Prisons exist to house those who have violated the law and to keep them out of society. Inmates are imprisoned for a specific amount of time and have very limited liberties while they are there. There are numerous distinct sorts of jails, even though they all serve the same basic purpose.
The Difference Between Jail and Prison
While some individuals confuse the terms jail and prison, they are two distinct sorts of institutions. A jail, sometimes known as a county jail, is a privately run facility that only holds convicts for a limited period. In most cases, prisons are used to house convicts awaiting a trial or sentencing or serving a term of less than one year.
On the other hand, a prison may be run by the federal government or by the state, and convicts may be held for a longer period. After being sentenced and serving time in jail, some convicts will be transferred to a prison. Inmates who are serving a sentence of more than one year are also housed in prisons.
While each jail or prison has its unique environment, all convicts are entitled to the same necessities: food, water, shelter, and bathroom facilities. Depending on the type of institution and the inmate’s conduct, they may be permitted to have extras such as a radio, TV, books, or food; interaction with other inmates; and use of amenities like as the library or exercise room.
State Prisons Vs. Federal Prisons
The Bureau of Prisons, which is part of the Department of Justice, is in federal prisons. Most criminals will be sent to federal jail rather than state prison if the offense is federal. Even if they are federal, violent crimes frequently result in the offender being sent to a state jail.
In the United States, state prisons outnumber federal prisons, and each state has its prison system. While state jail systems are similar in many ways, they all have their distinct characteristics. Each state has complete control over how their penitentiary system is managed.
The duration of the sentence is one area where federal prisons varies significantly from state prisons. Because federal prisons do not provide parole, convicts tend to spend longer time here than in state prisons, where parole is more likely.
Here is the complete list of types of prison that you should know about.
1. State Prisons
Offenders who have committed state offenses such as assault, arson, robbery, or homicide are housed in state prisons. Each state has its own set of laws governing the prison system, and the differences between them may be significant. States differ on death punishment, the percentage of prisoners released on probation, and the racial composition of their prison populations.
2. Federal Prison
Federal offenses such as drug trafficking, identity theft, tax fraud, and child pornography have been brought against inmates in federal prisons. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, there are 122 federal prisons in the United States, housing more than 151,000 inmates (BOP). 2 When deciding which prison an offender will be placed to, a variety of criteria are examined, including the offender’s offense and prior criminal record, mental and physical health, and closeness to family.
Federal prisons can be classified into one of five categories of security, each designed to fulfill the specific demands of its inmates.
A juvenile is a person who is under the age of eighteen years old. No one under the age of 18 is ever held in a general jail with adults. Instead, they are housed in an institution dedicated just to minors.
Psychiatric Jails Criminals who are considered mentally ill are transported to psychiatric prisons built to seem like hospitals. The convicts, or patients, get psychiatric treatment for their mental illnesses once they arrive. Like any other jail that focuses on rehabilitation, psychiatric prisons are designed to heal individuals rather than simply imprison them as a form of punishment.
Military service branches each have their prisons, which imprison military personnel who have breached laws affecting national security or house prisoners of war. In recent years, the treatment of these detainees has sparked heated discussion, with the concept of torture for enemy combatants becoming a contentious and frequently debated topic.
3. Minimum Security Prisons
A Federal Jail Camp is another name for a low security prison (FPC). The majority of persons who end up in a minimal security jail are white collar criminals who have committed crimes like fraud or embezzlement. While the crimes are nevertheless regarded severe, the offenders are not considered dangerous — they do not pose the same threat of violence as other inmates.
White collar offenders are transferred to minimal security prisons, where they will be housed in dorms. In addition, there are fewer guards here, and inmates have greater personal freedom than in higher-security prisons. There is also little to no perimeter fence at these institutions.
Work programs or other sorts of activities are available in many minimal security prisons. They’re also frequently seen near a university or on a military post. Inmates may be able to assist with labor demands at a neighboring facility or base.
4. Low Security Prisons
A Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) is a low-security jail with a double-fenced perimeter and either cubicle or dormitory-style accommodation. They generally have job programs or other sorts of programming, just as low security prisons. While the staff-to-inmate ratio isn’t very high, it is higher than in a minimum-security prison.
5. Medium Security Prisons
The majority of offenders are sentenced to a medium-security prison. These are the jails you’re probably most familiar with, with cage or cell-style accommodation, a rigid daily regimen, and armed guards. Rigorous perimeters, such as double fencing with electronic detention systems, a high staff-to-inmate ratio, and various strong internal controls are all hallmarks of medium security prisons. In addition, these institutions provide a variety of jobs and other activities.
6. High Security or Maximum Security Prisons
Maximum security prisons, often known as high security prisons, are reserved for the most dangerous and violent criminals. In a maximum-security jail, everyone is considered a high-risk inmate. The staff maintains a tight watch on the convicts, and these institutions have an extremely high employee-to-inmate ratio. While these jails include multi-occupant cells, they also have single-occupant cells.
A maximum security jail has more guards than a minimal or medium security prison. In addition, those imprisoned in a high security jail have very limited personal liberties. The perimeters are well-protected, with towering walls or reinforced fences.
7. Administrative Prisons
Federal administrative prisons are for inmates who are terminally sick or require special treatment. People who are too dangerous even for high-security prisons fall into this category.
8. Supermax Facilities Prisons
A supermax jail is a high-security prison within a high-security prison. This is where the most dangerous and hardened offenders are housed, as well as the convicts who are difficult to govern.
A supermax facility’s principal objective is to keep everyone safe, including convicts, prison personnel, and the general public. If an offender has displayed aggressive conduct towards a staff member or another inmate, or if they have seemed to have difficulties following the rules in previous, lesser security prisons, they will be placed here. Prisoners on death row or inmates who belong to a particular demographic may be housed in supermax prisons.
In many supermax prisons, convicts are kept in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours each day. In these situations, inmates are not permitted to eat, work, attend religious rituals, or exercise together. In contrast to other forms of solitary confinement in less security prisons, where isolation is a form of temporary punishment, this type of solitary confinement is permanent.
9. Ankle Bracelets for Home Detention Prisons (House Arrest)
Electronic ankle bracelets are being utilized instead of putting a criminal in prison in several jurisdictions around the United States. Overcrowding and the expensive expense of putting a person in jail are problems in the criminal justice system, which is why an ankle bracelet is a good solution for some criminals. Ankle bracelets are used to keep people at home or in certain locations, such as work or school.
Ankle bracelets are strong and waterproof, and the wearer cannot take them off. The authorities will be alerted if the device is tampered with or if the wearer attempts to remove it. Many ankle bands are connected to a GPS and may be tracked.
10. Halfway Houses Prisons
A halfway house is a residence for persons who might otherwise be incarcerated. Halfway homes can be operated locally, by the state, or by the federal government. Here you will find prisoners who are either serving an alternative term or have been released from jail into a halfway home.
- A person at a halfway house usually fits into one of three categories:
- They are undergoing treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction.
- They are receiving treatment for a mental health problem.
- They are learning how to re-enter society after being incarcerated.
11. Juvenile Options
A juvenile is a person who is under the age of eighteen. Adults are not housed in the same jail as juveniles. Instead, they are placed in an institution or program dedicated to juveniles. In juvenile court, there are a variety of sentencing alternatives available, ranging from imprisonment to non-incarceration.
Family confinement or house arrest; placement with a relative or in a foster home; incarceration in a juvenile detention facility; or probation following incarceration in a juvenile detention facility are all alternatives for incarceration. A child may be transferred to an adult jail on rare occasions, depending on the facts of the case.
There are also several alternatives to imprisonment. Verbal warnings, fines, mandated therapy or community work, electronic monitoring through a wrist or ankle band, or probation are some of these options.
When a youngster is placed in a juvenile detention facility or juvenile hall, the structure and routine will be comparable to regular jail or prison.
12. Military Prisons
Each military branch has its jail where any military employee who has breached the law is held, especially if the offense threatens national security. Prisoners of war are also held in military prisons.
13. Podular Jails
A podular jail, also known as a direct supervision jail, differs from traditional jails with rows of cells. The inmates in a podular jail are housed in units or pods built around a shared central space. This enables more consistent and direct surveillance of the convicts to prevent bad conduct. Because there is too much interaction with other convicts, which might lead to issues, this is not the sort of confinement that would be utilized for dangerous criminals.
14. Psychiatric Prisons
A person will be committed to a psychiatric jail if they break the law but are deemed mentally unfit for a conventional prison. These prions are similar to hospitals, and they are where inmates may receive treatment for their mental illnesses. Psychiatric jails attempt to treat inmates rather than merely confine them.
15. Women’s Correctional Facilities
Female and male inmates are housed in separate facilities for security concerns. The majority of the jails listed above have a male-only population. Women’s correctional institutions are used to house female criminals.
Both the state and federal governments manage women’s correctional institutions. The prison’s security level varies, since their offences range from minor infractions to major felonies.
16. Private Prisons
For decades, the privatization of prisons has been underway. It has also sparked a lot of discussion and demonstrations. In essence, these are private prisons that the government has hired to house criminals. In other words, the government pays them to imprison individuals.
According to the Bureau of Prisons, roughly 10% of American convicts are housed in private prisons around the country.
17. Immigration Detention Centers
Immigration detention centers house undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers. The majority of them are managed by the federal government and are generally housed within a criminal prison.
According to most reports, the living conditions at these prison institutions are deplorable. Detainees are restricted in their movements. At best, the sleeping arrangements are deplorable, and at worst, cruel.