How Many Prisons/Prisoners Are There in Pennsylvania? Top Ten Worst Prisons (2024)

Check out the top ten worst prisons in Pennsylvania, which is sixth in the United States in terms of inmate population.

4 Easiest Steps to Visit a Prisoners in the U.S (Federal and State Prisons)
How Inmates Make Phone Calls In Prisons
How Many Prisons/Prisoners Are There in Pennsylvania? Top Ten Worst Prisons (3)
How Many Prisons/Prisoners Are There in Pennsylvania? Top Ten Worst Prisons

How Many Prisons Are In Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has 73 jails throughout 67 counties. The jail population in 2020 was 31,790.

Unlike other US states, Pennsylvania's jail system is well-managed and funded. This is due to a variety of factors, including providing convicts' access to education, maintaining prisons, keeping prisons reasonable in size, and training PADOC officers to handle criminals professionally.

How Many Federal Prisons Are in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has 10 standalone federal prisons and five federal prison camps. The Northeast Regional Office oversees each of Pennsylvania's federal prisons. In total, 8,578 convicts are confined in federal prisons throughout Pennsylvania.

How many female state prisons exist in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has three female state prisons: Muncy State Correctional Institution, SCI Cambridge Springs, and SCI Laurel Highlands.

Is there overpopulation in Pennsylvania's prisons?

As of November 14, 2023, Pennsylvania's prisons were at 88.7% capacity. This suggests that there are more persons than beds available. Overcrowding can cause a variety of issues, including increased violence, limited access to healthcare and educational activities, and a higher chance of COVID-19 transmission.

How Many Prisoners Are In Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania correctional authorities had jurisdiction over 39,357 convicts, who were housed in 24 state prisons as well as private prisons and county jails. The budget for state-operated institutions was $2,746,680,000, with a staff of 15,000 people.

Pennsylvania has an incarceration rate of 659 per 100,000 people (including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice institutions), which means that it imprisons a greater proportion of its citizens than almost any other democratic country on the planet.

Furthermore, the number of people affected by county and city jails in Pennsylvania is significant. Every year, at least 170,000 people are booked into municipal jails in Pennsylvania.

READ MORE: Top 10 US States With The Most Prisoners

Does Pennsylvania have privatized prisons?

Yes, Pennsylvania has privatized prisons. Pennsylvania operates two private prisons: Cambria County Correctional Facility and Pike County Correctional Facility.


Pennsylvania authorizes parole officials to restrict whom their clients can be near, including loved ones who are trying to help them.

• Pennsylvania's parole board has released 46% fewer people and held 34% fewer hearings since the pandemic began.

• Pennsylvania's decision to punish "failure to appear" may harm public safety.

• The cost of incarcerating older individuals is quite high, and their chances of reincarceration are extremely low, yet 15% of people in Pennsylvania prisons are above the age of 55. Why is the state locking up so many older people?

• Prisons in northeastern states, such as Pennsylvania, have had the highest number of deaths during heatwaves.

• Data from Philadelphia and other jurisdictions reveals: Releasing people pretrial does not endanger public safety.

• In Pennsylvania, incarcerated journalists face difficulties, if not danger, when telling their experiences.

The Last Meal of 15 Notorious Death Row Inmates in The World

Top Ten Worst Prisons In Pennsylvania

What worsens the conditions in Pennsylvania prisons?

There are various factors that contribute to the worsening of jail conditions in Pennsylvania. This includes:

Lack of access to education and other rehabilitation programs that prepare offenders to play an active role in society after they are released.

Prisoners' housing circ*mstances are maintained, and they do not suffer from a lack of access to clean water, coolers or heaters in the cold, or food.

Guards employ undue force against inmates.

Preventing gang formation in prisons. Prisons are facilities where all convicts are housed together for collective punishment and rehabilitation. This also allows them to form a team and specifically target minority members or guards.

1. SCI Graterford

Located in Skippack Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, SCI Graterford is a big prison that established in 1929. It was given the name "SCI Graterford." It was a fearsome jail, with towering walls and armed guards. SCI-Graterford, one of Pennsylvania's largest prisons, holds about 2,500 adult male inmates. Its population included several people who had been sentenced to death. However, the closure of SCI-Graterford in 2018 marked the end of a long era defined by the prison's reputation for severe brutality and strict security. While some saw it as a place of punishment, others saw it as a place where inmates might try to improve their lives.

READ MORE: Top 10 Cushiest Federal Prisons In The US

2. SCI Mercer

It is a minimum-security prison located in Findlay Township, Pennsylvania, within Mercer County. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections operates it, which houses adult male criminals. The facility can house 1,087 offenders.

SCI Mercer was founded as a State Regional Correctional Facility (SRCF) in 1978. Furthermore, was meant to house male county criminals from 14 counties in Northwestern Pennsylvania for a short time. However, the facility's purpose evolved in 1986, when it began housing adult male prisoners from all around the state.

3. SCI Pine Grove

State Correctional Institution - Pine Grove (SCI-Pine Grove) is a medium-security state prison in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, housing adult male offenders. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) is in charge of managing it. The jail, which can house 1,196 convicts, opened in January 2001.

Some of the many convicts at SCI-Pine Grove are serving life sentences with no hope of parole. In addition, the jail's Young Adult Offender Program (YAOP) provides rigorous rehabilitation and education to prisoners aged 15 to 20.

4. SCI Fayette (State Correctional Institution)

Fayette is one of the worst prisons in Pennsylvania, and due to frequent prison fights, it is at the top of our list.

The jail is maximum security and has a capacity of 2,000 beds. While the jail has been recognized for producing Pennsylvania license plates since 2003, it is also known for gangs of prisoners battling with other groups or guards, resulting in numerous deaths in just over a decade.

5. SCI Coal Township

The third facility on our list is State Correctional Institute Coal Township. The was opened in 1993 and has a capacity of 2,153 people. Coal Township has historically been a stable prison, although this is changing rapidly after 2020.

The biggest issue at the jail is a high rate of sexual victimization, with 3.9% of inmates reporting being sexually assaulted. Furthermore, the number of inmate suicides is on the rise as a result of poor hygiene and a broken system.

These issues are exacerbated by congestion following the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic and may increase in the coming days.

Top 10 US States With The Most Prisoners

6. SCI Rockview

State Correctional Institution. Rockview, often known as SCI Rockview, is a medium-security prison. It opened in 1912 and is one of Pennsylvania's oldest. The jail rose to prominence after the 1978 film "On the Yard," which was entirely shot on its grounds and featured prisoners as extras.

Overall, the prison has been one of the most professional and healthiest in Pennsylvania; yet, because it is only a few miles from downtown, prisoners have felt more compelled to escape, and escapes became particularly regular in the 1990s.

7. SCI Dallas

Dallas is a prison in Dallas, Pennsylvania that houses 1,200 convicts. The Pennsylvania facility Society recently discovered that the facility need additional hygiene, light, and air. Originally intended for troublesome kids, it was changed into an adult facility in 1966 after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared that the former approach was unlawful.

SCI Dallas has had long-standing challenges. Many people died and several more were injured in a major conflict in 1978. In 1996, a judge stated that the jail was overcrowded and that it was illegal to keep certain offenders alone.

8. SCI Huntingdon

SCI Huntingdon, located in the Pennsylvania mountains, is a male adult maximum-security prison with a long history dating back to its inception in 1889. It started as a reformatory for young criminals, then became a sanctuary for "defective delinquents" until 1960, and finally housed inmates in capital cases until 1995. Today, it provides a wide range of programming and educational opportunities within its walls, pulsing with rehabilitative energy. Emotions from the past reverberate in a symphony of resilience and optimism. Every prisoner has a unique tale, and reformative initiatives bring them comfort. SCI Huntingdon is a furnace of salvation that fosters growth and purpose, not just a repository of lives. The institution is a testament to human persistence and the hunt for second chances as twilight falls over the Allegheny Mountains.

Top 10 Most Violent And Deadliest Prisons In The World

9. SCI Forest

The State Correctional Institute is the last option on our list. Forest is a 21st-century high security prison with a capacity of 2,309 inmates. It opened in 2004 to help alleviate the overpopulation at SCI Pittsburgh and SCI Waynesburg.

The jail has fairly adequate facilities for holding convicts convicted of major offenses. However, this does not imply that the prison provides an ideal environment for offenders. For starters, guards are accused of using excessive force on convicts, and gangs within the jail are frequently led by some of the most known offenders.

10. SCI Waymart

The Waymart State Correctional Institution (SCI Waymart) was a medium-security institution in Waymart, Pennsylvania. It was notorious for having many liberated people return to it despite having a capacity of over 1,400 inmates. More than 65% of those released from SCI Waymart in 2021 returned to prison within three years.

When SCI Waymart was established in 1931, its primary purpose was to assist adolescent felons in getting back on track. However, it began to admit more violent criminals in the 1970s. As a result, there were more inmates than staff personnel in the facility. As a result, additional personnel were required, and SCI Waymart became overcrowded.


In this post, we learnt about the worst jails in the state, as well as the number of convicts. According to a new survey, the incidence of suicides in Pennsylvania prisons is once again on the rise after nearly two decades.

How Many Prisons/Prisoners Are There In Georgia - The Most Deadly Prisons

How many prisons and prisoners are there in Georgia? What are the most dangerous prisons in this state?

4 Easiest Steps to Visit a Prisoners in the U.S (Federal and State Prisons)

Visiting a loved one in a federal or state prison in the US has become progressively easier. Nevertheless, lacking a clear comprehension of the regulations ...

Top 15 Most Popular Prison TV Series On Netflix

Which prison movie do you love the most on Netflix? Check out if your favorite ones are in the list or not.

How Many Prisons/Prisoners Are There in Pennsylvania? Top Ten Worst Prisons (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Zonia Mosciski DO

Last Updated:

Views: 5755

Rating: 4 / 5 (71 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Zonia Mosciski DO

Birthday: 1996-05-16

Address: Suite 228 919 Deana Ford, Lake Meridithberg, NE 60017-4257

Phone: +2613987384138

Job: Chief Retail Officer

Hobby: Tai chi, Dowsing, Poi, Letterboxing, Watching movies, Video gaming, Singing

Introduction: My name is Zonia Mosciski DO, I am a enchanting, joyous, lovely, successful, hilarious, tender, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.