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​Perform in PA Prisons

Want to perform a concert or a comedy routine, give an inspiring motivational speech, compete against inmates in softball, basketball, soccer or volleyball, or engage inmates in a drama or another activity? The PA DOC contracts with community individuals and groups to “temporarily lift inmates out of prison walls" through meaningful programs and events. Performances like these (as opposed to the services offered by volunteers) must be coordinated through the Statewide Activities Coordinator in the Department’s Central Office and the Corrections Activities Managers (Word) at each institution.

General Information

  1. Performances and events are typically attended by 25 – 200 inmates.
  2. Some institutions may ask to record performances so that they can be shown on institutional TVs to inmates unable to attend (due to inmate populations being divided by zones)
  3. Performances and events typically take place on weekday evenings (6PM) or on weekends (1PM or 6PM).
  4. Performers and groups with equipment generally need to arrive to a facility two hours prior to their performance.  
  5. Some SCIs will provide AMPs and speakers. Check with each institution regarding what they will provide.
  6. The group leader should contact the Statewide Activities Coordinator (name and contact information at bottom of page) if the group wishes to perform in multiple facilities.
  7. Groups will be asked to scan to each SCI in which they will perform:
    1. Equipment List (NOTE: DOC reserves the right to reject certain pieces of equipment which pose a significant security concern)
    2. W-9 (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification)
      1. W-9 Blank
      2. W-9 Instructions
    3. Written notes, sheet music, etc. needed for the performance.
  8. Performers are considered Public Visitors and will be under the supervision of correctional staff at all times.
  9. Requested documentation received less than 30 days prior to a scheduled performance will result in the group/individual NOT being able to participate in the performance.  No exceptions.
  10. Written documentation submitted to Central Office will be shared with respective Activity Managers.
  11. Performers are paid from limited Inmate General Welfare Funds. Funds available to pay performers will differ by institution.  Performers are not paid if a performance needs to be cancelled  (e.g., due to an unannounced lockdown, an emergency, etc.), however, often the performances can be rescheduled.
  12. A contract must be agreed upon and signed by all parties before the performance can take place.
  13. The group's leader must provide the following information to the Statewide Activities Coordinator so that a Summary Sheet about this group can be shared with Activity Managers:
    1. Name of Group
    2. Contact Information
    3. Description of Performance/Genre of Music
    4. Any Special Program/Emphasis of the group
    5. Typical Set/Presentation Length
    6. Price Range
    7. Federal Taxpayer Identification #
    8. Name to which check should be made payable to
    9. SCIs in which the individual/group has previously performed

Each group member must read the Security Orientation for Non-Department Employees (pdf) before entering any correctional facility.

Each Performer/Group Member must complete and return the following to the Statewide Activities Coordinator at least 30 days in advance of the performance:

  1. Centralized Clearance Check Information Request (pdf)
  2. Emergency Information & Security Consent Form (01.01.06 Section 03 Attachment 3-D) (Word)
  3. PREA Training Acknowledgement of Understanding and Duty to Report  (pdf)

Questions? Contact:

Rev. Ulli Klemm
(Acting) Statewide Activities Coordinator
717.728.0381 | uklemm@pa.gov