What can I do if I don’t get my gate money?

Your parole officer should give you gate money at your release. If, however, your officer does not have the money or does not know where to send it, you should file an administrative appeal (CDCR Form 602 and CDCR Form 22) and start the grievance process. We recommend keeping copies and dates of any appeals or grievance forms you submit.[373] If you are in special proceedings — like MDO (mentally disordered offender) or SVP (sexually violent predator) hearings — getting gate money may be more complicated. If that is the case, you can call Root & Rebound’s Reentry Legal Hotline at 510-279-4662 (Fridays, 9 am – 5 pm PST) for assistance. You may have to file an administrataive appeal (learn how on PG. 178.); or you could ask your public defender or defense attorney to file a motion on your behalf with the court to recover your gate money.


There are 2 types of emergency funds[374] that you can request through your parole agent: (1) cash assistance loans (also called “financial assistance funds”)[375] and (2) funds for services (also called “bank drafts”).[376] Unfortunately, since budgets are tight, these funds are extremely limited.

These funds are discretionary. This means that your parole agent and his or her supervisor decide whether to give you a cash assistance loan or funds for services. Their decision will depend on the following factors:

    Whether there is money available;[377]
    The circumstances, including your history and needs;[378] AND
    Whether you are a citizen (as there are legal limits on the financial assistance that California State Parole can provide to certain parolees who are not U.S. citizens).[379]

(1) FIRST TYPE OF EMERGENCY FUND: Cash Assistance Loans:

Cash assistance loans (a.k.a. “financial assistance funds”) are loans that you may request from your parole agent. CDCR expects you to pay back these loans as soon as possible (for example, once employment or other financial circumstances allow you to do so). These loans are only granted when there is a critical need and assistance is not available from any other source.[380] The loans are usually for amounts under $50. The parole agent’s supervisor must approve any loan over $50 or any series of loans totaling more than $150 in a 30-day period.[381]


Your parole agent is also authorized to distribute funds for services (a.k.a. “bank drafts”), including for housing, food, and clothing. Your parole agent may authorize a loan of up to $500 for you to make over-the-counter purchases. The check may be written either directly to you or to the vendor who is selling the item you are purchasing. Once again, the loans are granted on an emergency basis, and you must pay the money back as soon as you can.[382]

  1. 373

    Communications with Heather MacKay.

  2. 374

    The rules for these funds are in 15 Cal. Code Regs. § 3605 and DOM § 81070.1 et seq.

  3. 375

    15 Cal. Code Regs. § 3605; DOM § 81070.1 et seq. (outlining Parole’s cash assistance loan procedures).

  4. 376

    See 15 Cal. Code Regs. § 3605.

  5. 377

    Cal. Penal Code § 2713.1; see also Prison Law Office, The Parolee Rights Manual at 22, http://www.prisonlaw.com/pdfs/ParoleeManual,Aug2013.pdf (updated Aug. 2013).

  6. 378

    See DOM § 81070.1 (“A determination of how much money is needed is a matter of judgment, and circumstances will generally differ from case to case.”).

  7. 379

    15 Cal. Code Regs. § 3630 (“Pursuant to Section 411 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, (PRWORA) (8 U.S.C. Section 1621), and notwithstanding any other provision of Title 15, Division 3 of the California Code of Regulations, aliens who are not “qualified aliens” or “nonimmigrant aliens,” as defined by federal law, or who are paroled into the United States for less than one year, are ineligible to receive or participate in the following parole services: (1) Food coupons, 
(2) Bus passes, (3) Job placement services, 
(4) Short-term cash assistance.”)

  8. 380

    15 Cal. Code Regs. § 3605; DOM § 81070.1.

  9. 381

    DOM § 81070.1 et seq.

  10. 382

    DOM § 81070.2; DOM § 81070.7; see also Prison Law Office, The Parolee Rights Manual at 23, http://www.prisonlaw.com/pdfs/ParoleeManual,Aug2013.pdf (updated Aug. 2013).