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History of State and Federal Prisons Essay

The history of state and federal prisons have similar ideals; the state and federal systems have to rely on each other at times for housing each others criminals. A state prison is usually run by that particular states government and they house individuals that have committed crimes against the rules and sanctions of the each state also known as blue collar criminals; the federal prisons house individuals that have committed crimes against the rules and sanctions of the federal government and are called a white collar criminal. State and federal prison systems more or less have the same levels of security; low, minimum, high, max, and super-max. Before federal prisons were created prisoners that were on a federal level had to be housed within state and local prisons. The Federal Bureau of Prisons confines felons convicted of federal crimes and in several large cities pretrial defendants are held in federal jails pending trial (Foster, 2006).

The federal prison system began in the 1930’s when President J. Edgar Hoover passed and signed a bill that gave permission for the federal prison system to have a building or federal facility to house it’s prisoners. The first federal U.S. Penitentiary was created in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas this prison was constructed out of an old military prison prison (Foster, 2006). The state prison system was based and founded on the legal reforms of the 18th century “Age of Enlightenment, (Foster, 2006);” in the 19th century the state prison systems continued to base themselves around the Auburn model (Foster, 2006). Most states began with one state prison and now each state consists of more than 20 prisons, with the exception of the state of Texas that has 100 prison facilities. When state prison systems started men, women, and juvenile offenders were housed together up until it was determined that women, men, and children should have separate facilities to prevent sexual abuse, pregnancy, assault, and the impressionable surroundings of hardened criminals on juveniles.

The State facilities offer halfway houses for offenders to be able to go to work then come back to the house on a daily basis for a certain amount of time until the director of the halfway house History of State and Federal Prisons Page 2 and the courts feel as though a person is ready to be put back into society; rehabilitation facilities are also available to help criminals that are drug offenders, or any substance abuse offender kick their habit and give them mental support to stay on the straight and narrow. Overcrowding and funding are the biggest problems in the Department of Corrections today; I think that if we could go back to letting convicts do jobs while in prison and making them pay for their own crimes both with time and money earned from working while in prison this would cut down on the overcrowding as well as funding issues. History of State and Federal Prisons


Foster, B. (2006). Corrections: The fundamentals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

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