The Difference Between State and Federal Prisons

The Difference Between State and Federal Prisons

            Prisons andpenitentiaries are facilities that serve the purpose of confining convicts and taking from them varied forms of freedom. Purposely, they are meant to make a person penitent. As such, a convictreflects on their misdeeds and should hence reform (Foster, 2006).
            Stateprisons are centers in which more hardened andserious criminals/offenders serve sentences. Forinstance, the system may be used to lock up felony committers and sentences oft run to more than a year. Such centers are under the jurisdictions of state governments as opposed to the federalprisons that are used to confine inmates whoviolate the federal laws andimmigrants. Federal governments and Prisons Bureau operate the federalprisons (Foster, 2006).
            In therecent past, increased crime levels have witnessed a growth in the populations of incarcerated individuals. Thefluctuating rates of crime have beatenthe logic of overly strict policies that were created to govern sentencing in the past four decades. Moreover, state policies that have been adopted by differentstates have also played a factor in the same (Foster, 2006). Policies such as mandatory sentencing, elongated sentences formultiple crimes and even theincreased criminalization of activitiesconnected to drugs have played thepole positions.
            To note is the fact the state prisonshave been overpopulated, but not so much by the violent offenders as by the nonviolent. An instance for which even debtors stillget imprisoned even though suchprisons had long ceased to operate. The states should hence review some of the laws and policies to curbthe vice of overpopulation. The correction professionals should also adopt rehabilitation measures. Rehabilitation is even cheaper and moreefficient as criminals do not leave thecenters hardened (Foster, 2006).

Security Levels in Prisons

            There have instances in which convicts break out of penitentiary centers. States and thecentral government have come up with measures meant to ensure the safety of the general public and alsokeep the inmates to serve their full sentences.
            Depending on the level of crime/offense committed and sentence that a convict may be serving, state prisons are grouped into two. The first are majorinstitutions for the average to maximumsecurity. Inmates committed to centers like such are extreme violators of the law. Correctional units are used forlesser security levels though inmates must exhibit behavior that is non-disruptive (Foster, 2006).
            Severalfeatures including security patrols, barriers, towers andthe housing system influence thesecurity level in a prison. The federal camps that leanmore towards labor and work have a housing system that assumes a dormitory model and a low ratio of staff to inmates. There is also limited or totallyabsent perimeter fencing. Operations at the state prisons, on the other hand, have theprojections of several cell blocks usuallycentrally operated or with secure dormitoriesthat house close to fifty inmates. A barrier designed with a double fence is used to safeguard the perimeters and patrols coupled with watch towers are used to monitor theprison compounds. On that basis, thestate prisons are further divided into a maximum, close, andmedium security (Foster, 2006).
            The varied strict measures that mark the level of punishment that a convict is undergoing projects the difference between state and federal prisons. In state prisons, themovement of inmates is closely monitored and restricted. Thefreedom of the inmates is also limitedand many a times, they are only allowed one hour of movement in a day. The measures slightlycontrast the federal systems’ thatfreedom is not so limited and security not so tight (Foster, 2006).

Improvements That Should be Made by the U.S Government on Security Level

            The security levels in the state prisons have on manyoccasions led to the creation of hardenedcriminals. Reducing the effect would involvethe use of moredetailed sentencing method and further division of the centers. First-time offenders, however serious, should be committed to separate confinementwhere they are not exposed to the influenced of the hardened criminals. More rehabilitationmeasures should also be taken to curtail theviolence levels in the centers.
            However, stronger security measures should be implemented in the federal system. The perimeters should be tightly secured with watchtowers, patrols and barriers to reduce the temptation of conducting a breakout.




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

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