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What is the Philadelphia Prison System Like?

If you are facing criminal charges in the Philadelphia area, there is a chance you are up against potential prison time. While your attorney will fight in your defense, you might be wondering what it is like inside the Philadelphia prison system.

Being in prison is an unpleasant experience. Prison is different from jail, although the two terms are often used interchangeably. Jail is often a lower security facility run by the county, while prison is far more restrictive and run by the state. Your communications in prison are often very limited and heavily restricted. Prison officials often monitor phone calls and mail, and in-person visits with loved ones can be difficult to arrange. There are four prisons within the Philadelphia prison system, and convicted defendants might be placed in any of these facilities. Life inside prison is often difficult, and prisoners’ rights are greatly restricted.

If you are charged with a crime, our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys can help you fight the charges and hopefully avoid a prison sentence. For a free case review, call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171.

The Difference Between Prison and Jail in Philadelphia

When talking about the possibility of incarceration, jail and prison are not the same things. These terms are often used to describe the same kind of sentence, but they are two very different facilities. Whether a criminal defendant faces a prison or jail sentence depends on their charges. Our Northeast Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys can help you fight these charges and hopefully avoid any time behind bars.

Jail is typically a less restrictive facility than prison. A jail term is often imposed for misdemeanor offenses and typically lasts less than 1 year. Jails are often a bit smaller than prisons because they tend to house fewer inmates. While many people in jail were sentenced to incarceration terms, others have not been sentenced at all. Many defendants are held in jail while waiting for their trials because they were not granted bail or could not afford it. Jail is less restrictive than prisons, and inmates might have greater freedom to move about the facility.

Prisons are often much larger facilities that house many inmates at any given time. Some prisons are so large they can be divided into various wings and cell blocks. Prisons tend to house inmates for much longer periods. People convicted of felonies may end up in prison for years, decades, or even for life. As such, prisons tend to have more amenities. Medical units, visitor centers, and solitary confinement cells are often found in prisons. Inmates in prison tend to be heavily restricted, and prison staff carefully monitor every movement.

Communications in the Philadelphia Prison System

Inmates in jail or prison live with very few freedoms. Privacy is rare in prison, and even communications between prisoners and people on the outside are monitored and restricted. Any letters or phone calls made to or from prison are likely monitored for security reasons. This means any correspondence from our Delaware County criminal defense lawyers may be inspected before reaching you.

Many prison inmates communicated with their attorneys through the mail. Inmates can send letters to their lawyers asking for updates on their case, and lawyers can send their clients things like forms to sign or information about how their case is progressing. Every letter that goes in or out of prison is subject to inspection. While prison officials might not necessarily read all your letters, they may open them and check for contraband.

Phone calls are also heavily monitored and restricted. Prisoners cannot simply make a phone call whenever they wish, even if they have a good reason. Inmates need permission to use the phones, which is not always granted. When an inmate can use the phone, the call is often monitored and recorded. Incriminating statements you make over the phone to friends or family members may be used against you in court.

In-person visits with attorneys and loved ones can also be difficult to arrange. There are specific rules and procedures to be followed when outsiders enter a prison. Visiting hours are often limited, and visits must be planned in advance. According to the Philadelphia Department of Prisons, in-person visits must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance and may only last for up to 1 hour.

Facilities in the Philadelphia Prison System

There are four prisons in the Philadelphia Department of Prisons (PDP). There may be varying levels of security at each facility, and you may end up in any one of these prisons if convicted. If you or someone you know is facing incarceration in one of these facilities, call our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers for assistance.

The Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFCF) is the largest facility in the Philadelphia Department of Prisons and has four housing buildings and an administration building. The prison is located at:

Curran-Fromhold Correctional Center
7901 State Road
Philadelphia, PA 19136

The Detention Center (DC) has been open since 1963 and serves as the intake center for the Philadelphia Department of Prisons. The DC also contains the PDP’s medical unit, and inmates with medical or mental health needs may receive inpatient treatment here. The DC is located at the following address:

Detention Center
8201 State Road
Philadelphia, PA 19136

The Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (PICC) is unique because it divides the prison population into 13 manageable units. Each unit has a prison yard, laundry, medical facilities, counseling rooms, and administrative offices. Inmates at the PICC also have access to classrooms, job training, and a law library. This prison houses only adult men and is located at this address:

Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center
8301 State Road
Philadelphia, PA 19136

Finally, the Riverside Correctional Facility (RCF) contains a variety of amenities for inmates. There are classrooms for educational and job training courses, a gym, medical treatment facilities, and libraries. The RCF is located at the following address:

Riverside Correctional Facility
8151 State Road
Philadelphia, PA 19136

Call Our Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help

If you are facing criminal charges, you might feel very intimidated by the possibility of a prison sentence. Our Montgomery County criminal defense attorneys will work to help you avoid a conviction and prison term. For a free case review, call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171.