Prior to World War I, Warden John Francies' exposure of the overcrowded conditions and the unhealthy environment at Western Penitentiary led to legislation for the development of a rural penitentiary. A special committee surveyed 33 sites before choosing 4,300 acres in Centre County, which were purchased at $50 an acre. Additional acreage was obtained from adjacent state forestland.

Located six miles south of Bellefonte and six miles northeast of State College; this new prison had been originally conceived in 1878, when Huntingdon had been decided upon but the enabling legislation was not passed until 1911. The State Correctional Institution at Rockview was originally intended to be a maximum-security prison to replace Western Penitentiary. The expense was not to exceed $1,250,000, and $300,000 was provided for planning purposes.  The original law signed by Governor John K. Tener in 1911 provided that:

Whereas it appears that the Western Penitentiary is greatly overcrowded as well as otherwise inadequate and so unsanitary that numerous cases of tuberculosis exist among the prisoners confined therein, as a direct result of their imprisonment that for lack of a large tract of land opportunant, it is impossible to keep the inmates sufficiently employed, by reason thereof a large number thereof became insane and become permanent charges upon the State; and the said penitentiary is located in a congested city district where it is impossible to extend the buildings and prison yard thereof at any reasonable cost.  It is desirable (that the new prison) be of modern design and so constructed in a rural district, so that the prisoners may be provided with useful employment in tilling the soil or otherwise.

The General Assembly changed its mind and the legislation was passed in 1915 to provide the new institution be a maximum-security prison designed to take the place of both Eastern and Western Penitentiaries.

This did not come to pass, however, although the first cellblock at Rockview was built for maximum-security purposes.  Under Governor Gifford Pinchot, in the 1920's, the plans were changed to provide that Rockview would become a medium-security institution operated as a branch, or farm, prison by the Western Penitentiary. Its capacity was 1,012 with 500 maximum and 512 medium minimum-security cells.
Rockview is also the site of the administration of the death penalty, again reintroduced to Pennsylvania in 1978.  The deputy warden building was completed in December 1914, and the first execution took place on February 23, 1915.  The Commonwealth has executed 350 persons by means of electrocution.

On November 29, 1990, Governor Robert P. Casey signed into law Senate Bill 637 that replaced the electric chair with lethal injection as the state's method of executing convicted killers.  The electric chair was removed and sent to the Pennsylvania Museum.  The old institution hospital building has been renovated into an execution complex complete with the equipment necessary for lethal injection, rooms to accommodate various department and institution staff, news media witnesses, victims witness and other authorized individuals.

Facility Information

Number of Acres Inside Perimeter: 31

Number of Acres Outside Perimeter: 5,724

Number of Operational Structures (inside and outside of perimeter): 73

Number of Housing Units: 9

Special Features: Farm and Forestry Camp

Average Number of Full-Time Employees: 635

Inmate Information

Inmate PopulationCurrent Inmate Population

PA Correctional Industries: SCI Rockview maintains a PCI Wood Furniture Plant. The industry consists of wood furniture, chair manufacturing section, refinishing and re-upholstery, sign engraving, sheds, and wood products. Currently 70 inmate workers are employed in these various assignments.

Community Work Program: Inmates housed at the Forestry Camp participate in a Community Work Program that provides crews to assist in community projects, including storm damage clean-up, highway litter pick-up, non-profit field clean-up, painting and cleaning municipal pools and mowing grass at a cemetery.

Reentry Service Office: In order to ease a reentrant’s transition after release and improve community reintegration, the Reentry Service Offices (RSOs) are designed to provide information and services to inmates who are within 18 months to their minimum and/or release date. Reentry Parole Agents (RPAs) oversee the RSOs and work with other DOC staff members to facilitate various workshops including Life Skills, Budgeting, Digital Literacy — among many others. The RSO utilizes its computer lab to assist reentrants with resume writing, job searches, as well as providing community connections for services they may need upon release.

Academic Education

  • Adult Basic Education (ABE)
  • Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD)
  • General Education Diploma (GED)
  • Business Education
  • Technology Education

Vocational Programs

  • HVAC
  • Electricity/Residential Wiring
  • Masonry

Inmate Programs

  • Act 143/Victim's Awareness
  • Money Smart
  • Batterers Intervention
  • Substance Use Disorder Treatment
  • Violence Prevention
  • Thinking for a Change
  • Long Term Offender Programming
  • Impact of Crime
  • Back on Track-Inside
  • Seeking Safety
  • Inside Out Dads


Facility Address

1 Rockview Place
Bellefonte, PA 16823
(814) 355-4874

Facility Mail Address

Box A
1 Rockview Place
Bellefonte, PA 16823

Inmate Mail Address

Smart Communications/PADOC
Inmate Name/Inmate Number
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL 33733


Superintendent: Bobbi Salamon

Deputy Superintendent for Centralized Services: Mike Rowe

Deputy Superintendent for Facilities Management: Scott Woodring

Business Manager: Adam Beck

Superintendent's Assistant: Nicki Paul