The information below provides complete instructions regarding the Philadelphia Alternative and Special Detention Inmate Accounts and Deposits, Commissary Information, Depositing Money Online (where available), Mailing Inmate Money or Care Packages to the jail in Philadelphia, 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 Philadelphia Alternative and Special Detention, 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.
NOTE: Visitors wishing to put money on an inmate’s books can only make a deposit for the inmate they are visiting. All other inmate deposits must be made at another time.
There are usually four choices for putting money on an inmate's books:
Dropping Money at the Jail
You can bring money to the jail in person and deposit it at the cashier’s window from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Alternatively, kiosks are available in the jail lobby from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Kiosks accept debit cards, credit cards and cash. The machine does not give change, so be sure you bring the correct cash amount.
You will need the inmate’s full name and booking/PID number. Click here to locate that information.
If you can't get your questions answered online call the Philadelphia Alternative and Special Detention at 215-685-8730.
Philadelphia Alternative and Special Detention contracts with Access Corrections to allow online deposits to inmate accounts.
Access Corrections is a private company that processes money-email-photo email for inmates in state prison systems and county jails across the country. The following information tells you how to use the system and determine which services this jail currently offers.
Step 1: Register at the site. Click here to complete registration and accept the terms of service.
You will be asked for your name, birth date, home address, phone numbers and email. Then go to the bottom of the page and click acceptance of terms of service.
Step 2: Add inmates to your account resident list. This step cannot be completed until you have registered. Click here to add. To add an inmate, select the state and facility. Enter the inmate’s offender number or his last and first name. On the right the inmates with that name will show. Select the inmate you wish to add to your resident list and click “Add”.
Step 1: Login in to your account.
Step 2: Choose the inmate from your account resident list.
Step 3: Once you choose an inmate, next to his name it will show you with little photos on the left what services you can purchase for that facility. Most contracted facilities accept deposits of money for the books. Some also offer email services and a few offer photo email services.
Step 4: Select “make a deposit” another screen will open that allows you to input your debit/credit card information. Next to the box where you type in how much money you want to send, you will see the minimum and maximum allowed deposits for that jail.
Mailing Money Orders
Step 1: Go to login page – but don’t login
Step 2: On left side of that page you will see links to various facilities for mailing in money orders
Step 3: Print and fill out the form completely (incomplete pages may be rejected)
Step 4: Mail to the address on the form and include the money order made out as instructed
Step 1: Check to be sure email is one of the offered services at the facility. Does this by clicking on the inmate you wish to email on your resident list. Next to the inmate’s name it will show icons (pictures) of available services. If the envelope does not have a red line through it, then email is allowed.
Step 2: Purchase credits by clicking on the “Buy Credits” on the left side of the page.
Step 3: Choose whether to share credits or not. If you choose share credits and the facility allows inmates to email back, your credits will be deducted each time you or the inmate email each other. Each email typically costs 40-60 credits. You will know how many credits will be used before you click to send the email. If you choose not to share credits, you will be the only one using them to email the inmate. He will not be able to use them to respond.
Up to 2,600 characters is allowed in each email. This is approximately 250 words.
500 credits $5.00
1,000 credits $10.00
2,000 credits $20.00
5,000 credits $50.00
When you email, it is sent to the mailroom and printed, scanned and delivered to the inmate, typically within 24 hours. An inmate response will be handwritten, scanned and emailed to you, usually within 24 hours.
Step 1: Login
Step 2: Choose inmate from your resident list
Step 3: Select send picture from left side of page (if the service is available it will show a camera that does not have a red line through it next to the inmate’s name).
Step 4: Upload photo from your computer
Step 5: View photo and number of credits required. (Typically 100 to 500 credits per photo). See Cost under Using Email category above.
Step 6: Submit photo. (All photos are scanned for content. Photos that depict obscenity, gang, drug, weapons related content will be rejected).
Click here to reach the Access Connection website.
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.
Make the Money Order out to the inmate's name and put their Inmate PID # in memo section of the Money Order. Click here to find the inmate booking/PID number.
Address the envelope to:
Philadelphia Alternative and Special Detention
Inmate first and last name and PID number
8101 State Road
Philadelphia, PA 19136
Be sure to include a full return address to include your first and last name and complete address.
Call Philadelphia Alternative and Special Detention at 215-685-8730 to confirm the address to send the money order to and how they want it made out.
Failure to do this properly will delay your inmate getting his account credited and may require you to have to resubmit a second money order.
Click here or here to view online how to make the money order out and where to send it.
You can put a money order deposit 24/7 in the drop box located in the jail lobby. See the on-duty officer for assistance.
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.
The Philadelphia Alternative and Special Detention Commissary Instructions and Information can be found here or here. If you need more information contact the jail by calling 215-685-8730.
This jail contracts with Access Secure Pack to allow care package purchases for inmates.
Care packages are pre-chosen items that are bundled together and delivered to the inmate.
You must register for a free account to begin buying care packs.
Click here to get started.
These can be ordered by you online and are delivered directly to the inmate.
Inmates at this facility are not limited in how much money they have on their accounts, however, online deposits limit you to a maximum of $300 per deposit. If you wish to deposit more than $300 you can do so by making multiple online deposits and paying the applicable fees.
Call Philadelphia Alternative and Special Detention at 215-685-8730 or click here to learn the Inmate Account deposit limits and other rules regarding depositing money on an inmate's books.
This jail does not charge inmates for medical visits. The only time an inmate’s account might be debited for something other than commissary purchases is if there is a court order calling for a percentage of each deposit to go to the restitution order. This is a rare occurrence.
Call the Philadelphia Alternative and Special Detention at 215-685-8730 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.
Not surprisingly much of an inmate's commissary money is used to purchase item's to pay gambling debts or purchase prescription medicine from another inmate. If your inmate is spending more than $3-4.00 a day on commissary items, you are paying for him or her to gamble or buy drugs.
Put your financial needs first and the inmate's second. Don't forget, the inmate is getting three free 2,000 calorie meals a day. The food may not be of the highest quality, but the commissary food is generally much less nutritious.
Click here to view the jail website for additional information.