State Correctional Institution – Chester
|Population||1,260 (as of June 30, 2015)|
|Managed by||Pennsylvania Department of Corrections|
History of SCI-Chester
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 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 1980s. In addition to its structure and program focus, it is the first tobacco free facility in the commonwealth.
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 complement contains 14 housing units, all containing cell-style housing.
Facility Capacity and Demographics
According to the most recent capacity report, there are 1,259 inmates at SCI Chester, making the facility at 107% capacity, of its complement of 1,018 beds, hence the facility is in excess capacity by 242. The average age of an inmate at SCI Chester is 38 and the prison employs 399 full-time staff.
There are several Supports at SCI Chester, including:
- Basic Education Classes
- Literacy/Basic Skills
- Adult Basic Education
- G.E.D. Classes
- English as a Second Language (E.S.L.)
- Inside-Out Program
The following vocational programs are offered to inmates at SCI Chester.
- Barber School
- HVAC Program (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning)
- Alternative to Violence
- Sex Offenders Programming
Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
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)
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
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.