Prison Systems Essay

Topics: Prison, Criminal justice, Supermax Pages: 5 (1243 words) Published: April 18, 2011
Prison Systems Comparison Essay
Alexa Werstiuk


State Prison History

The state prisons today were founded on the basis of the 1700s to 1800’s during the Age of Enlightenment. The English correctional facility referred to as a “gaol,” commonly known as a jail. They housed men, women, children, the mentally ill along with the civil and criminals. The individuals suffered from idleness, diseases, despair and malnutrition. The gaols were maintained by local authorities, classification did not exist, and the purpose of gaol was to detain or hold people for court.

The Department of Corrections houses all adult felons through out the state. The adult felons include those on probation as well as on parole, including juveniles who are on a work release program, halfway houses, group homes, training schools, or from a special facility.

Federal Prison History

Prisons today are maximum security prisons. Federal prisons confining individuals convicted of a federal offense such as drug smuggling across state lines or non-payment of taxes. These prisons are operated by the Department of Justice and with in the system are layers of correctional institutions for gender segregation and sentencing classification. For example penitentiaries are for male inmates with long-term sentences; low security correctional institutions are for males and female inmates with intermediate or short-term sentences, but there are never housed together. Male prisoners who need only minimum security are set up in camps and those who will be transitioned back into society and served their sentence will be set-up in a halfway house. The individuals awaiting trial are in a correctional center, also known as administrative security that includes illegal aliens awaiting deportation and medical cases. Individuals housed in the administrative maximum unit are the highest security threat to society who also transferred in from the Marion prison.

The penitentiary purpose was secular and spiritual; punishment was no longer physical, but humane. Living conditions were cleaner, healthier and body contamination was avoided by separating inmates from each other as much as possible preferably in isolation and to create habits by enforcing strict rules. Prisoners work at productive labor, no sitting around as they did in old jails and prisons. The secular institution was a place where the inmate expressed regret, a religious meeting needed for expressing contrition for sin, including and a place of penitence or penance; expressing remorse and regret of their wrongdoing. This allowed the criminal to say, “I am sorry and promise not to do that again” (Foster, 2006, “p.” 22).

State Prison Security

The state prison has five levels of security; open security, minimum, medium, close high and maximum. Open security is a work release center, halfway house or community based facility; no guards, but walkway, and enjoy maximum security upon returning.

Minimum security is setup for the short-termers. The inmates are approaching release and have worked themselves down have a higher classification. The prison is smaller with minimal perimeter security and less internal control with highest ratio of inmates to guards. The wire fencing is “cosmetic.” This is in place so that the public is assured safety, but the inmates still can escape.

Medium security is either dormitory or pod housing with double fences instead of walls. The inmate to guard ratio is twice compared to the maximum security prison because inmates are not perceived as dangerous and 35% of the inmates are in this classification.

Close-high security prisons are similar to maximum security but less restrictive. The ratio of inmates to guards may be higher as compared to maximum security prisons which holds about 12% of the state inmates with two men per cell and has the most rigorous security procedures and the lowest ratio...

References: Foster, B, (2006). Corrections: The Fundamentals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall
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