Inmate Guide

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Allegheny County Jail Inmates

Allegheny County Jail is different from other jailing facilities with its programs offered to inmates. During "free time" inmates can participate in drug and alcohol groups, psychiatric groups, and worker groups.

Inmates are housed in eight floors with pods lettered A through F. Each floor holds different inmates. The first floor houses the kitchen. The second and third floors hold inmates that have already been sentenced. The fourth floor, called the Shoe, is also the psychiatric floor and main intake floor where inmates first enter Allegheny County. Inmates are kept here first before being placed on other floors.

Housing divisions
The fifth floor is called the drug and alcohol treatment floor for those harboring drug addictions. Here inmates cooperate in a constant drug program. The sixth, seventh, and eighth floors hold inmates serving long sentences. These inmates are usually charged with serious accounts. The seventh floor is called "the Hole" because it holds those involved in fights. The eighth floor usually houses those on murder charges. No matter the crime committed, all inmates are given jail uniforms.

The male inmates wear read uniforms and the female inmates wear blue uniforms. But not matter the color, all uniforms consist of matching top and bottoms.

Good behavior and bonuses
In addition to programs and groups, inmates can work towards release for good behavior where as much as a few months of a sentence can be removed. To do this inmates must avoid fights and comply with jail rules. At times arguments cannot be avoided, but most inmates try to keep out of trouble as much as possible. Because of the trouble that brews in each pod inmates often bond together to look after one another. One former inmate said that many are judgmental no matter the sentencing.

Phone policy
Allegheny County inmates are given phone privileges whenever they are not locked in their cells. All calls are made collect, and all calls are recorded and screened by the jailing staff.

To pass the time inmates often play basketball in a caged area located in each pod, work in the kitchen, attend group meetings, play cards with other inmates, read, sleep, or watch television. Church services are offered during the week. The times of the services are announced by the guards on duty. Catholic services are provided on Sundays. Allegheny County inmates are never allowed outside, unlike other facilities.

Inmates may receive visitors at designated times during the week. Only those on an inmates visiting list may visit, and each visitor goes through a scanning process before each visit. Face to face visits take place on the first floor. Other visits take place in a larger room behind glass windows and via telephone.

Meals and medication
The inmates of Allegheny County are provided with three meals a day. These meals are often rated low with chicken and bread as the favorites. Commissary is available for those with money on their books. Those needing a higher calorie diet receive a brown bag at night. Each morning and each night a nurse provides inmates with necessary medications from the medical cart.