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History of State and Federal Prisons

Krysta Nasce

CJS/230

1/09/2013

Instructor: Richard Angelozzi

What is the history of state and federal prison?

Prisons, unlike jails, confine felons sentenced to longer then a year to serve their sentence within the facilities. They are operated by state governments but the Federal Bureau of Prisons also houses federal offenders in Federal penitentiaries. Since its establishment of prisons within the United States, over-crowding has always been a growing problem in both state and federal prisons. Since the beginning of the first state penitentiary in America, which was Walnut Street Jail led by Dr. Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia in 1790, officials and scholars have always been looking for more humane and reformed alternatives to punishments for criminals. Through the years state prisons have found ways of making the penitentiaries more humane and reformed through public work services and other forms of labor. In the 1930s, state prisons developed prison work camps in which inmates would be made to work various labor jobs as “slaves of the state”. Today prisons are much different where they do offer labor programs in some states, prisons are more for reforming the criminals through educational and religious programs. As well as work there is also the variety of security levels for prisons present today which are: Maximum-security prisons, Close high-security prisons, Medium-security prisons, Minimum-security prisons, and Open-security prisons. Most state prisons have multilevel prisons to house various levels of securities depending on the offender. State prisons aren’t the only one that has history throughout the years, as there is also Federal prison. Congress passed the “Three Prisons Act” in 1891, establishing the Federal Prison System implementing the first three prisons: USP Leavenworth, USP Atlanta, and USP McNeil Island. Throughout the years of federal...
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