The state of Pennsylvania has one type of short-term confinement facility for pretrial detainees, inmates serving short sentences, and people who were just arrested; these are called jails. There are sixty-five local county jails in Pennsylvania.
Each county jail in Pennsylvania is owned and operated by the town or county where it resides. The local county Sheriff’s Office is the law enforcement agency in charge of managing the facilities, the inmates, and maintaining all Pennsylvania jail inmate records. Most of them have websites where you can search for inmates or review a roster. This makes it very easy for the general public to conduct a Pennsylvania county jail inmate search at any time.
Along with supervision, these local county jails also provide inmates with educational resources (some even offer degree programs like a GED), vocational assistance and job training, substance abuse or mental health treatments, other life-skills classes, and programming aimed at reducing the likelihood of recidivism. Most inmates are allowed recreation, phone calls, and visitation. Jails have different levels of custody, and some serve only a specific demographic such as males only or females.
The oldest jail in Pennsylvania is called Old Jail in Chambersburg, P. A. It was built in 1818 and survived the burning of Chambersburg in 1864 during the Civil War. In 1970 it was put on the State and National Register of Historical sites and acts as a museum. This jail was once home to some famous outlaws such as “Lewis the Robber, and Captain John Cook, one of John Brown’s men who was captured after the unsuccessful raid on the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry.” The basement has five dungeons with rings still in the walls that held prisoners.
There are about 37,000 inmates in jail in Pennsylvania at any given time. Roughly 14% of the inmates in jail are female and the rest male. More people are arrested in Philadelphia than any other county. The most common age of people in county jail is 21–39 years old. More than 50% are White, almost 40% are Black, 9.5% are Hispanic, and the rest are other races. More people are arrested for drugs and alcohol (21%) than any other crimes. The next most popular reasons someone is in jail in Pennsylvania are larceny/theft, weapons charges, and robbery.