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State and Federal Prison Systems

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State and Federal Prison Systems

Leslie Cable

4/12/2013

CJS/230

Larry Doyle

State prisons hold people who are arrested by local police and sheriff departments. Federal prisons hold people who are arrested by the federal bureau of investigations (FBI). The state and federal prisons have security levels for every type of prisoners. State prisons are run by the department of corrections while the federal prisons are run by the justice department. “The Federal Bureau of Prisons was created by an act of Congress and signed into law by President Herbert Hoover on May 14, 1930,” (Foster, 2006, Pg. 134). State prisons have more inmates than they do staff while federal prisons have more staff than they do prisoners.

An example of a state prison is San Quentin state prison in California. San Quentin was opened in the 1850s and housed both men and women prisoners. In 1933, the women’s prison at Tehachapi was built. Tehachapi was shut down after an earthquake hit it in July 1952 then it was reopened as a men’s prison three years later. “Despite periodic schemes to shut it down – “the prison that would not die” – San Quentin held nearly 6,000 inmates in 2003,” (Foster, 2006, Pg. 127).

The only way I could explain the growth of state prisons is that more people are arrested for crimes than ever before. People are committing more crimes than he is or she is used to and then are sentenced to prison time. More people are arrested for drug related crimes. If people were helped while behind bars then maybe he or she would be able stay off drugs.

U. S. corrections professionals can solve the problem of exponential growth in state prison systems by allowing prisoners to receive the help that he or she needs while in prison. If prisoners were treated for his or her mental illness, alcohol dependency, or drug addiction, then people would not be repeat offenders. People would be arrested the first time, receive help or treatment while there, and then not go back to prison. The corrections professionals just can help people who do not have common sense or are just plain stupid.

The security levels in state prisons are maximum, close high, medium, minimum, and open security prisons. The federal level has minimum, small, standard, and high-security prisons and administrative facilities. Maximum-security prisons have the most security of the state prisons. They are older, larger, walled penitentiaries that have more guards than prisoners. Close high security prisons are like maximum-security prisons but are not that restrictive and there may be more inmates than there are guards.

Medium security prisons are the newer and smaller prisons with two fences instead of walls, dormitories or pod housing instead of cells, and there are about 35 percent of inmates are housed there. Minimum-security prisons have less security and less internal controls. Inmates here have worked his or her way down from the other levels of security and set to be released from prison. Open security facilities are halfway houses, release centers, prerelease centers, or any other type of community-based facility.

Minimum-security prisons at the federal level are federal prison camps. Low security federal prisons have double fences and dormitories. Medium security federal prisons have stronger boundaries, cell housing, and more control over the inmates. High security federal prisons are much like every other penitentiary. Administrative security federal prisons hold illegal aliens before he or she is deported and medical cases.

The United States can improve security at the state and federal levels by making sure that each inmate is placed in the correct security level. If an inmate is known for running then that inmate should be placed in the maximum-security level. If an inmate with a medical condition that needs to be monitored then that inmate needs to be somewhere he or she can be watched. The U. S. needs to look at how an inmate committed his or her crime before an inmate is sentenced to prison time. That way a prisoner is at the correct security level that he or she needs to be at while serving his or her time.

Reference

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

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