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Understanding State and Federal Prisons Essay

Certain laws govern the state and upon violation of these laws, individuals are subjected to court trials where they are convicted. Those convicted individuals are also called criminals and are sentenced with specific punishments. A common form of punishment that awaits criminals is incarceration where they are kept in prisons. Prisons are institutions designed to securely accommodate persons who are convicted of crimes and are then called prisoners (Champion, 2006). There are two systems of prisons in the United States, namely, state prison and federal prison.

It is the goal of this paper to examine the similarities and differences of these two prison systems. State Prison The concept of imprisonment has long been standing in history. It is interesting to note that even in the earliest books of the bible, such concept has already existed. This can be evident in the famous dungeons of ancient civilizations where persons who displease the monarchy are sent (Champions, 2006). It is in this line of principle that modern prison facilities are derived.

Penitentiaries erupted in the 18th century after the era of gallows and public execution of criminals. It is from these model penitentiaries that the first state prisons were designed (Foster, 2006, p. 121). The first buildings employed in the state prisons are those that have high walls and strict security. Later on, modern facilities were built that no longer employ this type of architecture. At present, state prisons are not just single building facilities but rather are a network of different institutions that cater to the correctional needs of the prisoners.

Such institutions include juvenile training schools, work release and halfway house facilities, juvenile group homes and juvenile detention facilities (Foster, 2006, p. 122). Also, other institutions can be women prisons, medical facilities and boot camps (Champion, 2006). These various facilities help in amending the prisoners’ personality and character to make them prepared for release. Furthermore, these institutions serve specific requirements such as rehabilitation of juveniles in correctional institutions.

State prisons have different security levels. This range from high security to open security facilities. Presently, state prisons are graded into five security levels, namely, maximum security, closed-high security, medium security, minimum security and open security. The rules and regulations in these different levels vary to suit the behavior of different prisoners. Criminals that are locked up in state prisons are those that violate state governed laws. Such criminals have offenses ranging from petty crimes to murders worthy of the death penalty.

Furthermore, Foster (2006) enumerated different state prisons throughout the United States to have a better view of state prison systems (p. 125). Five state prisons are included in the list, which are North Dakota, California, Texas, Louisiana and Minnesota (Foster, 2006, p. 133). In all of the five prison states, it is easy to note that all follow the different levels of security with only slight variations. And since state prisons have independent jurisdictions for their respective states, each prison has unique ways on how they treat their prisoners and the facilities they provide.

Moreover, the architecture of the prison buildings also varies from state to state. Federal Prison The other type of prison system is the federal prison. Federal prisons are believed to be modeled from state prisons (Foster, 2006, p. 121). Before the creation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the federal prisoners are housed on local and state prisons scattered throughout the nation. However, upon the end of the Civil War, federal prisoners began to rise in number that created the necessity to establish a centralized management for all federal prisoners.

Due to this need, the Federal Bureau of Prisons was founded (Foster, 2006, p. 134). Upon this directive, many federal prisons were constructed across the nation which serves as houses for federal prisoners. One of the many famous federal prisons is the Alcatraz where prisoners needing super high security are detained (Champion, 2006). In federal prisons, different types of institutions can also be observed, much like that of state prisons. Nevertheless, federal prison system has a greater number of institutions since they regulate larger territories.

The federal prison system actually consists of more than 100 institutions by 2003 (Foster, 2006, p. 138). Prisoners in the federal prisons, vary from drug-related offenses to other violations of federal law. They are considered the cream of all other prisoners (Foster, 2006, p. 141). Federal prison is classified to different security levels as well. These five levels include minimum, low, medium, high and administrative security (Foster, 2006, p. 139).

Throughout these levels, security increases via increase in the number of personnel in charge compared to the number of prisoners. Conclusion Although the two prison systems, specifically, state and federal prison actually should differ only in the range and scope of which they administer, there have been various differences that are observed between state and federal prisons. State prisons have little or no enormous budget to expand their facilities while federal prisons get all the funding they need to further develop the institutions and facilities they administrate.

Due to this observation, it is not surprising to further find out that those persons who are in federal prisons are more well-to-do than state prisoners. And also because of this advantage over state prisons, federal prison administration and management get more training and workshops regarding security control than state prison administrative and managing staff members. In summary, state prisons oversee those offenses done within distinct states while federal prisoners are individuals whose offenses are grounded on federal laws.


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