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Federal Prison Comparison Pape - Research Paper Example

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Federal Prison Systems: A Comparison Overview The federal prison system was established by the US Congress in 1930 for incarcerating, protecting, disciplining and caring for “all persons charged or convicted of offenses against the United States” (Clear, et al 2011, p…
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Download file to see previous pages Ultimately there are fewer violent offenders in federal prisons than state prisons because a majority of federal crimes are non-violent/commercial crimes. State prisons originate from colonial times, and evolved from the prisons that were established to house criminals who offended the laws against the crown (Clear et al, 2011). Between 1900 and 1970 the prison population in the US was moderate, housing from 90 to 120 prisoners for each 100,000 citizens. However, with more than 35 years of “steady growth” the prison population is currently five times greater than it was in 1973 representing the largest prison population in the country’s history (Clear et al, 2011, p. 6). There have been many attempts to explain the prions population growth in the US. Gaines and Miller (2011) identified a number of contributing factors. The prions population growth in the US can be attributed to the get tough on crime policies that began in the 1980s. The get tough on crime policies introduced a number of strategies that resulted in mandatory imprisonment. One such strategy in a number of states is the three strikes policy which calls for mandatory incarceration for repeat offenders. Another policy is the longer prison sentencing strategies. With fewer prisoners eligible for parole, the prison population grows because new offenders are introduced into the system and few prisoners are released. Another explanation given for the prison population growth is the fact that there have been more crimes as criminals become more sophisticated and technology aids in the commission of criminal activities (Gaines & Miller, 2011). Security State Prisons State prison systems design their own security systems but they are generally the same among the 50 states. The North Carolina Department of Correction provides an example of the security levels in US state prisons. Prisoners enter the prison system from a county jail for the most part. Upon entering the state prison prisoners are assessed for risks and security risks are balanced against the needs of programs. Newly admitted prisoners are evaluated for security risks and are also subjected to medical and mental health evaluations in the risk assessment process. A number of factors including the crime, social demographics, education, job experience, and criminal history are taken into account (North Carolina Department of Corrections, 2011). Once the prisoner’s evaluation is completed he/she is placed in the appropriate “custodial level”. The custodial levels are classified as close (maximum), medium, minimum 1, minimum II and minimum III. Close of maximum security is a custodial level where inmates assessed to have the highest security risks are placed. Medium security houses prisoners who are at a lower security risk than prisoners placed in close security. Prisoners who pose a low security risk are placed in minimum III (North Carolina Department of Corrections, 2011). Federal Prisons The Federal Bureau of Prisons (n.d.) lists four security levels in the federal prison system. The four security systems are minimum security, low security, medium security and high security. Minimum security prisons are also referred to as Federal Prison Camps and have “dormitory housing, a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio” and “limited or no perimeter fencing” (Federal Bureau of Prisons, n.d.). Low security prisons on the other hand have “double-fenced perimeters” ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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