SCI Chester

The State Correctional Institution at Chester is a 1,175 bed medium-security prison for inmates in Pennsylvania with a documented substance abuse history. It 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.  

The current mission of the Therapeutic Community (TC) 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.

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SCI Chester

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting Days/Times at SCI Chester:

CLOSED the first Thursday of every month
Monday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday: 2:30 to 8:30 pm
Tuesday | Wednesday: CLOSED

MAX Number of Visitors per Inmate: 4 adults | 4 children
Vending Machines: Vending Card (available for purchase in the lobby)

Visiting Rules

  • Vehicles must be locked while on prison property. Windows must be rolled up/closed.
  • NEVER bring any gifts or money for the inmate. This must be done through JPay. Prisons will NOT accept money to be placed on an inmate’s account.
  • Cell phones and/or pagers are not permitted inside the SCIs.
  • Any kind of device that has the capability of audio and/or video/photography recording and/or cell phone capabilities is NOT permitted. 
  • No purses, bags, diaper bags, etc.
  • Unused visits per week may not be carried over into the following week. It’s a, “use them or lose them,” rule.
  • At most facilities, lockers are available for use. Some lockers may require a deposit ranging from 25 cents to $10. Items not permitted in the visiting room should either be left in your vehicle or placed in the locker. All vehicles and lockers are subject to search.

Video Visitation

Video visitation is a free service offered to inmates at SCI Chester. The visiting rules for video visitation are generally the same as those for visiting in the facility. 


To sign up and schedule a visit, check out the visitation scheduler system.

For complete details, read the Video Visitation Visitors Guide

Physical Address

SCI Chester
500 E. 4th Street
Chester, PA 19013

Driving Directions:

General Phone Number

(610) 490-5412

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Smart Communications/PADOC
SCI Chester
Inmate Name, Inmate Number
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL 33733

How to Call an Inmate

Inmates at SCI Chester can’t receive incoming phone calls, but they do have access to phones during certain hours. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Pennsylvania, please click here.

How to Send Money

The Department of Corrections (DOC) uses JPay for the processing of ALL MONEY ORDERS sent to inmates in all Pennsylvania correctional institutions and all online and over-the-phone credit card transactions.

Family and friends must deposit money into an inmate's account through JPay, either online or through lobby kiosks at each individual state prison. 

DO NOT send money to any other individual, website, or Email account. Money orders are NOT accepted at any state correctional institutions.

For JPay information, call 800.574.5729

JPay Frequently Asked Questions Information Sheet (pdf)

Money Orders

A Deposit Slip MUST be filled out and submitted with EVERY money order. Slips are available at the money order section of the JPay website, visiting rooms and the DOC's website.


DEPOSIT SLIP (pdf) (Spanish)

Money order deposit slips MUST have the following information CLEARLY TYPED in order for the funds to be posted to the inmate account: Handwritten forms are subject to delay.

• Correct inmate ID #
• Inmate name
• Sender’s name and address

Programs For Inmates

Academic Programs:

  • 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:

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

Counseling Services:

  • Alternative to Violence
  • Sex Offenders Programming

Inmate Programs:
WAGS at SCI Chester - Rescue-based dog training program
Community Education Centers (CEC)

SCI Chester AOD Treatment Program

The treatment program at SCI Chester is a collaborative effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and Community Education Centers, Inc. (CEC). This collaboration has been formed to rehabilitate inmates with a history of substance abuse. The treatment program is operated by Community Education Centers, Inc.

The treatment program utilizes several levels of care to accommodate the treatment needs of the offenders.

Therapeutic Communities (TC’s): Each TC housing unit houses approximately 64 inmates.

There are currently five TC sites in operation:

  • Three General Population TC (AA, AC, AD & BC).
  • One Opioid TC (AC)
  • One Hispanic TC (BB). Program materials and language are conducted entirely in Spanish.
  • The TC’s are designed to service those offenders who are alcohol or drug-dependent or have a severe abuse problem.

Ancillary Services:

CEC provides ancillary groups to provide services to those offenders who have special needs.  These programs include “Violence Prevention/Moderate and High Intensity” and “Batterers’ Intervention” – a specific therapy group for domestic violence-related offenders.

Pictures of SCI Chester

Careers at SCI Chester

If you are interested in a career with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, you can find out more information about available jobs at SCI Chester by clicking here.