State Correctional Institution – Chester

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State Correctional Institution - Chester
Seal of the Department of Corrections of Pennsylvania.svg
Location Chester, Pennsylvania
Security class Medium-Security
Capacity 1,178
Population 1,260 (as of June 30, 2015)
Opened April, 1998
Managed by Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

State Correctional Institution – Chester is a medium-security, all-male correctional facility in Chester, Pennsylvania.

History of SCI-Chester[edit]

SCI Chester, constructed as a 1,175 bed medium-security prison for inmates with a documented substance abuse history was constructed for nearly $74 million with an annual operating budget of $36 million. SCI Chester is an innovative facility which was designed to provide a continuum of substance abuse treatment services in the institution and continuing in the community at community corrections centers. This consortium approach uses the experience and expertise of public and private agencies in a broad based effort, which focuses on treatment of inmates without losing sight of our primary responsibility for public safety. Our Therapeutic Community (TC) current mission is to provide quality treatment to more than 1,000 offenders yearly utilizing the TC model.

SCI Chester is the 24th state correctional institution to open in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and is unique in its architectural structure and programmatic design. The housing units design - pods - was considered an ambitious move for correctional facilities during the 1980’s. In addition to its structure and program focus, it is the first tobacco free facility in the commonwealth.[1]

Facility Makeup[edit]

SCI Chester is 13.77 Acres in size,, with 9 Acres being inside the perimeter fence. There are a total of 10 buildings on campus, all but one is on the inside the fence. SCI Chester housing compliment contains 14 housing units, all containing cell-style housing.[1]

Facility Capacity and Dempgraphics[edit]

According to the most recent capacity report,[2] there is 1,260 inmates at SCI Chester, making the facility at 107% capacity, of its compliment of 1,018 beds, hence the facility is in excess capacity by 242. The average age of a inmate at SCI Chester is 38 and the prison employs 399 full-time staff.[1]

Inmate Supports[edit]

There are several Supports at SCI Chester, including:

Academic Programs[edit]

  • Basic Education Classes
  • Literacy/Basic Skills
  • Adult Basic Education
  • G.E.D. Classes
  • English as a Second Language (E.S.L.)
  • Inside-Out Program

Vocational Programs[edit]

The following vocational programs are offered to inmates at SCI Chester.

  • Barber School
  • Carpentry
  • HVAC Program (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning)

Counseling Services[edit]

  • Alternative to Violence
  • Sex Offenders Programming

Substance Abuse Treatment Programs[edit]

The treatment program at SCI Chester is a collaborative effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and Gaudenzia, Inc. This collaboration has been formed to rehabilitate inmates with a history of substance abuse. The treatment program is operated by Gaudenzia (a not-for-profit organization) which has been providing addiction and correctional treatment services to offenders in Pennsylvania for more than 30 years.

The treatment program utilizes several levels of care to accommodate the treatment needs of the inmates. The following levels of care are utilized:

Therapeutic Communities (TC’s)[edit]

Each TC housing unit houses approximately 64 inmates. There are currently six TC sites in operation:

  • Five General Population TC pods – four-month programming
  • One Hispanic TC pod (program signage and language conducted entirely in Spanish) – four-month programming

Ancillary Services[edit]

Gaudenzia provides ancillary groups to provide services to those inmates who have special needs. These programs include:

  • “Violence Prevention” (Moderate Intensity – four months and High Intensity – six months) and
  • “Batterers’ Intervention” – a specific therapy group for domestic violence-related offenders.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "SCI Chester Webpage". Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "DOC Capacity Report by Insititution" (PDF). Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°51′04″N 75°21′05″W / 39.85111°N 75.35139°W / 39.85111; -75.35139