Skip to main content

Home  >  Families & Visitors  >  FAQ

News & Media

FAQ about Families & Visitors
Family Support Inmate Classification and Transfers Wisconsin Correctional Center System (WCCS)

Family Support

How do I locate an inmate?
Inmate Locator

How do I talk to an inmate via telephone?
Inmates may only place outgoing collect calls to family and friends and cannot receive incoming calls to their facility.  CenturyLink is the contracted provider for this service. For questions CenturyLink can be contacted at 1-877-870-3259. In order to receive calls from an inmate, a billing account needs to be established unless your local telephone provider will bill collect calls.Securus Correctional Billing Services (SCBS) establishes pre-paid billing accounts. You may call SCBS at 1-800-844-6591 or visit their website at  to set up an account.  Inmates are not authorized to open an account.  Inmates may also send money to an account through SCBS.  In order to do so, inmate must have the name of the person the account has been established for, the telephone number as well as the account number of the account.  Without this information, money cannot be applied to the account.  Once you have created and funded your account, please allow up to 24 hours to receive calls. You must have a touch-tone phone that emits a tone when the buttons are pressed.  Using cellphones, smart phones and/or pre-paid phones is not recommended.  For additional information refer to the Securus brochure at Securus Telephone Guide (English).

How do I send an inmate mail?
Each institution has different rules and procedures for sending an inmate mail. Contact the specific institution for more information.

How do I send an inmate money?
Each institution uses a different address for receiving inmate funds, which can be found on the specific facility’s page under the Sending Money, Mail & Property link.  Money orders and cashier’s checks are the only types of funds allowed to be sent to inmates; no cash or personal checks will be allowed. 

You may transfer funds via Western Union, by visiting a branch location or by accessing their website:

For more information, please refer to these documents:
Western Union Instructions

Western Union Pamphlet

How do I visit an inmate at the prison?
Each institution has different rules and procedures for visiting an inmate. Contact the specific institution or review the visiting policy located on the specific institution's page.

How do I order hobby and/or personal property items for an inmate?
The following vendors have been approved as sources for inmate hobby and property purchases. Inmate family and friends may purchase items from these vendors using DOC specific catalogs.

    Hobby and Property Orders:

J.L. Marcus   
    Property Orders:

    Hobby Orders:

Union Supply Company
    Hobby and Property Orders:

How do I find resources for an inmate who is Native American?

Information regarding Native American resources can be found in the Native American Handbook.

How do I find out more information on programs and services available to inmates?
Information on Division of Adult Institutions programs can be found in the
Opportunities and Options Resource Guide - English
Opportunities and Options Resource Guide - Spanish

Inmate Classification and Transfers

When will an inmate transfer from one WI facility to another?
Once a decision is made to transfer an inmate, they are placed on a waiting list. Transfers are scheduled based upon facility bed availability, transportation schedules and the date placed on the transfer list. Transfers may be expedited by the bureau based upon security, medical or clinical need.

Can an inmate be transferred to facilitate visits?
While the importance of community contacts through visits are recognized, transfers for this reason are secondary to custody, program priorities and overall bed management requirements of the prison system.

How is an inmate’s request to transfer to another state or country correctional system while serving a Wisconsin sentence decided?
An inmate’s request to transfer another agency is restricted by U.S. Treaty, statute or Interstate Corrections Compact requirements. The operational needs of the participating agencies relative to incarcerating the inmate are a primary consideration when evaluating inmate requests. These transfers must be mutually agreed upon by the participating agencies.

What is the difference between a parole and classification action?
The parole commission is responsible for the review and earned release of eligible inmates to the community. The Governor appoints the Commission's chairperson with the advice and consent of the Senate for a two-year term. The Parole Commission is attached to the DOC for administrative purposes, but it implements its statutory responsibilities independently. The Bureau of Offender Classification and Movement (BOCM) is responsible for the secure placement and transition of inmates in DOC's prison facilities. BOCM is administered by the DOC. These separate and independent processes work cooperatively, yet maintain distinct decision authority in implementing their individual missions.

If I have questions about a specific inmate’s classification or transfer, who do I contact?
All inmates are assigned a facility social worker that is familiar with the inmates on their caseload and is able to answer most questions about an inmate’s case. Technical questions regarding specific classification procedures should be addressed to the BOCM offender classification specialist at the facility where the inmate is located.

Wisconsin Correctional Center System (WCCS)

What are correctional centers like?
Each of the correctional centers is unique because of its historic development and geographic location. The correctional centers are similar in that each is small in size (58 to 282 inmates) and are operationally self-contained. Inmates are housed in single, double, or multiple occupant rooms. The inmates have general access to the facility's building and the grounds during designated hours of the day. Some of the correctional centers serve a specific program or population need; such as drug and alcohol treatment, education or boot camp type programming. Others have a primary focus of work experience and work crew participation.

What types of inmates are housed in correctional centers?
All inmates housed in correctional centers are convicted felons who are under the care and custody of DOC. All inmates are classified minimum security based upon criteria which includes factors; offense and sentence structure, prison adjustment, risk of escape and/or outstanding warrants or detainers. Felony probationers/parolees are sometimes placed in the centers as an alternative to revocation when there have been violations of community supervision.

What is the purpose of correctional centers?
The inmates begin the transition process back to society while at the correctional centers. Inmates living at the centers continue in treatment and/or education, performing restorative justice through community service as part of a community work crew, earning money on community work release, and establishing appropriate residence release plans. Inmates are offered the opportunity of increased responsibility and begin making decisions for themselves while in the correctional centers.

How is inmate programming in correctional centers different from other institutions?
Programming at the correctional centers is directed toward release and living in the community. Some inmates have work responsibilities to maintain the correctional center. Many inmates are placed on supervised community work crews while others earn the privilege of a work release placement. All inmates on work release pay income taxes, pay room, board and transportation, child support and restitution owed to victims. It also provides them with the opportunity to save money for release. Correctional centers continue inmate treatment programming, education, religious opportunities, family reintegration and leisure activities.

How are correctional centers staffed?
All centers have an on-site superintendent, assistant superintendent(s), social worker(s), program assistant(s), and correctional officers, and most have a maintenance mechanic and food production workers. Some correctional centers with specific program missions also have a program supervisor(s), work release coordinator and teacher(s).