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What Are Pennsylvania Inmate Records?

Pennsylvania inmate records are maintained by the state’s Department of Corrections and the sheriff’s offices across the state. Records managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) are for inmates held in state prisons while each county’s correctional department maintains records for inmates in the county jail. For example, the Philadelphia Prisons Department (PDP) manages the jails in the City of Philadelphia. Typically, the information found on Pennsylvania inmate records include:

  • Full names and nicknames of the inmate
  • Mugshot photo of the inmate
  • Date of birth, gender, and ethnicity of the inmate
  • The date of incarceration and the date of release
  • Crime history and previous penalties faced by the convict (if any)
  • Additional information about the conditions of incarceration
  • Location and address of incarceration facility
  • Impending court hearings or judgments
  • Cell number of the inmate

Under the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act, 65 Pa.C. S. §§ 701–716 and DOC open records policy, individuals are allowed to inspect or copy inmate records upon request, unless the record is exempted by law or court order. Sealed arrest records and juvenile records are examples of such excluded records from public access.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Find An Inmate In Pennsylvania?

Interested parties may find an inmate in any Pennsylvania state prison by using the Inmate/Parolee Locator on the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC) webpage. The database offers information on every inmate and parolee under the custody of the DOC. Information on this database is updated daily to ensure completeness and accuracy. Users may search the database with any of the following identifiers:

  • Full names (this includes first, middle, and last names of the convict)
  • The inmate or Parolee number
  • Date of birth
  • Committing County
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Location of the incarceration facility
  • Country of citizenship

The search result yields the inmates’ biographical data, incarceration information, and a mugshot. Ensure to fill in the search criteria appropriately for an accurate result.

When in search of an inmate held in a county or city jail, the requestor visit, call or mail the correctional agency operating such local jail to request information on an inmate. However, most of these agencies provide an inmate search tool on their websites or the county’s website. For example, residents may find inmates in Philadelphia via the Inmate Locator on the Philadelphia Prisons Department (PDP) website. Find here the list of county prisons and their administrators in Pennsylvania to facilitate your search. Generally, access to these inmate portals is free, and users are allowed to query the database by a number of criteria, including a name and ID.

How To Find A Federal Inmate In Pennsylvania?

There are 11 federal prisons in Pennsylvania, and interested persons may locate an inmate in these facilities via the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) website. All federal inmates who are currently serving sentences or detained in any federal facilities in the country are registered on this database. Users may apply the inmate locator on the website as follows:

  • By name: the full names of the inmate are required. Information about the ethnicity, gender, and date of birth of the inmate in question will improve the accuracy of results.
  • By number: A federal inmate is assigned a registration number for identification. This number may be generated from the Department of Corrections (DC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS), or the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

Note that information about inmates in custody before 1982 may not be available on the database. Records of such inmates are available with the National Archives Records Administration (NARA). Hence, inquirers should direct requests for information about these old inmates to NARA.

How Do I Find Inmate Records In Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) is the repository for inmate records in the state prisons. Inmates and authorized individuals may apply to obtain a certified copy of an inmate record. No inmate record request is fulfilled without the consent of the inmate named on the record. The agency processes requests for Pennsylvania inmate records based on the type. Common inmate records requests include:

  • General records; this record comprises communications to the department about an inmate’s conduct or complaints
  • Medical or dental health record; this record may be an all-encompassing medical report, or restricted to certain aspects
  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment Records
  • Mental health records; this includes information about treatment, hospital admissions, outpatient health care, etc. (Requests for this type of record expire after six months)

In line with the agency’s Release of Information Policy, inmates may apply for a copy of their own records by completing the DC–135A request form. The completed form is submitted to the appropriate officer or the Corrections Superintendent’s Assistant (CSA). An inmate is restricted from requesting information pertaining to another inmate.

A third-party is permitted to request Pennsylvania inmate records by submitting a written request. Where a third-party is requesting an official copy of an inmate record, the request must be accompanied by the DC–108 request form. The inmate who is the subject of the record in question must sign this form prior to submission. Such requests are submitted to the facility’s Release of Information Coordinator.

Note, a 25 cent per page fee applies to duplication of available inmate records. Additional charges may include $1 to certify a document per page, postage fee, and others demanding on the type of request.

For records of inmates held in county or city jails, the requestor may write or call the jail authority to request official copies of inmate records. For example, to obtain inmate records for persons in Allegheny County Jail, call the Jail’s Record Office at (412) 350–2635, and for persons in Philadelphia City Jail, contact the Office of Community Justice and Outreach at (215) 685–7288, –7711, or –8909.

How To Put Money On Jail Inmates Book In Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) allows family and friends to send money to their loved ones incarcerated in the state facilities. Each inmate has an account that can be funded directly or electronically. Direct funding refers to visiting the lobby kiosk of the facility and make a payment to the inmate’s account. The lobby kiosks are user friendly, and accept payments in cash, credit, or debit cards. Each transaction attracts a $2 service charge. Follow the prompts to put funds in an inmate’s account.

Alternatively, an individual can fund an inmate’s account electronically using the JPay services.JPay accepts all money order payments with service charges accruing only to the payer. Payers must fill out a deposit slip and submit along with the money. Deposit slips are available in English and Spanish, depending on the preference of the use. Ensure to fill out accurately the:

  • Inmate ID
  • Name
  • Sender’s name and contact information

The funds are deposited once daily into the inmate’s account during business days. The inmate is notified through a personal receipt once the transaction is completed.

DOC places a few restrictions on the total sum an inmate can receive within a period. Credit card payments can only fund a maximum of $300 in the space of 72 hours. The limit for money orders via JPay is set at $999.99. Cash or walk transactions using MoneyGram are limited to $5,000 per transaction. However, there are no limits to how much money is allowed in an inmate’s account at a time.

When sending funds to inmates in county or city jails across Pennsylvania, contact the jail authority to determine the appropriate means of deposit. Typically, these jails allow funding an inmate’s account by one or multiple means, including deposit at a kiosk in the jail lobby, money order by mail, or electronic wire. For example, Philadelphia jails allow electronic deposits via AdvancePay or Access Corrections, while Allegheny County Jail accepts deposits for inmate via all means.

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