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State Prison System v. Federal Prison System

Description and Analysis of the History of State and Federal Prisons

The state prison system can be traced back to the 1800s when Sing Sing prison was built (Gil, 2010, par 2). This is one of the oldest state prisons. The state prison consists of a network of prisons that caters to the largest population of the United States prison populations (Gil, 2010, par 2). Even though the federal and the state prisons may hold people with similar crimes, the two prisons differ to some extent. There are certain differences between these two types of prisons that make them unique. Gil (2010) argues that the federal system is usually associated with the people who are confined for a longer period (par 1). Therefore, most prisoners found in federal prisons are incarcerated for a longer period. These prisons are also associated with white-collar criminals. On the other hand, state prisoners are associated with blue-collar criminals. However, it does not mean that these prisons are purely characterized by these aspects. The main goal of the state’s prison is to remove the criminals from society to protect society from the harm posed by these offenders (Hill, not dated, par 3).

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The history of the federal prison system can be traced back to the 1890s. However, a bill for the establishment of the federal system prisons was only signed later in 1930 by president Hoover (Gil, 2010, par 6). After its establishment, the federal system of prisons grew rapidly. The United States’ creation of federal laws due to the white-collar crimes and bank robberies were the main factors that led to the growth of federal prisons. The most common offenders in federal prisons today are the political or drug trafficking convicts. The common people are the political officials who may be faced with charges due to offenses they made while under power. The prisons also confine the main drug trafficking leaders who play a major role in drug trafficking.

Comparing and Contrasting the Differing Levels of Security in State Prisons and Federal Prisons

The security level in prisons is very critical. There are different levels in every institution in the state. The state prisons have various levels of security. These include level one minimum security, level two medium-security, level three high security, and level four maximum security (Gil, 2010, par 3). On the other hand, the federal prisons have divided their security into different levels. These security levels categorize the institutions and prisoners into administrative, high, medium, low, and. minimum levels of security.

According to Cartmell (2010), state prisons confine more dangerous offenders than federal prisons (par 1). The more dangerous criminals are the higher security level measures are required. Therefore, these prisons keep most of their offenders in the maximum-security prisons. On the other hand, the federal prisons are engaged with less dangerous criminals. Therefore, the prisoners spend most of their confinement duration in the lower-level security prisons. The prison population of the state’s prisons is greater than the population of the federal prisons. In 2001, the total number of prisoners in state facilities was 1.25 million while federal prisons accommodated approximately 0.2 million prisoners (Jacobson, 2005, p. 55).

Reasons for Growth in the State Prison Systems

The growth of many states has been the main issue over the past. Every state has the responsibility of financing its respective prisons (Gil, 2010, par 2). The states had to provide things that were necessary for the running of these prisons including staff and food. The state prisons can confine various types of prisoners. These include sex violence prisoners, drug abusers, violent crime prisoners, or habitual offenders. All the state prison systems are obliged with securing the offenders.

The level of crimes associated with the prisoners of state prisons is increasing at a high rate. This has increased the demand for state prison facilities. Consequently, this has contributed to the growth of state prisons.

According to the statistics in 2005, the total number of state prisons was 1,719 while the number of federal prisons totaled 102 (Cartmell, 2010, par 3). This indicates that the state’s prisons are more than ten times the federal prisons in number. However, the federal prisons were more congested than the state’s prisons. In 2005, the federal prisons were operating 100 percent above their recommended capacities while the state’s prisons operated between 97 and 108 percent above their required capacities (Cartmell, 2010, par 3).

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In conclusion, this discussion has clearly shown that there is a significant difference between state prisons and federal prisons. The main difference between these two systems of prisons is based on the type of criminals each of them handles. The state prisons mostly deal with the prisoners who have been convicted of a violation of federal laws such as robbers and drug traffickers. On the other hand, state prisons handle criminals like violent gun offenders and murderers. This brings differences in the two types of prisons. These differences also imply a difference in the level of security employed in each category.

Reference List

Cartmell, P. (2010). State Prison System vs. Federal Prison System. Web.

Gil, R. (2010). Federal and State Prison Systems. Web.

Hill, E. (n.d.). What Is a State Prison? Web.

Jacobson, M. (2005). Downsizing Prisons: How to Reduce Crime and End Mass Incarceration. New York: NYU Press.

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