Table of Contents

Mule Creek State Prison

Reason for Review

Penal Code Section 919(b) mandates that the Grand Jury annually review all prisons and jails within the County.


Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) is a medium-security prison with one maximum-security yard.  MCSP can house approximately 3,500 prisoners.  At the time of the Grand Jury’s visit, there were approximately 3,200 inmates and 970 employees.  The annual budget for the prison is approximately $65 million. 

Population Characteristics:



Commitment Offence

Age Group

White                                  38.9%

Violent Crimes                       7.3%

Under 18                              0.2%

Black                                   29.8%

Property Crimes                   19.7%

18-30                                 30.6%

Hispanic                              23.5%

Drugs                                   17.8%

30-50                                 60.0%

Other                                     7.8%

Other                                      5.2%

Over 50                                8.2%




Life without Parole:                    75

Life sentence:                            945

Oldest:                               late 70s

A triple fence surrounds the prison; the middle fence is lethally electrified and connected to a back-up generator.  Nine guard towers are placed around the perimeter of the prison, two of which are staffed on a regular basis: Tower 1 for pedestrian traffic (pedestrian sallyport) and Tower 7 for vehicle traffic (vehicle sallyport).  The other seven are staffed as needed, for example, for routine electric fence maintenance.  Correctional Officers who have direct contact with inmates within the prison do not carry firearms.  Gun coverage is available on each yard and building from elevated positions. 

There are three individual yards within the secured perimeter and a minimum support facility (MSF) outside the secured perimeter.  “A” Yard houses approximately 1000 Level 4 (the highest security) inmates, “B” and “C” Yards house approximately 1000 Level 3 inmates and 160 Level 2 inmates in converted gyms.  A standard housing unit holds 200 inmates in 100 cells.  The minimum support facility can house approximately 400 Level 1 (the lowest security) inmates.


Members of the Grand Jury conducted interviews, reviewed pertinent documents, and toured the site twice.  

Persons interviewed:

Documents examined:


1.       All inmates are required to work or go to school.  There are established procedures for placing inmates on waiting lists for work and/or school.

2.       There are more inmates than there are jobs or openings in school.

3.       There are numerous vocational programs, such as print shop, landscaping, small engine repair, electronic, auto repair, mill and cabinet, welding.  Prison Industry Authority, a state agency, operates a coffee roasting plant, meat cutting and processing plant, and laundry and clothing manufacturing.  The meat and coffee is sold to tax-supported agencies.  The clothing manufactured is for the inmates.

4.       During the Grand Jury’s first visit to the coffee plant, workers were not wearing protective glasses or earplugs as the warning signs, posted on the walls, stated. 

5.       On the Grand Jury’s next visit to the coffee plant workers were in compliance.

6.       The prison infirmary has 12 cells, including four crisis beds.  There is an extensive mental health program.

7.       On staff are medical doctors, dentists, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, and Medical Technical Assistants.  An optometrist and podiatrist are on contract as needed. 

8.       The infirmary provides basic and emergency medical services for the inmates.  Inmates needing other than the most basic surgery or severe or serious health care are transported to outside hospitals or other prisons where their needs can be met. 

9.       Each of the three yards has a chapel.  The minimum security facility has a multi-purpose room that can be used as a chapel.  A Protestant minister and a Catholic priest are on staff full time.  All other denominations are ministered to on a part-time basis.

10.   Inmates receive two hot meals and a sack lunch per day.  Menus are prepared by a dietician and vary from month to month.  Diabetic and some religion-dictated diets are available.

11.   There is an extensive inmate complaint process (CDC602).

12.   Complaints are acted upon promptly, and grievance forms are readily available.

13.   The firing range maintained at the prison has an elevated firing platform, since weapon usage is from the towers.  It is one of few such platforms maintained by the state, and is used by other law enforcement agencies.

14.   A citizen committee from the Ione area meets regularly with prison officials to exchange mutual concerns and information.

15.   Since the Grand Jury's first visit, a closed-circuit video system had been installed connected directly to the Amador County Courts.  This enables certain court proceedings to be held without transporting the inmates to and from court

16.   MCSP maintains a fully-staffed fire department consisting of Correctional Firefighters and inmate firefighters.  MCSP has a mutual-aid agreement with the local fire agencies.


1.       Effort is being made to meet the inmates’ physical and spiritual needs.


No recommendations.

Response Required

No response is required.