Department of State Hospitals (DSH) - Salinas Valley: Home


In 1999, the Department of Mental Health and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) initiated the joint planning of a Mental Health Treatment Hospital within of CDCR’s existing prisons. Because of CDCR’s growing Mental Health treatment needs, it was determined to place a mental health hospital within a level IV prison.

DSH - Salinas Valley is the result of this planning effort. The original 64-bed facility was located within Salinas Valley State Prison, and is an expansion of DSH - Salinas Valley's Correctional Treatment Center. It is modeled after existing program at DSH - Atascadero and the DSH - Vacaville. It conforms to the California Code of Regulations Title 22 CTC and Title 24 licensing requirements.

Opening in 2003, the DSH - Salinas Valley Intermediate Treatment Program is committed to the pursuit of quality in providing assessment and treatment services to the mentally ill inmates in CDCR. We believe that the effective and timely provision of treatment services benefits the individual patient, the individuals who associate with the patient and society in general.

Now, DSH - Salinas Valley is a 370-bed inpatient intermediate care program that provides mental health services 24 hours per day to adult male correctional inmates who suffer from a major mental illness that has diminished their ability to function within a treatment planning and decision-making setting. Continuous program evaluation is maintained to measure program efficiency.


The hospital currently operates about 179 beds for two primary commitment categories of patients.

Mentally Ill Prisoners transferred from CDCR (PC 2684)

These inmate-patients suffer from a major mental illness that has diminished their ability to function within a prison environment.  The goal of treatment is to restore the patient to such a level as to allow the patient to function within the correctional setting again.

Incompetent to Stand Trial (PC 1370)

Felony defendants found incompetent by a court are placed in a state hospital where the focus of treatment is to help them regain trial competency and return them to court so they may be adjudicated on their pending charges. Those patients who are unable to be restored to competency within a three (3) year time period are returned to the court to determine future status and may be recommitted civilly pursuant to WIC 5008, as a Murphy Conservatee.

Patient Commitments


Percentage of
Total at Facility

Incompetent to Stand Trial



Mentally Disordered Offender




Approximately 408 employees work at DSH-Salinas Valley providing around-the-clock care, including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, rehabilitation therapists, psychiatric technicians, registered nurses, and other clinical and administrative staff.


The hospital provides mental health services to inmates from California prisons under provisions of PC 2684. Criteria for admission to DSH-Salinas Valley under this program includes an active Axis I major mental disorder. The focus of treatment is to stabilize symptoms so that the inmate/patient can function successfully in prison.


About 80 employees of DSH-Salinas Valley live in Salinas. The rest reside within a 70 mile radius.