Jails and Prisons
When looking at the prison system today, there are several types of facilities used to house inmates. The type of facility that an offender is placed in is typically determined by the nature of the crime committed and mental status of the offender. The four most common types of prisons discussed are the federal prisons, state prisons, private prisons, and of course, the local and county jails. The major difference in the private prisons is that they are contracted out by the government to provide similar facilities as the federal and state prisons; however, these private facilities can free up space in the government institutions and prevent over-crowding. One of the biggest aspects of prison is that it is a “total institution.” What this means is that every aspect of an inmate’s life is under strict control. It is very similar to that of a military boot camp in the sense that a person’s individuality is stripped away as is his or her sense of self. All activities are designed to be performed as a group and geared toward one common rational goal. Although it is almost impossible to prevent, organized groups and gatherings are prohibited and one-on-one communication between inmates is limited. Jails and prisons are crucial part of our criminal justice system. These facilities provide a place for violent and habitual offenders to be housed to protect society. These facilities also serve as rehabilitative institutions that can allow offenders to receive treatment and counseling to allow them to become productive members of society upon their release. In the most severe cases, our jails and prisons can serve as a place for career criminals to spend the majority of their lives. Without the jail and prison system, there would be no safe place to house criminals, and they would continue to function in and prey on members of society.