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Pennsylvania Inmate Search

Pennsylvania Inmate Search is a database maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) that allows anyone to search for information about individuals currently incarcerated or under the supervision of the state's correctional system.

The search tool provides transparency and information to the public and helps victims and their families stay informed about offenders' whereabouts.

When doing this search, you can typically find the following inmate information:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Location and release date
  • Their crime and sentence information
  • Inmate's status, such as whether they are in custody, on probation, or parole

Note that the Pennsylvania Inmate Search system may have restrictions, such as insufficient medical history, conduct while incarcerated, privacy concerns, and technical issues, such as the website being down or the database being temporarily inaccessible.

What Are Pennsylvania Inmate Records?

Pennsylvania Inmate Records are comprehensive papers holding the official information of individuals detained, booked, or incarcerated in prisons, correctional inmate facilities, or penal institutions operated by the State of Pennsylvania or any towns or counties.

Generally, these records have the following information:

  • Inmate booking number
  • Mugshot
  • Fingerprints
  • Evidence such as audio and video recordings
  • Police reports
  • Information about warrants
  • Trial records
  • Details of their crimes
  • Sentencing information

More specifically, it has the following information about the inmate:

  • Inmate's name, sex, date of birth, race, and physical description, including height, weight, eye and hair color, and any identifying markings
  • Place of confinement
  • Release date
  • Custody status

Requesters have access to inmate-specific information under Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law.

What Are Pennsylvania Prison and Jail Records?

Tens of thousands of individuals are incarcerated annually in Pennsylvania's state prisons and county jails.

The DOC oversees the management of various state prisons, which hold around 49,000 inmates. Additionally, it supervises roughly 19,000 parole and probation offenders.

On the other hand, the sheriff's office manages the county jails in Pennsylvania. It is also responsible for the confinement of pretrial detainees and those convicted for less than two years. Pennsylvania's county jails contain around 11,500 inmates.

Here are other statistical data you should learn from Pennsylvania Prison and Jail Records:

  • People under correctional control make up 0.38% of the population in Pennsylvania. Of these people, 180,492 are on probation, and 111,087 are on parole.
  • Among Pennsylvania's incarcerated population, males make up 94% compared to 6% for females.
  • In Pennsylvania, around 10,750 inmates are released each year, but the number entering prison increases by a factor of 1.1.
  • Between 1979 to 980 and 2012 to 2013, state and local governments in Pennsylvania spent 320% more on corrections, going from around $7.3M to $3.2B.

What Are the Types of Prisons and Jails in Pennsylvania?

The most important part of a successful Pennsylvania Inmate Search is knowing the state's complex correctional system. Here are the kinds of correctional facilities in Pennsylvania that you should know about:

Pennsylvania State Prisons

Pennsylvania state prisons are correctional facilities operated by the DOC that house inmates convicted of state crimes within the Commonwealth. These prisons are responsible for providing safe and secure housing for inmates while offering various programs and services to help prepare them for reentry into society.

These programs provide various educational opportunities, including adult primary education, GED preparation, and vocational training.

In most cases, Pennsylvania state prison inmates have committed murder, assault, robbery, drug, and property offenses.

As of 2023, there were 23 state prisons in Pennsylvania. Each facility accommodates distinct populations and includes units with varied degrees of confinement. Some are created exclusively for males, some for females, and others for those with mental illness.

Pennsylvania Federal Prisons

Pennsylvania federal prisons are correctional facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP). These prisons are used to incarcerate individuals convicted of federal crimes, such as drug trafficking, white-collar crime, and terrorism.

As of 2023, there are eight federal prisons in Pennsylvania. Here's a list of those facilities:

Please note that the number and names of federal prisons in Pennsylvania may change over time due to various factors, such as the FBOP opening or closing facilities.

Pennsylvania County Jails

Pennsylvania county jails are correctional facilities operated by the sheriff's offices.

These jails incarcerate individuals charged with a crime and await trial or sentencing, as well as those sentenced to a term of fewer than two years. The types of offenses committed by these individuals can vary widely, including misdemeanors, non-violent crimes, and some low-level felonies.

Typical offenses that can lead to incarceration in Pennsylvania county jails include drug offenses, property crimes, public order offenses, and some types of violent crimes, such as assault and domestic violence.

As of 2019, there were 73 jails in 67 counties of Pennsylvania, each with its county jail system. However, this number may have changed since then.

In Pennsylvania, some of these jails are larger and more modern than others, while some are smaller and older. Also, they often lack the same facilities and programming as state prisons. But some county jails provide basic education programs and drug addiction treatment.

Pennsylvania Juvenile Detention Centers

Pennsylvania juvenile detention centers are used to temporarily hold and provide care for youth awaiting court hearings or placement in long-term facilities.

These centers offer a safe and secure environment for juveniles charged with or convicted of a delinquent act. They provide various services, including education, mental health treatment, and counseling, to rehabilitate young offenders and prevent them from reoffending.

As of 2023, the Bureau of Juvenile Justice Services (BJJS) operates three centers in Pennsylvania, and these are the following:

How To Perform Inmate Search in Pennsylvania?

You can perform a free name-based Pennsylvania Inmate Search through the Inmate Locator tool of the DOC. The department updates this platform daily to reflect changes in the state's registration and the status of inmates.

If interested, you can also gather data about the state parolees with this system. It contains essential information such as the parolee's name, race, date of release, and county of residence.

Note that this tool is exclusive only to state-run prisons in Pennsylvania. Therefore, different methods apply when searching inmates in county jails, federal prisons, and juvenile detention centers.

It is relatively simple to locate an inmate in a Pennsylvania county jail. The local county sheriff's office operates and manages each county jail. Thus, to find a person in jail, you must call the appropriate sheriff's office that apprehended the inmate.

Furthermore, some agencies have websites with an inmate search function or a list of incarcerated individuals. You can download this file to start your Pennsylvania county jail inmate search.

Alternatively, you can track the whereabouts of incarcerated individuals using the Pennsylvania Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (PA SAVIN). This tool routinely updates information on the status of those detained in state prisons and county jails.

On the other hand, to search an inmate at a federal prison in Pennsylvania, you have to contact the FBOP or the facility itself. But you can start your Pennsylvania federal prison inmate search using the FBOP Inmate Tool.

Lastly, juvenile records in Pennsylvania are private until the offender reaches the age of 18. As a result, viewing inmate information from a juvenile detention center is challenging. However, family members, acquaintances, and other authorized individuals may call the BJJS or the facility itself for this matter.                              

How To Contact an Inmate in Pennsylvania?

There are several ways to contact an inmate in Pennsylvania, but the most common ones in state prisons are through call, mail, and email.

In Pennsylvania, inmates can make outgoing calls. The inmate must add you to their phone list, and you must create an account with Securus to receive a call.

Securus will charge you a fee for each call and per-minute pricing. You may be able to significantly lower your inmate phone expense by assigning a local number to your account.

Another way to contact inmates in Pennsylvania is through the mail. And there are no limits on how much mail inmates can send or receive. You can send the inmate letters, cards, photos, and official documents. On the DOC website, you can find the mailing addresses for sending these materials to the inmates.

Finally, most Pennsylvania state prisons offer an email system for inmates. This service allows friends and family members to send messages to the inmate through ViaPath Technologies.

Generally, contacting an inmate in a state prison is the same as in county jails and other Pennsylvania correctional facilities. Still, it is best to check the specific policies and procedures of the facility that housed the inmate, as rules and regulations may vary.

How To Visit an Inmate in Pennsylvania?

While the regulations for visiting inmates vary from facility to facility, you can generally follow these steps to see inmates in Pennsylvania:

  • Check the facility's visiting hours and policies on their website or by contacting them directly.
  • Obtain approval from the inmate and get added to their approved list of visitors.
  • Bring a valid photo ID to the visitation area and follow all facility rules and regulations.
  • Dress appropriately and comply with all security measures, including passing through metal detectors and inspecting your things.
  • Engage in appropriate behavior throughout the visit and avoid discussing restricted issues that might compromise the inmate's rehabilitation.

Most institutions grant one hour of visitation every visit. More extended visits are permitted depending on the available space and the inmate's custody level.

Furthermore, most facilities provide specialized play spaces and playrooms for children. However, the accompanying adult remains responsible for the child's welfare and care.

In addition, they permit visits at least four times a week between 8:30 AM. and 3:30 PM with a limit of five visitors per inmate. Most of the time, visitors must arrive at least 120 minutes before closing.

Notably, in state prison inmate visitation, visitors must plan all in-person visits online at least three days in advance.

Remember that visitation policies and procedures may vary between correctional facilities in Pennsylvania, so it's best to check with the specific institution that housed the inmate for more detailed information.

How To Send Money to an Inmate in Pennsylvania?

Once you have obtained the inmate information, such as their names, identification number, and current location through the Pennsylvania Inmate Search system, you can now send money to them using one of the following methods:

Kiosk Deposit

State citizens may put funds into an inmate's account using a lobby kiosk at any prison. Cash, credit cards, and debit cards are all acceptable means of payment for kiosk deposits.

Walk-in Deposit

You may also deposit funds into the account of a Pennsylvania inmate at any MoneyGram outlet, including CVS,  7-Eleven, and Walmart. You must enter the received code 3209.

Online Deposit

Through JPAY, you can also put funds into an inmate's account. JPAY charges a fee to transmit money and accepts debit and credit cards as payment methods.

Phone Deposit

Deposit cash into the account of your Pennsylvania inmate by dialing JPAY at 1-800-574-5729. You can finance the transaction using a debit or credit card for a fee proportional to the sent amount.

Mail Deposit

The least expensive means of delivering money to an inmate is through the mail, but it takes the longest for the inmate to get the money.

Print and accomplish a Money Order Deposit Slip and make it payable to "JPAY." Then, mail the deposit slip and the completed money order in an envelope to JPAY (follow the mailing address in the form).

The maximum amount that may be paid with a credit card is $300 per card, $999.99 for money orders, and $5,000 for in-person transactions.

Counties in Pennsylvania