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Resources for Inmates in California

By: Kasey Michaud and Jessica Dine

There are thousands of inmates in the California prison system and many are struggling with mental health issues. The following resources are meant to help prisoners and formerly incarcerated individuals cope with their situation and readjust to the outside world. These resources can also be used by the families of incarcerated individuals to assist their loved ones.  These groups and programs provide a wide range of services meant to aid in inmate mental health and provide services that may not be easily accessible to inmates. Listed below are the names, contact information, and a brief overview of each. 

Name: Catholic Charities Adult Inmate Supportive Services 

Contact: Kent Wanke, Program Manager, Phone: (408) 325-5147


Address: 2625 Zanker Road, Suite 201, San Jose, CA 95134

Services: The Inmate Supportive Services (ISS) at the two adult correctional facilities (Main and Elmwood Jails) respond to inmate requests for books, eye glasses, notary services, probation-required legal documents, requests for family contacts, family requests for information or items for the inmates, information from community/other legal services and resource information. 

*Several physical locations closed during Covid pandemic; still operates remotely 

Name: Reentry Resource Center

Contact: Reentry Resource Center Reception Desk, Phone: (408) 535-4201, M-F 8AM-5PM

Address: 151 West Mission Street, San Jose, CA 95110

Services: Provides support to current and former inmates in Santa Clara; services include referrals for mental health/substance use treatment, public benefit enrollment (Medi-Cal, Cal Fresh (food stamps) & General Assistance), Child Support Services, Reentry Mobile Medical Unit, Office of Supportive Housing (OSH), counseling, resource navigation through peer support and community health workers, expungement 

  • Mobile Medical Unit (MMU): call (408) 535-4299 for availability
    • Available at the San Jose RRC on Mondays from 8:30am-12:00pm (medicine/psychiatry) and1:00pm-5:00pm (psychiatry only) 
    • Wednesdays from 12:00pm – 5:00pm (medicine/psychiatry)
    • Thursdays 8:30am – 5:00pm (psychiatry by  appointment only) 
    • Fridays 8:30am-5:00pm (medicine/psychiatry)
    • Available at the Gilroy RRC on Tuesdays 8:30am – 4pm (medicine/psychiatry)​ 
  • Behavioral Health Services Department: available at the RRC for mental health and substance use treatment services M-F 8am-5pm. Screenings also available by calling Gateway for Substance Use Services (800-488-9919) or the Mental Health call center (800-704-0900)
  • Faith-based services: available M-F 8am – 5pm; call 408-535-4274 to make an appointment
  • Social Services Agency: available at the RRC for screenings and applications for General Assistance, CalFresh, and Medi-Cal M-F 8am – 5pm. Information on these services can also be accessed via telephone (1-877-962-3633) and online (  

To Apply for Services: For current inmates, ask for an “Inmate Request Form” and check box for “Reentry Resource Center” 

Name: Freedom Within Prison Project

Contact: Malcolm Dydo, Email:

Services: Offers men’s self-help discussion groups and weekend intensive trainings that follow a curriculum geared towards enhancing abilities of communication, restorative justice, and emotional intelligence. Allows men to make a positive shift in their lives and provides a safe space to work through trauma and build feelings of accountability and self-determination

To Apply for Services: Interested inmates should put their name on sign-up sheet posted inside prison and will go through a series of interviews with the education staff; sobriety is a prerequisite for joining 

*Temporarily suspended during Covid pandemic 

*Name: Evans Lane Wellness and Recovery Center 

Contact: (408) 793-2400

Address: 2090 Evans Lane, San Jose, CA 95125

Services: Offers support and services to adults involved in the criminal justice system who suffer from mental health illness and substance abuse issues; geared towards enabling participants to take responsibility for their lives through improved self-sufficiency, abilities and confidence, support networks, mitigation of health and behavior risks, and help finding community roles

  • Outpatient program: Clinicians, psychiatrists and community workers provide participants with individual/group therapy and individualized treatment plans; serve as representatives for participants’ legal issues and provide proper psychiatric assessments and case management services 
  • Residential program: Provides participants with housing for up to one year, 24 hour support, group counseling, and group activities focused on integrating participants into the community 

To Apply for Services: Referral needed from one of these organizations: Catholic Charities, Probation Department, Parole, Drug Treatment Court, Gardner

*Name: Mental Health Assessment Team (MHAT)

Contact: 408-491-4700

Address: 201 N. 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113

Services: Connects inmates to community resources to assist in jail-to-community transition; provides education to clients and families about relapse prevention (inc. Spanish-speaking services)

*Name: Friends Outside

Contact: (831-427-5078)

Services: Provides a wide array of post-release services such as helping formerly incarcerated individuals obtain food, shelter, and government assistance. They also assist individuals on parole and provide resources to help families of incarcerated individuals understand the proper processes and procedures.

To Apply for Services: Contact the program via their email or phone number

*Some services temporarily remote during Covid pandemic 

Name: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Santa Clara County

Contact: (408-453-0400),

Address: NAMI SCC Office, 1150 S. Bascom Ave, Ste. 24, San Jose, CA

Services: Provides valuable resources to families of incarcerated individuals to help them aid their loved ones behind bars as well as online support groups for their families.

To apply for services: Registration form for online support groups (conducted on the 1st Wednesday of each month via zoom)

*Provides transitional services to inmates after incarceration

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