The information below provides complete instructions regarding the Berks County Jail Inmate Accounts and Deposits, Commissary Information, Depositing Money Online (where available), Mailing Inmate Money or Care Packages to the jail in Leesport, Pennsylvania.
Follow these instructions exactly to help ensure that your inmate has access to commissary, and in some cases medical and bail money, as soon as possible.
Since inmates are not allowed to possess cash money while in custody in the Berks County Jail, the jail maintains a 'bank account' for the inmate to purchase products and services from their commissary (canteen) store.
Commissary funds allow inmates to purchase items such as personal hygiene products, snacks and stationery supplies from the jail store.
Inmates can use money from their account to purchase phone time credits or prepaid phone cards in order to make outside phone calls to friends and family members.
Many jails also allow an inmate to bail himself out of jail if he has the funds in his account. The bail amount is typically 10-15% of the bond amount set by the court.
Inmate accounts are also used to pay the co-payment for medication and visits to the jail's medical clinic should they become ill.
Anybody can contribute to an inmate's books or commissary fund as long as there isn't a no-contact order in place.
Because of the ability for family members and friends to deposit money online using a credit or debit card, jail inmates can now receive funds from anywhere in the world.
There are usually four choices for putting money on an inmate's books:
Dropping Money at the Jail
There are several kiosks located in the jail lobby for your use. The kiosk accepts cash, credit or debit cards. There is no limit to the amount of money you can deposit, however, the inmate has a limit on how much can be spent each week as well as how many commissary items he or she is allowed to possess at any one time. If more than the limit is found, the overage will be confiscated and given to an inmate fund.
Berks County Jail contracts with OffenderConnect.com to process online and phone deposits to inmate accounts.
OffenderConnect.com provides prepaid accounts, which give you the opportunity to accept calls from inmates on any phone that you attach to the account. Before you can accept the first call, you must open an account using the following steps.
To Open a My Account
Click here to register for an account.
Read and agree to the company’s terms of service.
Fill in required information including a valid email address.
Add the jail/prison to your account with the following steps.
Select a state from the drop down menu.
Click on the desired facility and hit next. (You cannot complete your registration until this is done).
Hit the submit button. An activation email will be sent to the email you provided.
Go to email and click on activation link. You will be taken to the site again. Log in from there.
Click the sign up button and then add the phone number you wish to have associated with the account. This is the phone number that will receive calls from the inmate.
Choose whether to associate the address used for registration or a different address and input that address.
Choose which facility you wish the above entered phone number to be attached to. The next page will show you the phone number and facility that go together. You can repeat these steps to add additional phone numbers or facilities as needed.
To Add Funds
Click here to log in.
Click on the blue “Make a payment” link.
Select the phone number and facility from the drop down menu that you wish the money to be applied to.
Click add card and enter debit or credit card information-then press the close button. There is a $25 minimum deposit each time you fund the account. A service fee of $6.95 is deducted from each deposit you make.
On the page where you add your card information, you will be given the opportunity to sign up for automatic funding. If you choose this option, whenever your balance gets below $7.00 your credit/debit card will automatically be billed $25 or $50 depending on the amount you chose at sign-up. If you don’t wish to choose this option, simply add your credit card for a onetime payment at the top half of the page.
OFFENDER PHONE ACCOUNT
This is an account that you can fund for a specific inmate. Once it is funded, the inmate can use it to call anyone on the approved phone list, instead of being limited to one phone on the account. If you fund an Offender Phone Account, the inmate then owns the funding and you cannot retrieve it or limit his calls to any specific phone.
Click here to log in.
Choose “Offender Phone Account” on left side of page.
Choose the inmate from your offender list for whom you wish to fund an Offender Phone Account.
Only those housed at facilities that allow offender phone accounts to be funded through family and friends will appear on this list.
If no names appear, the facility does not allow family/friend Offender Phone Accounts. You can still set up a My Phone Account and have the inmate call you on a specified phone.
Input credit/debit card information and amount. There is a $25 minimum deposit required. A $7.95 service fee is deducted from each deposit you make.
Check information and amount and if correct, click submit. The funds will be available to the offender within minutes of your deposit going through.
Click here to view the OffenderConnect.com contact information.
Mailing a deposit takes more time to process than the other methods but can be done if you live too far away to bring it in person and you don't have a debit/credit card for online deposits. Never send cash. Always send a Money Order from the US Post Office, a reputable bank or Western Union.
Make the Money Order out to the inmate's name and put their Inmate BCJS# in memo section of the Money Order. Click here to get the inmate’s BCJS #.
Do not put anything but the money order in the envelope. Anything else will be destroyed by jail staff before it gets to the inmate.
Address envelope to:
Inmates Account Department
1287 County Welfare Road
Leesport, PA 19533
You may make phone deposits through Offender Connect once you open an account.
People who have never been to jail would be surprised by the large amount of candy, snacks, art supplies, playing cards, hygiene products and clothing that can be purchased through a jail's commissary. Some jails have several hundred different items.
This jail places limits on the number of items an inmate may possess at any given time. If staff discovers an inmate in possession of more than the allowed number, the overage will be confiscated and given to an inmate fund.
Some jails have contract agreements with third party Commissary companies that ship predetermined Care Packages of candy and snacks.
These can be ordered by you online and are delivered directly to the inmate.
At this time the jail does not offer care packages.
Click here to see if the policy has changed and if so, how to order one for the inmate.
There are fees for each deposit amount but you may make as many deposits as you wish. Keep in mind that no matter how much you deposit, the inmate is restricted by spending limits and the number of items possessed at any one time.
Call Berks County Jail at 610-208-4800 or click here to learn the Inmate Account deposit limits and other rules regarding depositing money on an inmate's books.
This jail charges each inmate a one-time $50 processing fee. This will be applied as a negative balance to the inmate’s account and when money gets deposited to the account it will be taken for the fee until all $50 has been paid.
There are also small fees for any medical visit caused by the inmate, such as a fight with injuries.
If an inmate requests to see a doctor for any reason after the medical staff at the jail deemed it not necessary the inmate will be charged a small fee for that visit. However, if the doctor determines that the jail should have had the inmate see a doctor, the fee is waived.
Click here to view other possible fees to inmates. Services will never be refused due to lack of funds. Instead, the inmate’s account will show a negative balance until enough funds are deposited to catch it up.
Call the Berks County Jail at 610-208-4800 and ask how you can view a commissary list. This gives you an idea of what things cost the inmate and you can make an informed decision regarding how much to deposit.
Unfortunately, inmates do have access to drugs and gambling in jails/prisons. If you provide too much money, you increase the risk of your inmate getting involved in such activities which can lead to more problems.