Information for Family and Friends
of Allegheny County Jail Inmates

Allegheny County Jail 

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The Allegheny County Jail recognizes that incarceration can be a stressful time, not only for the inmate, but also for their family and friends. The following policies and procedures have been established to assure safety and security while working together with family members and friends to strengthen families and reduce recidivism.

The information in this section explains how family and friends can support inmates during their incarceration in the following ways:

  • Visiting
  • Telephone
  • Mail
 
  • Funds
  • Personal Property/Clothing for Court
  • Medical Supply Drop Off
 

Visiting

Selection Visiting Schedule 

To assure safety and security, it is critical that inmates and their visitors are respectful through the entire visit and follow all guidelines established.

The jail visiting schedule is subject to change or cancellation; family and friends are encouraged to call 412-350-2000 for the latest information. 

Process for Becoming an Approved Visitor
Each inmate prepares a visiting list within 4 to 5 days of their admission to the institution.   Each inmate’s authorized visitors list may contain up to ten (10) names.  After the list is submitted, it can take up to twenty-one (21) days for visitors to be approved by the jail. This additional time is needed for jail officials to complete the screening process which includes a background check on potential visitors.  All visitors must be on the inmate’s approved visiting list. If approved, that person’s name then appears on the inmate’s visiting list and will be permitted to visit. 

Children under the age of 18 are not required to be on the inmate’s visiting list but must be accompanied by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian for a visit. The person accompanying a child must present evidence that they are the legal guardian, such as a birth certificate. NOTE: It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to have their children under constant supervision. Parents who allow their children to run free may lose visiting privileges.

Any visit requested prior to approval of an inmate's visitors list has to be approved by Deputy Warden/designee. 

When coming to the jail to visit a friend or family member, please remember: 

  • Visitors enter the jail using the Main Lobby entrance located at 950 Second Avenue.
  • Visitors must secure their own parking.  Parking meters are available along Second Avenue and the closest pay lots are adjacent to the jail on First and Second Avenues. 
  • With the exception of photo identification, you will need to lock all of your personal belongings in the lockers available in the front lobby.  This includes everything, such as wallets, purses, money, keys, beepers, cell phones, cigarettes, matches, lighters, food, beverages, pens, pencils, coats, jackets, or other outer garments. Baby bottles are the one exception. The lockers require a 25 cent quarter deposit which is returned upon departure. 
  • You must have a current acceptable photo identification that includes address and date of birth to sign-up for a visit.  Expired identification will not be accepted.  The following forms of identification are acceptable: 
    1. Driver’s License 
    2. Photo Identification issued by Federal, State, or Local government 
  • All visitors are subject to be searched for contraband prior to entering the Jail. .  Anyone caught bringing contraband into the institution will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and all visiting privileges will be revoked.  Contraband goods are defined as any letter, note, drugs, alcohol, tobacco products, weapons or any other article not authorized by the administration. 
  • Due to limited visiting space, you are encouraged to arrive early to sign-in and secure your visit.  Visits are granted on a first-come, first-served basis and there is usually a line of people signing up.  You must be through the line and be registered in the computer by an officer no later than 15 minutes before the visit. It is recommended that visitors arrive at least 45 minutes prior to a visit. 
  • No letters, notes, photos, or publications can be given to an inmate during a visit.  Further, jail personnel are not permitted to accept any items to pass along to inmates.  
  • Front lobby personnel are prohibited from disclosing an inmate’s DOC number or the names of those on the inmate’s visiting list. This information must be obtained directly from the inmate.
  • In the event that a fire alarm is activated while you are in the Jail, please proceed to the nearest elevator and await further instructions. Do not board an elevator. 

Process for Visitation

Friends and family register for a specific visiting period at the visitors’ window in the main lobby of the jail. Registration begins at 7 a.m. and continues until all the available spaces for the designated Pod and visiting period have been filled.  Visitors must be registered no later than 15 minutes before the start of the visit and it is recommended that visitors arrive at least 45 minutes before a visit to assure that a space is available.  When spaces for a specific visiting period and Pod have been filled, visitors may wait for the next available visiting time. 

In order to register, visitors must: 

  • Dress appropriately and follow the institution’s dress code which stipulates:
    • Undergarments are required as a condition of any visit
    • Shirt and shoes must be worn at all times
    • Tops must cover the entire trunk of the body
    • Shorts are permitted only if they are modestly cut (no upper thigh or buttocks visible)
    • No coats or jackets that are outerwear (suit jackets and cardigans are permitted)
    • No hooded clothing or headgear unless worn for religious reasons
    • No clothing that is sheer or see-through (mesh) material
    • No muscle shirts, halter tops, crop tops, sleeveless or strapless shirts/dresses
    • No clothing with excessive pockets, metal, or drawstrings
    • No clothing that displays a gang affiliation or is in any way attributable to gang culture
    • No clothing that is obscene, racist, or displays sexual content
    • No sleepwear
    • No Uniform of any type
     

Visiting lobby officers may deny entry into the jail to anyone they deem inappropriately dressed.  

  • Arrive unimpaired by the use of alcohol or other drugs. A person suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs will not be permitted to visit.
  • Proceed through a metal detecting scan.
  • Produce current photo identification that includes address and date of birth at the visitor’s window.
  • Each visitor will receive a Visitor’s Pass in exchange for the photo identification. The photo I.D. will be returned at the conclusion of the visit in exchange for the Visitor’s Pass. If a Visitor’s Pass is not returned (or if it is damaged in any way), visiting privileges will be suspended for an indefinite time. 
  • No one will be admitted for their visit without the Visitor’s Pass received when signing up for the visit.
  • All contact visitors and other random visitors may be asked to pass through a scanner which detects drugs and drug residue.

General Visitation Information 

  • Space for visitation is limited and is assigned on a first come, first served basis. 
  • The visiting week for all inmates begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday.
  • Inmates in the general population are permitted two visits per week, but only one visit per day.
  • Inmates in disciplinary housing are permitted one visit per week.
  • A maximum of 3 persons are permitted per visit. 
  • All visits are one hour long.
  • Any visit requested prior to approval of an inmate’s visitors list has to be approved by Assistant Deputy Warden/designee.
  • Visiting more than one inmate is not permitted without a valid reason and must be approved by the Assistant Deputy Warden/designee.

Visitor Responsibilities 

  • Behave respectfully during the registration, waiting and visiting period. This includes speaking quietly and refraining from the use of obscene language.
  • Remain in the visiting booth for the entire one hour visiting period.
  • Respect the property of the Allegheny County Jail. 
  • Parents and guardians are responsible for supervising their children.
  • Failure to fulfill any of the responsibilities described above may result in visitation being terminated and visiting privileges being suspended or revoked. 


Visitor Services 

  • Available in the lobby are:
    • Vending machines. (Food must remain in the visiting area.)
    • Public pay phones
    • Restrooms.
    • Information on referrals to various agencies and a variety of print materials
    • Family Activity Center. This special area is solely for children and their caregivers who are waiting to visit. The Center child-friendly features that include a craft area, video nook, book corner, and a giant pin screen providing fun for children and adults. Mock visiting booths allow children to practice for their visit. Children must be accompanied by their parent and/or guardian while in the Center.
     
  • If you require assistance during a visit, press the call button located on the speaker by the door.

Prohibited Visitors 

  • Ex-inmates are not permitted to visit for a minimum of one year without pre-authorization from the Warden or a Deputy Warden. Parents, spouses, siblings and children are exempted from this policy and may visit without pre-authorization.
  • Any current inmate in Alternative Housing
  • Any person who is currently under parole or probation supervision
  • Any current or former Allegheny County Jail employee; and/or
  • Any victim of the inmate; and/or
  • Any current or former contract employee and/or
  • Any active volunteer for Allegheny County Jail (without prior approval).

Terminating a Visit/Suspending or Revoking Visitation Privileges/Criminal Prosecution 

  • If it is determined that a visit is or could be a threat to the security and orderly running of the facility, the visit may be terminated or denied.
  • An attempt to bring contraband into the jail is considered especially serious. Anyone found to bring contraband into the institution will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and their visiting privileges will be revoked.
  • Violence and threats of violence will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and visiting privileges will be revoked.

Telephone

On each of the Pods, there are telephones available for inmates to make outgoing collect calls only.

To create and/or fund a pre-paid collect account, contact contact Securus’ Correctional Billing Services at 1-800-844-6591. For further information, including pricing, see the Inmate Telephone System.

For questions regarding the inmate phone system or to block a number, call (412) 350-2312.

Mail

Inmates may receive some items through the U.S. mail.  All mail is opened and searched prior to delivery to the inmate. All mail must contain the inmate’s DOC number.

Mail should be addressed as follows:

Inmate Name
DOC Number
Allegheny County Jail
950 Second Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
 

Through U.S. mail, inmates may receive: 

  • Letters 
    (We recommend that these encourage the inmate to use their time wisely while incarcerated to re-enter the community better prepared to meet their life goals.)
  • Photos 
    (Inmates are permitted a maximum of 3 photos.)
  • Publications,
    such as paperback books, magazine, newspapers (These must be sent directly from the publisher and only via U.S. mail, not UPS or Fed Ex) (Inmates are permitted a maximum of 7 publications)
  • Money orders 
    (Write the inmate’s DOC Number written on the money order)
     
 

Inmates may not receive anything that is not listed in the box on the left. 

This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Any publication that is not mailed directly from the publisher.
  • Stamps or stamped envelopes
  • Stationary
  • Cash
  • Checks of any kind
  • Credit cards, phone cards
  • Hygiene or grooming products
  • Medication
  • Clothing
  • Jewelry
  • Tobacco
  • Food
  • Gang-related photos
  • Pornography
 

Attempts to send contraband through the mail are addressed through the legal system.

Funds

The Allegheny County Jail establishes accounts where inmate funds are held. Funds are deposited in an inmate’s account in the following ways:

  • Money an inmate has upon admission
  • Mail (money orders onlyl)
  • Kiosks in the jail lobby
Money Order 

A money order may be sent through the mail. The inmate’s DOC number must be written on the money order.

Kiosks 

All in-person deposits are made using kiosks in the jail lobby. The Kiosks are available during Jail Lobby hours from 7:00am to 9:00pm. The kiosks accept cash, debit and credit cards. This system is provided through a contract with Keefe Commissary Network. The kiosk charges a $3.00 fee on each transaction. Deposit limits are $300 cash and $50 on debit and credit cards.

Please Note:
The Jail Cashier’s office has no connection to the kiosks and cannot resolve any problems related to them. When the kiosks are not working properly or for questions or complaints, contact Keefe Group at 1-866-345-1884 or 1-800-541-1700.
 

Cashier’s Office (For Attorney and Inmate Use) 

Funds may be withdrawn from an inmate’s account. When an inmate wishes to transfer funds from their account to an attorney, to a family member or friend or for bond; the inmate fills out an authorization form and sends it to the Cashier’s Office, asking that a check be written. When the person for whom the check is intended arrives at the jail, the lobby officers notify the cashier and the check is delivered. The hours for these transactions are from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Hours for attorney and bond payments are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Cashier’s Office is available for inmate use between 7:00am and 7:00pm Monday through Friday except holidays.

Cashier: (412) 350-2261, 2264 or 2033 / Supervisor: (412) 350-2229 

Bail Payment. Payment for an inmate’s bond money—cash only—is done at the County Courthouse Building on Forbes Avenue between Grant Street and Ross Streets (lower level, near the courtyard entrance.)

Returning funds to released inmates 

The Cashier’s Office is notified when released inmates are waiting in the main lobby for their funds.  Released inmates receive a check for any amount owed that is over $10 and they receive cash for any amount owed that is less than $10.  In the evening after the banks are closed, the inmate will receive some cash with a check for the remaining balance.  For example, if a person is owed $50 dollars, he or she will receive up to $10 in cash with a check for the remaining balance.  Hours for paying released inmates are 7am – 8pm, Mon thru Fri.

We encourage released individuals to cash their check at the PNC bank located on the corner of Grant Street and Forbes Avenue.  This PNC branch accepts the armband as a form of identification to cash checks. 

Please Note:  After 10 days, money will only be turned over to an attorney or the Clerk of Courts.

Personal Property

Family members wishing to pick up an inmate’s personal property (for example, wallet, and keys) must have authorization from the inmate.  Once authorized, please call 412-350-2267 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. All items will be brought to the front lobby for distribution between 1:45 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on the same day. 

Clothing for Court

Persons on an inmate’s visiting list, their attorneys and religious advisors are the only persons authorized to drop off clothing for an inmate’s appearance in court. Individuals leaving clothing must be properly identified by a photo I.D. card.  If proper I.D. is not provided, or the individual is not listed on the inmate’s visiting list, acceptance of articles for the inmate will be denied.  Clothing may be dropped off a maximum of three days prior to the inmate’s Common Pleas Criminal Court hearing. Clothing is accepted in the evenings between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. only.

Acceptable Court Clothing 

Men

Women

Suit or Sport Coat
Dress Pants
Dress Shirt
Black/Blue Socks (Dress Socks)   
Dress Shoes
Belt
Tie
 

Dress
Skirt
Blazer
Blouse
Slacks
Dress Socks
Panty Hose
Dress Shoes
 

Medical Supply Drop Off

Starting Tuesday September 17, 2013 inmate family members will have the below time frames to drop off any prescription glasses, contacts, breathing machines, or another medically necessary approved devices. The diabetic nurse on shift will be responsible to come to the visiting area to collect such items after the items have been searched by the correctional officer assigned to the main lobby.

 Every Tuesday drop off time  9:00 am -11:00 am
 Every Saturday drop off time 11:00 am - 1:00 pm