and knowing your responsibilities will help you to adjustment to institution life.

Commissary List - In 1930 the Department of Justice authorized and established a Commissary at each Federal institution. The Commissary provides a bank type account for your money & for the procurement of articles not issued regularly as part of the institution administration. Funds deposited by your family, friends, or other sources are stored in your commissary account that we maintain.

Legal Activities - This document outlines the procedures for access to legal reference materials and legal counsel and the opportunities that you will be afforded to prepare legal documents while incarcerated.

Inmate Locator

United States Penitentiary (USP) - Atwater is a facility in the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) publishes the names of their inmates currently in one of their locations nationwide. Your search should start with the first locator to see if your loved one is there. You will need the offender's first and last name and it must be spelled exactly. If you have a nine-digit BOP Inmate ID number (xxxxx-xxx)

If you cannot find your inmate in the federal search, the second box is the InmateAid Inmate Search. This database of inmates is all the inmates currently incarcerated in all prisons, jails and detention centers. You do not need to sign up to use this free inmate locator.

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Covid Visitation Information

We remind all visitors to carefully review our special visiting procedures during the COVID pandemic, and also remind all visitors to observe applicable state and local COVID travel restrictions in planning your visit to the institution.

Please call 209-386-0257 prior to your visit to get the latest updates, time changes or visitation cancellations.

All visitors will be temperature checked with results annotated at the screening site prior to entrance. All staff working the screening site will be in proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Visitors will be in-processed on a first come first serve basis, adhering to social-distancing requirements. If distancing requirements cannot be met, visitors may be asked to wait outside for systematic in-processing to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Inmates on quarantine or isolation status will not be permitted visits - it will be the visitor's responsibility to check with the institution prior to arrival to ensure the scheduled visit can still take place.

The visiting room is designed to maximize social distancing, with a minimum of six feet between persons. Inmates are permitted two visitors per visit. To ensure equal opportunities, the frequency of visits determines any termination. Appropriate face coverings are mandatory for all inmates and visitors, all visitors wearing a mask will be provided one by the institution, theirs will be secured in the lockers in the lobby. No physical contact, photographs, food, or drink is permitted. A hand hygiene station, including alcohol-based hand sanitizer, is available at all visiting entrances and exits. Orderlies are assigned to each visitation room and will continually sanitize all touch surfaces, restrooms, etc.

Visitation Information

United States Penitentiary (USP) - Atwater High - Visiting Hours

  • Friday 8:00am – 3:00pm
  • Saturday 8:00am – 3:00pm
  • Sunday 8:00am – 3:00pm
  • Holidays 8:00am – 3:00pm

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Ask The Inmate

Ask a former inmate questions at no charge. The inmate answering has spent considerable time in the federal prison system, state and county jails, and in a prison that was run by the private prison entity CCA. Ask your question or browse previous questions in response to comments or further questions of members of the InmateAid community.

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