Jails and Prisons: Should They Be Privatized?

Topics: Crime, Criminal justice, Prison Pages: 5 (1551 words) Published: August 20, 2013
Jails and Prisons
Grace Melendez
CJA 490
December 24, 2012
Kevin Perry

Jails and Prisons
In the world of Criminal Justice, jails as well as prisons play an extremely important role in society. These facilities serve the purpose of housing individuals who have committed a crime. This paper will focus on the various types of prisons, the comparison of jails and prisons in the United States correctional system, the advantages and disadvantages of probation and parole, the role of community-based corrections programs and last arguments for and against privatizations of prisons. Types of Prisons

In the United States there are federal and state prisons. Within the federal and state prisons there are different types such as women facilities, juvenile prisons, maximum security, medium security, low security, and facilities for the mentally ill, which serve for a different purpose and house criminals based on their threat to themselves and others around them. Depending on the crime committed the offender may do their time in a jail, a state or federal prison, a private prison, or mental facility. According to Schmalleger (2009) a typical prison consists of (1) a maximum-security, (2) a medium-security, (3) a minimum-security, (4) institutions for young adults (under 25 years), (5) an institution for women, (6) and institutions for the mentally ill. When an inmate is sentenced to prison, they may be assigned to a minimum, medium or maximum security institution depending on their perceived dangerousness, escape risk, and the type of offense (Schmalleger, 2009). Schmalleger (2009) also states that the high-security prisons are for offenders who are long-term and high-risk. These maximum security prisons are usually massive old buildings, which have a large inmate population. These prisons provide a high level of security with high fences, thick walls, secure cells, gun towers, and armed prison guards. In the maximum security level inmates are normally in lockdown the majority of the time with an hour daily of freedom and are usually the most feared and violent. The medium-security prisons usually have perimeters with barbed-wired-topped chain-link fences and cell and living quarters have more windows than maximum-security prisons. Head counts are taken on regular intervals, which require inmates to report to designated areas to be counted. This type of prison provides inmates with some but not many rights, freedoms, and amenities such as usage of library, prison yard, and gym (Schmalleger, 2009). The minimum-security prisons are meant for inmates getting closer to his or her release date or for inmates that have not committed a severe crime. Inmates are housed in dormitory-like settings with freedom to walk the prison yard and to visit most of the prison facilities. Inmates may also have free access to canteens, which sells cigarettes, candy, and toothpaste. They wear different color uniform then other inmates in a higher-security level. In this type of facility the guards are unarmed, there are no gun-towers, and if there are fences they are usually low (Schmalleger, 2009). The facilities that house inmates with psychological troubles are referred to as medical institutions and the women prisons are separate maximum, medium, and minimum facilities that house female inmates only. The Federal Prisons house only persons convicted of violating Federal laws (that is, laws of the United States) therefore they are sent to Federal prisons. Some individuals awaiting trial for violating Federal laws are also held in Federal prisons (Schmalleger, 2009). Comparison of Jails and Prisons

According to Hall (n.d.) jail is a place for the confinement of persons in lawful detention whereas prison is a place where persons who are convicted of a crime are confined. Though the goal is similar, the road leading to the goal is extremely different. A prison is a state or federal confinement facility that has custodial authority over adults...

References: Hall, D. (n.d). Jails vs Prisons. Retrieved from http://www.aca.org/fileupload/177/prasannak/1_1_1_Commentary_web.pdf
Schmalleger, F. (2009). Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the 21st Century (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall
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