California Penal Code 4570 PC makes it a crime to communicate with a jail or prison inmate without the permission of the warden or other officer in charge. As a misdemeanor, unlawfully communicating with an inmate carries up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
4570. Every person who, without the permission of the warden or other officer in charge of any State prison, or prison road camp, or prison forestry camp, or other prison camp or prison farm or any other place where prisoners of the State prison are located under the custody of prison officials, officers or employees, or any jail, or any county road camp in this State, communicates with any prisoner or person detained therein, or brings therein or takes therefrom any letter, writing, literature, or reading matter to or from any prisoner or person confined therein, is guilty of a misdemeanor
California Penal Code 4570 PC prohibits communicating without permission with an inmate incarcerated in either a:
- state prison
- prison road camp
- prison forestry camp
- any other prison camp or prison farm or any other place where state prisoners are in custody
- county road camp
PC 4570 prohibits not only unauthorized telephonic communications. It also prohibits bringing – or taking – the following materials to or from an inmate:
- other reading matter
Example: Jeffrey is an inmate in a California prison, which forbids inmates from viewing pornography. Jeffrey’s brother Jim mails Jeffrey pornography by using an envelope that has an attorney’s office as the return address. If caught, Jeffrey could be arrested for unlawful communication with an incarcerated person.
Violating PC 4570 is a misdemeanor carrying:
- up to 6 months in jail, and/or
- up to $1,000 in fines.1
See our related article on bringing drugs into a jail or prison (PC 4573).
- California Penal Code 4570 PC – Communicating with prisoner or detained person; Bringing in or taking out reading matter. See, for example, In re Ferguson (Cal.), 55 Cal. 2d 663, 12 Cal. Rptr. 753, 361 P.2d 417; Davis v. Superior Court of Marin County (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 1959), 175 Cal. App. 2d 8, 345 P.2d 513.