Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

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Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
Agency overview
Preceding agency
  • Bureau of Correction
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionPennsylvania, USA
Map of USA PA.svg
Map of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections's jurisdiction
Size46,055 square miles (119,280 km2)
Population12,448,279 (2008 est.)[1]
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersHampden Township, Cumberland County
Agency executive
Pennsylvania DOC Website

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PADOC) is the Pennsylvania state agency that is responsible for the confinement, care and rehabilitation of approximately 37,000 inmates at state correctional facilities funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The agency has its headquarters in Hampden Township, Cumberland County in Greater Harrisburg, near Mechanicsburg. In October 2017, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a "memorandum of understanding" that allows the PADOC and the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole to share like resources and eliminate duplicative efforts. All parole supervision now falls under the jurisdiction of the PADOC; while parole release decisions remain under the jurisdiction of the PA Board of Probation and Parole. The two agencies remain separate. With the passage of the 2021-2022 Pennsylvania budget, this merger became official and permanent.[citation needed]

There are currently 23 state correctional institutions, one motivational boot camp, one central training academy, 14 community corrections centers, and the DOC contracts with approximately 40 contractors across the Commonwealth that provide transitional services. The DOC employs more than 16,000 individuals, and the PADOC's population report is available on its website at


Pennsylvania has a distinguished reputation in penology.[peacock prose] The commonwealth was the birthplace of the penitentiary concept, also known as the Pennsylvania System. Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 on what was then a cherry orchard outside of Philadelphia. It was considered at the time to be "the world's greatest penitentiary." Known to historians as "the first true penitentiary," Eastern State operated until 1970.

The Bureau of Correction was created by an act of Legislature in September 1953. The foundation was based on a report by Retired Army Major General Jacob L. Devers, and his special committee to investigate prison problems. The committee was convened shortly after riots at Pittsburgh and Rockview in early 1953. It was the committee's mission to recommend ways to improve the correctional system and reduce unrest. Up to this point the state's prisons fell under the Department of Welfare. Here they were governed by their own boards of trustees. The Devers Committee suggested the establishment of one agency, whose sole purpose was to manage the state prison system. Appointed by Gov. John S. Fine, Arthur T. Prasse was selected as the first commissioner of corrections, where he remained until 1970.

In 1980, the Bureau of Correction changed hands from the former Pennsylvania Department of Justice, to the newly created Office of General Counsel to the Governor. Constitutional changes resulted in an elected state attorney general and the disbanding of the Justice Department.[2]

In 1984, under Act 245, the Bureau of Correction was elevated to cabinet-level status, making it the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.[3]


The Department of Corrections maintains 25 institutions across the state as well as the Community Corrections Center, where offenders prepare for re-entry into the community.

The facilities are classified into 4 security levels: Minimum, Medium, Close, and finally Maximum.

Adult male institutions[edit]

Adult female institutions[edit]

Co-ed boot camp[edit]

Death row[edit]

Pennsylvania's last execution was carried out in July 1999.

The execution complex for Pennsylvania is on the grounds of the State Correctional Institution – Rockview. Most male death row inmates are housed at the State Correctional Institution – Greene,[4] while some are housed at the State Correctional Institution – Phoenix.[5] While there are no female capital case inmates at this time, any female death row inmates would be housed at the State Correctional Institution – Muncy.[6] Prior to its closure, State Correctional Institution – Graterford housed male death row inmates.[4]


The agency has its headquarters in Hampden Township, Cumberland County in Greater Harrisburg, near Mechanicsburg.[7][8] The headquarters are located along Technology Parkway in proximity to a residential area.[9]

The agency previously had its headquarters on the grounds of SCI Camp Hill in Lower Allen Township, near Camp Hill, also in Greater Harrisburg.[10][11] In 2010 the former headquarters were crowded with employees. Construction on the new headquarters started around 2010.[9]

Training academy[edit]

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Training Academy serves as a training area for prison employees working for the state and county.[12] It is located in Mount Joy Township, Lancaster County,[13][14] near Elizabethtown and 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Harrisburg. The academy includes nine buildings on 265 acres (107 ha) of land.[12]

The facility was originally the State Hospital for Crippled Children, which opened in 1930. In 1991 the corrections department acquired the facility.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
  2. ^ "Pennsylvania Department of Corrections". Department of Corrections.
  3. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Corrections history page accessed Aug. 28, 2008
  4. ^ a b Murphy, Jan. "Q&A on the death penalty in Pa.: How does someone get put to death, more " (Archive). January 5, 2015. Retrieved on February 1, 2016.
  5. ^ "Persons Sentenced to Execution in Pennsylvania as of August 1, 2018." Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Retrieved on September 26, 2018.
  6. ^ "Craigslist killer Miranda Barbour is one of 170 lifers at Muncy state prison" (Archive) October 30, 2014. Retrieved on February 14, 2016.
  7. ^ "Contact Us." Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Retrieved on October 5, 2012. "Central Office: 1920 Technology Parkway, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050"
  8. ^ "Street Map." (Archive) Hampden Township. Retrieved on October 5, 2012.
  9. ^ a b Gibson, Elizabeth. "New Hampden facility will hold Correction Department offices, not prison." The Patriot-News. Friday February 19, 2010. Retrieved on October 5, 2012.
  10. ^ "Welcome to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections." Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Retrieved on December 7, 2009. "2520 Lisburn Road, P.O. Box 598, Camp Hill, PA 17001-0598 (717) 975-4859 (Note: This address is for the Department of Corrections' Central Office)."
  11. ^ "Lower Allen township, Pennsylvania Archived 2012-10-14 at" U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on December 7, 2009.
  12. ^ a b c "Performance Audit Training Academy at Elizabethtown July 1, 2005, to July 11, 2008." (Archive) Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. p. 3. Retrieved on October 5, 2012.
  13. ^ "Zoning Map Archived 2013-11-10 at the Wayback Machine." (Archive) Mount Joy Township. Retrieved on October 5, 2012.
  14. ^ "Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Training Academy." Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Retrieved on October 5, 2012.

External links[edit]