CJA-204-Prisons and Jails
CJA-204-Prisons and Jails
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Date Created: 11/15/15
Page 1 United States Prison and Jail Systems United States Prison and Jail Systems Page 2 In the United States of America, prisons are a place where a convicted felon may be transferred to in order to serve the sentence they receive as punishment for the crime(s) they have committed. An inmate is physically confined and typically deprived of a variety of personal freedoms. There are four types of prisons in the US, minimum, medium, maximum and supermax. A minimum security prison is a prison with the lowest level of security that an inmate can be directly assigned to. Typically, this prison is referred to as a “Prison Farm” known for its work-oriented facility, and is reserved usually for “White Collar” criminals. A medium security prison provides firm supervision and exterior and interior control of the inmates. Inmates detained in this type of facility may possess a moderate risk of escape, as well as harm to other inmates, staff and the way the prison is run. Program opportunities and jobs exist should the inmate be willing to comply with the institutions rules and regulations. A maximum prison facility is designed and constructed to provide maximum external and internal control over the inmates. Supervision of inmates within a maximum security facility is constant in the form of physical barriers, check points and high security perimeters. Inmates of this status pose high escape risks and serious threats to themselves, other inmates within the prison, prison staff, and the orderly running of the institution. A supermax facility provides maximum security far beyond that of the maximum security prison. This type of prison houses the “worst of the worst” criminals and terrorists who pose national threats to the nation’s security. Inmates within this facility are on lockdown 23 hours of the day and are held in their own individual cells. They receive meals through a small hole in the door called “chuck holes” and are allowed an hour each day alone to be used for exercise. United States Prison and Jail Systems Page 3 The general public often refers to prisons or jails as one in the same. Jails are used by local jurisdiction such as cities and counties to confine people for a short period of time. In a prison, which is administered by the state, most convicted criminals will serve much longer sentences. In jail, you will typically find individuals who are awaiting trial, people that have not yet been bailed out, people who have been picked up on suspicion of committing a crime, and individuals who are service a short sentence. Both prisons and jails are a large party of the criminal justice system, which also includes law enforcement, courts and crime labs. In the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s, states, cities, and counties established community- based correction programs that provided rehabilitation services such as counseling, schooling of basic living skills, job training and work placement for convicted offenders, while allowing them to maintain their normal friendships and relationships. The goal of these facilities and programs was to avoid the highly secured prison cells, and receive punishments appropriate to the crime that was committed. These facilities also helped with the overcrowding taking place in the country’s prisons and jails. Within prison and jail cells, there are many violent threats. Most ethnicity groups stick together, and will argue amongst other groups. Inmates can fight amongst their own “groups” as well, and often have weapons made out of items available within the facility or from items that have been snuck into the facility. Many inmates are victims of violence because of who they socialize with, because of their sexuality, and sometimes even because of their good behavior. Inmates are sexually assaulted often within prisons, not just assaulted with weapons. United States Prison and Jail Systems Page 4 Good relationships between inmates and the corrections officers can decrease the chances of violence to the staff of a prison. Correction officers do not necessarily befriend the inmates, but they treat them with respect and in return are treated with the same. Correction officers often use communication to resolve conflicts within the prisons. Upon release of an inmate from a prison, they will typically be placed on parole. Parole is the conditional release of an inmate after service all or part of their sentence, which allows them to live in a specified community. A parolee is to abide by certain rules implemented by the board of parole and commission, which usually include scheduled follow- ups, drug or alcohol testing, and permission to relocate. Some prisoners have been release earlier then their sentence date of release as a reward for good behavior. Truth in Sentencing is a concept developed by some advocates of the criminal justice who argue that inmates should service the majority of their sentence (85%), rather than be released early on parole. These advocates feel that criminals will think twice before committing a crime, knowing that majority of their sentence will be served, which protects the general public from crime, or a criminal release early. Arguments can be made, however, that holding inmates for longer periods will increase the population in prisons, contributing to the overcrowding, and will increase the overhead costs of running the facility. Also, many believe that if inmates are not rewarded for good behavior, they may stop trying to behave well and resort to troublesome or violent behavior. United States Prison and Jail System Page 5 Prisons and jails have a working system. If you commit a crime, you will do the time, whether the time is served in a community correction facility where you may also obtain counseling, in a jail while you await sentencing, or served in a highly secured prison facility for a longer period of time. Our criminal justice system is constantly developing ways to decrease violence and create an order among the facilities that will punish and hopefully teach the inmates a lesson. References Law.jrank.org (2010). Corrections – Community Based Corrections. Retrieved on June 2, 2010 from http://law.jrank.org/pages/12055/Corrections- Community-based-corrections.html S.E. Smith (2003-2010). What is the difference between jail and prison? Retrieved on June 2, 2010 from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the- difference-between-a-jail-and-a-prison.htm Wikipedia.org (n.d.) Prison. Retrieved on June 2, 2010 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison Findarticles.com (2010). Program curbs prison violence through conflict resolution. Retrieved on June 2, 2010 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6399/is_n5_v56/ai_n28642028/ Criminal-law.com (1995-2010). Parole Probation. Retrieved on June 2, 2010 from http://criminal- law.freeadvice.com/parole_probation/probation_parole_pardon.htm S.E. Smith (2003-2010). What is Truth in Sentencing? Retrieved on June 2, 2010 from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-truth-in-sentencing.htm
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