Chowchilla Prisons

The small Central Valley town of Cowchilla is home to two state prisons: Central California Women's Facility (CCWF), the largest female-only correctional facility in the U.S., housing over 3,100 inmates as of 2015 (design capacity 2,004); and the neighboring Valley State Prison (VSP), an all male, Level II, General Population facility with an inmate population of 3,158 as of 2015 (design capacity 1,980). (Curiously when it first opened in 1995, Valley State Prison was an all female institution known as Valley State Prison for Women, but by 2011, the female offender population had declined to such a degree that a decision was made to convert the prison to an all male facility. The conversion was completed in 2013, and subsequently the name was changed to Valley State Prison.)