Begin Main Content Area

​Digital Photo Upload System FAQ

The Digital Photo Upload System is a photo service provided by the Department of Corrections (DOC) through the Department of General Services (DGS) Bureau of Publications. Instead of printing photos and mailing them to Smart Communications families can now upload photos directly from their electronic device to the DOC for printing and delivery. The Digital Photo Upload System will pilot at State Correctional Institution Camp Hill beginning January 30, 2020. 

Questions about the DOC’s Digital Photo Upload system can be emailed to RA-CRMailProcedures@pa.gov

Expand AllClick here for a more accessible version
How do I access the digital Photo Upload System?

The digital photo upload system is accessed through the inmate locator. To access the inmate locater, click on the Inmate/Parolee Locator button above.

Inmate Locator.png

Once on this page search for the inmate you would like to send photos to by entering in the search criteria. Once you have located the inmate you would like to send photos to, please click the "upload photos" button that appears. This button will take you to the digital photo upload system.

How can I set up an account?

The digital photo upload system is accessed through the inmate locator. To access the inmate locater please click on the Inmate/Parolee Locator button above. Once on this page search for the inmate you would like to send photos to by entering in the search criteria. Once you have located the inmate you would like to send photos to please click "upload photos" button. The next page will list two actions "Login with Keystone" and "Register a Keystone Account." If you do not already have a Digital Photo Upload Account please register for one by clicking "Register a Keystone Account." and follow the prompt detailing how to set up an account.

Set Up Account.png

All required fields must be filled in in order to set up a Digital Photo Upload Account. The first and last name submitted must be the first and last name of the sender creating the account. The DOC will not accept photos from accounts created in the name of an inmate. An email is also required. Accounts that are registered without emails will not receive notifications from the digital photo upload system. It is the responsibility of the sender to make sure their digital photo upload system account is registered to a working email address if they would like to receive notifications. 

Digital-Upload-Password.png

Upload Register.png

Upload Register2.png

Once you receive notice that your account has been created successfully return back to the original login page and log in to your account. 

How does the digital photo upload system work?

When photos are uploaded to the system they are made available for viewing by the mailroom where the inmate recipient is located. Before printing the photos the mailroom must approve or deny the photos for content. If approved the photos will be sent digitally to the Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS) Bureau of Publications for printing. Once printed DGS will ship the photos to the coordinating mailroom, and the mailroom will deliver the photo to inmates. The electronic copy of the photo will be held in the system for 45 days and then it will be securely deleted from the system.

What is the Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS) Bureau of Publications?

DGS's Bureau of Publications operates the Commonwealth's in-house design and print-to-mail services. It's a large professional print shop that prints materials for the state government. DGS is owned and operated by the Pennsylvania State Government. 

How will my photos be handled by DGS? Will they be able to view my photos?

The DOC has entered into a Memorandum of Understating (MOU) with DGS to ensure the security of these photos. Per the MOU DGS staff are not permitted to view your photos. DGS will print all photos by institution. Each institution photo pile will feature a front and back cover page detailing the institution the photos are intended for and the mailing address they should be sent to. After printing DGS will immediately put the photo pile in a shipping box, seal it, and address it to the receiving institutions.

How many photos can an inmate receive?

​An inmate is permitted to receive five photos a month per the Digital Photo Upload System. There is no limit to the amount of photos an inmate can receive through Smart Communications. 

​How many photos can I send?

Each outside participant is permitted to send at most two photos a day per inmate. Each inmate is permitted to receive at most five photos a month.

I tried sending an inmate photos, however it says they are out of photos for the month?

​Yes, each inmate is permitted to receive five photos a month. Once an inmate has received five photos, their account will not be able to receive photos until the first of the following month. 

Will my photos be resized or edited by the electronic upload system?

The system will resize photos based on a 6 inch width for printing purposes. The maximum size of the stored photos is 5.99 MB. The DOC requires all submitted photos be at least 300 DPI as well.

I uploaded the incorrect photos or have decided I do not want the inmate to receive the photos I uploaded. Can I have them deleted?

No, once a photo is uploaded it cannot be deleted. It will be reviewed by the mailroom staff and approved or denied. If approved the photo will count towards the inmate's five monthly photo maximum and it will be printed and delivered to the inmate. If the photo is denied it will not be given to the inmate and the inmate will be notified of the denial. The inmate may appeal the photo denial, and if through the appeals process it is determined the inmate may have the photo, it will be printed and given to the inmate.

What kind of photo print is the inmate given?

Approved and accepted photos submitted through the Digital Photo Upload System will be printed on higher quality paper through an industrial inkjet printer. There will be two photos per page. All pages are 8.5 by 11 in size. Inmates who receive an odd number of photos will receive half pages with one photo printed on them.

What does it mean when my “photo submission failed?”

The system requires photo files be JPEG, JPG, PNG, or GIF and the quality of the photos be at least 300 DPI. Furthermore, the system requires photo files be no larger than 5.99 MB. If you received the "photo submission failed" message after attempting to submit a photo this is because your photo did not meet one of the requirements listed above. Please try submitting a different photo, or a different version of the original photo.

What will the turnaround time be for these photos?

​The DOC estimates the turn-around time for the digital photo upload system could take up to two weeks.

Can I still send photobooks or photographs through the general incoming correspondence if I use the digital photo upload system?

Yes, there is no limit to the amount of photobooks or photos that can be sent through the DOC's other mailing procedures. For more information about the policies and procedures surrounding photobooks and photos sent through the general incoming correspondence system please view our mail page.

Can I pay to send more than the allotted five photos a month per inmate?

​At this time, no. Inmates may only receive the five free photos provided by the DOC. 

Why would my photo be denied?

At the facility, each photo will be inspected to ensure the photos comply with DOC policy – specifically, photographs containing obscenity, explicit sexual material or nudity, as outlined in Section 2 of the DC-ADM 803, Inmate Mail and Incoming Publications Procedures Manual are prohibited. All photos containing prohibited imagery will be denied. Both the sender and the inmate will be notified of this denial. The inmate will be given a Notice of Photo Denial Form explaining the denial and the appeal process. Upon this denial if the inmate wishes to appeal they have 15 working days to notify the Facility Manager in writing, in accordance with the DC-ADM 804 Inmate Grievance System policy. The sender will receive an email notification explaining the denial and the appeal process. Senders may appeal the denial of their photos to the Office of Policy, Grants, and Legislative Affairs via email by emailing  RA-CRDOCPOLICY@pa.gov.

What happens to my photo when it is denied?

Denied photos are held in a separate que in the system for 120 days. The photos are held for 120 days to ensure they will last the grievance process should the inmate or sender appeal the denial. After 120 days the photos will be securely deleted from the system.

Can the sender appeal the photo denial?

Yes. Senders who have registered their digital photo upload account to an email address will receive email notification immediately if a photo they have submitted has been denied.  This email notification will give instructions on how to appeal the denial, and all appeals must be submitted within 15 working days from the time the email notification is sent. Senders who do not register their digital photo upload account to an email address will not receive email notification if a photo they have submitted has been denied. Without this email notification the sender may miss the allotted appeal time frame. It is the responsibility of the sender to ensure their digital photo upload account is registered to a correct and active email account.

Will my denied photos count towards the inmate's maximum five a month quota?

​Yes, a photo that is uploaded and is denied for being out of compliance with the ADM 803, Inmate Mail and Incoming Publications Procedures Manual will count towards the maximum five a month quota.

I received a message stating I have been blocked from sending photos to a specific inmate. What does this mean?

Per the PADOC DC-ADM 803 Inmate Mail and Incoming Publications Procedures Manual the DOC does not allow inmates to correspondence with current or former co-defendants or victims of the inmate’s crimes without prior approval from the facility manager. If you were blocked from sending photos to a specific inmate it’s because you were identified as being a current or former co-defendant or the victim of the inmate’s crimes without approval from the facility manager for correspondence. Please reach out to the facility where the inmate is located for more information.

I received a message stating I have been blocked from sending photos to all inmates. What does this mean?

Per the PADOC DC-ADM 803 Inmate Mail and Incoming Publications Procedures Manual the DOC does not allow inmates to correspondence with a current or former inmate, current of former parolee or probationer, current of former contract employee, or current or former volunteer without prior approval from the facility manager. If you were blocked from sending photos to all inmates it’s because you were identified as being a current or former inmate, current of former parolee or probationer, current of former contract employee, or current or former volunteer without facility manager approval to correspond with inmates. Please reach out to the facility where the inmate is located for more information.

My incarcerated loved one reports someone they don’t know or someone they don’t want to be corresponding with keeps sending unwanted photos, and they are wasting their five free photos a month. What can my loved one do about this?

For general incoming correspondence it’s the responsibility of the inmate to contact the sender and inform them they do not want to be contacted; however, because this is a free limited service provided by the DOC we will allow inmates to request to block senders they do not want to be contacted by.  In order to facilitate this the inmate can write to their Mailroom Supervisor and request to have the unwanted sender blocked from sending them photos. Once this request is finalized the inmate cannot request to have the blocked sender unblocked.

Can I use the Digital Photo Upload System to send photos to individuals in Community Corrections Centers or individuals on parole?

​No, the Digital Photo Upload System is only available to inmates located in a Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution or individuals at the DOC's Quehanna Boot Camp 

I uploaded photo(s) that were accepted; however, the inmate never received them. Who can I contact?

Please reach out via email to the RA-CRMailProcedures@pa.gov resource email. Please include the following information.

  • The day the photo was submitted
  • The inmate it was sent to
  • Your account username
  • The email linked to your digital photo upload account 
I uploaded photos that were denied but I, the sender, was never notified. Who can I contact?

​In order to receive notifications, like a notice of photo denial, from the Digital Photo Upload System the sender must have an email registered to their Digital Photo Upload Account. It is the responsibility of the sender to ensure they have an up to date and operating email registered to their Digital Photo Upload account. 

I uploaded photos that were denied but the inmate was never notified. Who can I contact?

​Please reach out to the mailroom supervisor at the institution where the inmate is located. 

I’m having issues with digital photo upload account. Who can I contact?

Please reach out via email to the RA-CRMailProcedures@pa.gov resource email. Please include the following information.

  • Your account username
  • The email linked to your digital photo upload account
  • A description of the issue you are experiencing
I have some general questions about the Digital Photo Upload System. Who can I contact?

​Please reach out via email to the RA-CRMailProcedures@pa.gov resource email. Please include a detailed description of your question.