Pleasant Valley State Prison

Coordinates: 36°07′54″N 120°14′56″W / 36.1316°N 120.2490°W / 36.1316; -120.2490
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Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP)
Pleasant Valley State Prison aerial view
LocationCoalinga, California
Coordinates36°07′54″N 120°14′56″W / 36.1316°N 120.2490°W / 36.1316; -120.2490
Security classMinimum to maximum
Population2,562 (111.0% capacity) (as of January 31, 2023[1])
OpenedNovember 1994
Managed byCalifornia Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
WardenSteve Smith

Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) is a 640-acre (260 ha) minimum-to-maximum security state prison in Coalinga, Fresno County, California. The facility has housed convicted murderers Sirhan Sirhan, Erik Menéndez, X-Raided, Paul Flores and Hans Reiser, among others.


Location of Coalinga in Fresno County, and location of Fresno County in California

The prison opened in November 1994. On July 17, 2000, PVSP activated two substance abuse programs involving community services for inmates who have a history of substance abuse. PVSP converted one of its general population yards into a sensitive needs yard (SNY) in November 2002, and now houses approximately 900 SNY inmates on D Facility. Then in May 2004 converted A Facility to a sensitive needs yard and houses 1000 inmates on A Facility.[2]

As of July 31, 2022, PVSP was incarcerating people at 116.4% of its design capacity, with 2,688.[3]

In 2005–2006, PVSP and Avenal State Prison (ASP) were particularly affected by Valley fever, with 150 new cases from PVSP and 30 from ASP in 2005 and 514 at PVSP and 91 at ASP in 2006.[4][5] In 2007 Valley fever had killed at least four PVSP inmates and one staff member over the previous two years.[6]


  • Prison Industry Authority (PIA): None
  • Vocational: Air conditioning and refrigeration, auto body, auto detail, auto mechanics, auto paint, building maintenance, carpentry, computer repair, consumer electronics, dry cleaning, drywall, electrical work, janitorial, landscape and gardening, machine shop, masonry, mill and cabinetry, office services, small engine repair, plumbing, welding.
  • Academic: Adult Basic Education, High School/GED, Pre-Release, English as a Second Language, Literacy Program.
  • Other: Community Service Crews, Religious, Arts-in-Corrections, Computers for Schools.

Notable current and former inmates[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: Monthly Report of Population As of Midnight January 31, 2023" (PDF). California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Internal Oversight and Research. January 31, 2023. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  2. ^ Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) (2009). "Mission Statement". California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Archived from the original on August 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  3. ^ "California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: Monthly Report of Population As of Midnight July 31, 2022" (PDF). California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Internal Oversight and Research. July 31, 2022. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 5, 2022. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  4. ^ Pappagianis, Demosthenes; Coccidioidomycosis Serology Laboratory (2007). "Coccidioidomycosis in California State Correctional Institutions". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1111 (1): 103–111. Bibcode:2007NYASA1111..103P. doi:10.1196/annals.1406.011. PMID 17332089. S2CID 29147634.
  5. ^ Furillo, Andy (16 August 2007). "Prison report cites valley fever risks. Construction may release spores that cause disease, increasing inmates' cases". The Sacramento Bee. p. A1. Archived from the original on May 24, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  6. ^ Furillo, Andy (9 September 2007). "Disease clouds a prison's future. A deadly outbreak of valley fever is sparking doubts about expanding the Pleasant Valley lockup in Fresno County". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on September 12, 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  7. ^ "Address Change". Archived from the original on 2012-03-17.
  8. ^ "Tree-Trimmer Charged In California Throat-Slashing Serial Killings". Oxygen. May 13, 2021. Retrieved August 29, 2022.
  9. ^ "CDCR Public Inmate Locator Disclaimer".
  10. ^ "Inmate pleads not guilty to attack on Kristin Smart's killer at Coalinga prison". ABC30 Fresno. January 9, 2024.
  11. ^ "Anna Nicole Smith's ex Mark Hatten shot dead". NewYorkDailyNews, May 7, 2020.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]