Incarceration: Prison and Inmates

Topics: Prison, Crime, Criminal law Pages: 34 (10538 words) Published: November 23, 2010
Law enforcement officers are authorized by federal, state, and local lawmakers to arrest and confine persons suspected of crimes. The judicial system is authorized to confine persons convicted of crimes. This confinement, whether before or after a criminal conviction, is called incarceration.

Incarceration is one of the main forms of punishment for the commission of illegal offenses. Juveniles and adults alike are subject to incarceration. Incarceration is the detention of a person in a jail or prison.

The federal, state, and local governments have facilities to confine people. Individuals awaiting trial, being held pending citations for non-custodial offenses, and those convicted of misdemeanors (crimes which carry a sentence of less than one year), are generally held in jails. These less serious offenses may receive a short term sentence to be served in a local jail or to alternative forms of sanctions, such as community corrections (halfway house or house arrest).

There are other facilities for housing offenders. Facilities for holding convicted felons (offenders who commit crimes where the sentence is more than one year) are known as prisons. Prisons operate at different levels of security, ranging from minimum-security prisons (mainly house non-violent offenders) - to Supermax facilities (that house the more dangerous criminals).

The motives for incarceration has received much debate as to its effectiveness and fairness. This can be because the police can arrest and temporarily incarcerate a person charged with a minor offense that is punishable by a fine and no incarceration. The procedures leading to incarceration in jail, prison, or community sanctions may vary. History

According to Peter Spierenburg, a Dutch justice historian, a form of punishment that emerged around the year 1500 was penal bondage, which included all forms of incarceration. Spierenburg defined bondage as “any punishment that puts severe restrictions on the condemned person’s freedom of action and movement, including but not limited to imprisonment”. Several forms of penal bondage were imposed on criminals, vagrants, debtors, social misfits and others including forced labor on public works projects and forced conscription into military campaigns.

The French developed one of the earliest forms of incarceration. In France, prisoners were routinely assigned to French warships as galley slaves. This went on for at least 200 years. By the mid-1700s, they had begun to put convict to work in the shipyards. These prisoners were sheltered in arsenals at night were they slept chained to their beds. In the 1600s and 1700s, Germany and Switzerland practiced the public-works penalty with great popularity.

After corporal punishments, but before modern imprisonment, stood the workhouse or the house of correction. The development of workhouses was originally a humanitarian move intended to manage the unsettling social conditions in England. Bridewell was the first workhouse established in England. When workhouses were first enacted prisoners were paid for their work. Work included spinning, weaving, cloth making, the milling of grains, and baking. However, as the number of prisoners grew, the workhouse systems began to deteriorate.

The federal, state, and local governments have laws about confining people. These governments follow their own set of laws that coincide with each others. After an offender has been convicted, they are placed into one of three areas of incarceration: the federal, the state, and local.

Local laws are created by smaller political entities such as counties, townships, cities and towns. They are usually about zoning rules, parking and smaller things. These are civic infractions that might involve fines and/or jail time of no longer that a year. Local laws usually coincide with incarceration in a local jails. Federal/State Prison Systems

When it comes to the prison system, there...

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