graterford state correctional institution

Exploring SCI Graterford: A Closer Look at Pennsylvania’s Maximum Security Prison

In the heart of Graterford, Pennsylvania, stands a formidable structure that has housed adult male offenders since its inception in 1929. Known by various names throughout its history, Graterford State Correctional Institution (SCI Graterford) is a maximum-security prison that has played a crucial role in the state’s penal system. In this article, we delve into the details of SCI Graterford, its facilities, programs, and the future it faces.

A Historical Perspective

The Origins of SCI Graterford

The roots of SCI Graterford trace back to its establishment in 1929. Initially, it served as a response to the growing need for a secure correctional facility in Pennsylvania. Over the decades, it has become an integral part of the state’s correctional system.

Commonly Known as Graterford Prison

While officially named Graterford State Correctional Institution, the facility is more commonly referred to as Graterford Prison or Graterford Penitentiary. This colloquial name recognition underscores its significance in the state’s criminal justice system.

See also  Coal Township State Correctional Institution

The Inmate Population

Housing Units and Specialized Facilities

SCI Graterford comprises twelve housing units, each catering to specific inmate needs. In addition to general population units, the prison hosts a special needs unit, a mental health unit, and an outside service unit. Notably, two restricted housing units are reserved for death row inmates, further emphasizing the prison’s maximum-security status.

Security Measures

Security at SCI Graterford is paramount. The facility is enclosed by a formidable 30-foot perimeter fence and is vigilantly monitored by nine armed guard towers. These measures ensure the safety and security of both inmates and staff.

Future Prospects

Plans are currently underway to open two new correctional facilities in close proximity to Graterford. The fate of SCI Graterford hinges on the decisions of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The potential closure of this historic institution signifies a significant shift in the state’s correctional landscape.

Educational and Vocational Opportunities

Empowering Inmates

SCI Graterford is committed to rehabilitating its inmates by offering a range of educational and vocational opportunities. Inmates can acquire valuable skills in carpentry, barbering, horticulture, and warehousing through vocational training programs. Moreover, those without a high school diploma can work towards earning a GED, while others can pursue college-level courses.

Correctional Industries Program

A cornerstone of inmate rehabilitation, the Correctional Industries program at Graterford provides employment opportunities in various industries. Inmates can contribute to textile mills, hosiery mills, shoe factories, and garment factories, fostering a sense of purpose and skill development.

Animal-Assisted Programs

SCI Graterford goes beyond traditional rehabilitation by involving inmates in animal-assisted programs. Inmates have the opportunity to work with dogs and horses, fostering empathy, responsibility, and a sense of connection.

See also  Muncy State Correctional Institution

Specialized Treatment

For inmates dealing with substance abuse issues, SCI Graterford offers alcohol and substance abuse treatment programs. Additionally, those convicted of sexual crimes are mandated to attend a specialized sex offender treatment program.

Connecting with Loved Ones

Visiting Hours

Maintaining connections with family and friends is vital for inmates’ well-being. Visiting hours at SCI Graterford are scheduled on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 8:30 am to 3 pm. Extended visiting hours are available on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 8:30 am to 3 pm and from 6 pm to 9 pm, providing ample opportunities for inmates to see their loved ones.

Contact Information

For inquiries and correspondence, you can reach out to SCI Graterford at the following contact details:

  • Physical Address: Graterford State Correctional Institution Graterford Road Graterford, PA 19426
  • Telephone: (610)-489-4151
  • Inmate Mailing Address: Inmate Name, ID Number SCI Graterford P.O. Box 244 Graterford, PA 19426


SCI Graterford’s long and storied history, its commitment to inmate rehabilitation, and the potential changes on the horizon make it a fascinating subject of study. As Pennsylvania contemplates the future of its correctional system, SCI Graterford remains a symbol of both the challenges and opportunities within the prison system.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is SCI Graterford still in operation?

As of the time of writing, SCI Graterford is operational. However, plans to open new facilities nearby may impact its future.

2. What educational programs are available to inmates at SCI Graterford?

Inmates can participate in vocational training, earn a GED, and even pursue college-level courses if they meet the requirements.

See also  Cambridge Springs State Correctional Institution

3. How can I visit an inmate at SCI Graterford?

SCI Graterford offers visiting hours on various days of the week. Be sure to check the schedule and adhere to the facility’s guidelines for visitation.

4. Are there security measures in place at SCI Graterford?

Yes, SCI Graterford is a maximum-security prison with stringent security measures, including a perimeter fence and armed guard towers.

5. What is the future of SCI Graterford?

The future of SCI Graterford is uncertain, as plans are being considered to open new facilities nearby. The ultimate decision rests with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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