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CHAPTER. 13. Prisons and Jails. Prisons. A prison is a state or federal confinement facility that has custodial authority over adults sentenced to confinement. The use of prisons as a place to serve punishment is a relatively new way to handle offenders.

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  • Prisons and Jails
  • A prison is a state or federal

confinement facility that has

custodial authority over adults

sentenced to confinement.

  • The use of prisons as a place to

serve punishment is a relatively

new way to handle offenders.

early punishments
Early Punishments
  • Were often cruel and torturous:
  • Generally fit the doctrine of lex


      • Law of retaliation
      • “An eye for an eye”
early punishments1
Early Punishments
  • Types of early punishments:
      • Flogging
      • Mutilation
      • Branding
      • Public humiliation
      • Workhouses
      • Exile
the emergence of prisons
The Emergence of Prisons
  • It is unknown when the first prison

was established.

  • Punitive imprisonment noted in

Europe in the Middle Ages.

  • American prisons began in the late


  • Early confinement facilities stressed

reformation over punishment.

the penitentiary era
The Penitentiary Era


  • Philadelphia Penitentiary begun by Quakers for

humane treatment of offenders.

  • Rehabilitation through penance (solitary

confinement and Bible study).

  • Known as the “Pennsylvania System.”
the mass prison era
The Mass Prison Era


  • Auburn Prison (New York) featured group

workshops and silence enforced by whipping

and hard labor.

  • This Auburn System was the primary

competitor to the Pennsylvania System.

the reformatory era
The Reformatory Era


  • Based on the use of the indeterminate sentence.
  • Believed in the possibility of rehabilitation,

especially for youthful offenders.

  • Elmira Reformatory attempted reform rather

than punishment.

  • A system of graded stages in educational,

behavioral and other goals gave way to the

system of “parole.”

  • Ultimately considered a failure, since recidivism

was still a problem.

the industrial era
The Industrial Era


  • Prisoners used for cheap labor.
  • Industrial production in the North; agriculture

in the South.

  • Six systems of inmate labor: contract system,

piece-price system, lease system, public account

system, state-use system, and public works system.

  • Labor unions complained that they could not


  • The passage of the Hawes-Cooper Act and

Ashurst-Sumners Act limited inmate labor.

  • Some prison industries exist today.
the punitive era
The Punitive Era


  • Characterized by belief that prisoners owed a

debt to society.

  • Custody and institutional security the central


  • Few innovations.
the treatment era
The Treatment Era


  • Medical model suggested inmates were sick and

needed treatment.

  • Most treatments include individual or group


  • Other forms of therapy include:
    • Behavior therapy
    • Chemotherapy
    • Neurosurgery
    • Sensory deprivation
    • Aversion therapy
the community based era
The Community-Based Era


  • Based on premise that rehabilitation cannot

occur in isolation from the real world.

  • Prisons considered dehumanizing.
  • Led to innovations in the use of volunteers and

the extension of inmate privileges.

  • Programs include:
    • Half-way houses
    • Work-release
    • Study-release
the warehousing era
The Warehousing Era


  • Public and judicial disapproval of release

programs and recidivism led to longer sentences

with fewer releases.

  • Nothing works doctrine.
  • Prison overcrowding became widespread.
  • Greater emphasis on incarcerating non-violent

drug offenders.

the just deserts era
The “Just Deserts” Era


  • Based on the justice model.
  • Emphasis on individual responsibility and


  • Imprisonment is a proper consequence of

criminal and irresponsible behavior.

  • Chain gangs, “three-strikes,” and reduced


prisons today numbers and types of prisons
Prisons Today: Numbers and Types of Prisons
  • Approximately
  • 1,325 state prisons
  • 84 federal prisons
  • 482 state and federal prisoners

per 100,000 population

  • On January 1, 2004, state and federal prisons held 1,461,191 inmates. Slightly more than 6.9% of those imprisoned were women.
prisons today sentences
Prisons Today: Sentences
  • In state prisons:
      • 49% are violent criminals
      • 19% are property criminals
      • 20% drug law violators

In federal prisons:

      • 61% are drug law violators
prisons today race
Prisons Today: Race
  • The rate of imprisonment for African

American males is nine times that of

white males.

  • Bureau of Justice Statistics states that a

black male in America has a 32.3%

lifetime chance of going to prison;

white males have a 5.9% chance.

prisons today
Prisons Today
  • The size of prisons vary.
  • The typical state prison is small.
  • It costs about $62 a day per inmate.
prisons today typical system
Prisons Today: Typical System
  • 1 high security
  • 1 or more medium security
  • 1 for adult women
  • 1 or 2 for young adults
  • 1 or two specialized mental hospital-

type security prisons

  • 1 or more open-type institutions

The typical state prison system has:

overcrowded prisons
Overcrowded Prisons
  • Prison capacity—The size of the

correctional population an institution can

effectively hold. There are three types of

prison capacity:

      • Rated
      • Operational
      • Design
  • Rhodes v. Chapman (1981)—Overcrowding

is not by itself cruel and unusual


Overcrowding is a serious issue.

selective incapacitation
Selective Incapacitation
  • Selective incapacitation is a strategy may

reduce prison population.

  • Career offender statutes support selective

incapacitation, though some criticize the

notion of false positives.

maximum security
Most maximum security institutions tend to be

massive old buildings with a large inmate

population, including all death row inmates.

They provide a high level of security with:

High fences/walls of concrete

Several barriers between living area

Secure cells

Armed guards

Gun towers

Maximum Security
medium security
Medium security prisons are similar in design

to maximum security facilities; however, they:

Usually have more windows.

Tend to have barbed wire fences instead of large stone walls.

Sometimes use dormitory style housing.

Medium Security
medium security1
Medium security prisons allow prisoners more

freedom, such as:

Associating with other prisoners

Going to the prison yard or exercise room

Visiting the library

Showering and using bathroom facilities with less


An important security tool is the count.

The process of counting inmates during the course

of a day.

Times are random, and all business stops until the count

is verified.

Medium Security
minimum security
In minimum security prisons:

Housing tends to be dormitory style.

Prisoners usually have freedom of movement

within the facility.

Work is done under general supervision only.

Guards are unarmed, and gun towers do not exist.

Fences, if they exist, are low and sometimes


“Counts” are usually not taken.

Prisoners are sometimes allowed to wear their own


Minimum Security
prison classification system
Classification systems determine which custody level

to assign an inmate to. Assignments are based on:

Offense history

Assessed dangerousness

Perceived risk of escape

Other factors

Inmates may move among the security levels

depending on their behavior.

Internal classification systems determine placement

and program assignment within an institution.

Prison Classification System
the federal prison system
The Federal

Prison System

federal prison system
Federal Prison System
  • 1895—Leavenworth, Kansas—First non- military federal prison opens.
  • 1906—Second federal prison opens in Atlanta.
  • 1927—Alderson, West Virginia—First federal prison for women.
  • 1933—Springfield, Missouri—Medical Center for federal prisoners.
  • 1934—Alcatraz begins operations.


today s federal prison system
Today’s federal prison system consists of:

104 institutions

6 regional offices

The Central office (headquarters)

2 staff training centers

28 community corrections offices

At the start of 2004, there were approximately

162,000 prisoners (up from just over 24,000 in


Today’s Federal Prison System
federal prison system1
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)

classifies its institutions according to five

security levels.

Administrative maximum (ADMAX)

High security (U.S. penitentiaries)

Medium security (federal correctional institutions)

Low security (federal correctional institutions)

Minimum security (federal prison camps)

Additionally, there are administrative facilities,

like metropolitan detention centers (MDCs) and

medical centers for federal prisoners (MDFPs).

Federal Prison System
administrative maximum admax
Administrative Maximum (ADMAX)

In 1995, the federal government opened its one and only ADMAX prison:

  • Ultra-high security
  • 575 bed capacity
  • Inmates confined to cells 23 hours per day
  • Inmates cannot associate with one another
  • Only toughest 1% of federal prison

population is confined there

  • Holds mob bosses, spies, terrorists

murderers, escape artists, etc.

high security u s penitentiaries
High Security—U.S. Penitentiaries

There are 8 high security facilities, holding 10% of the federal prison population.

  • Examples:
  • Atlanta, GA
          • Lewisburg, PA
          • Terre Haute, IN
          • Leavenworth, KS

They are designed to prevent escapes and contain disturbances by using:

    • Intense electronic surveillance
    • Armed perimeter patrols.
medium security federal correctional institutions
Medium Security—Federal Correctional Institutions
  • There are 26 medium security prisons holding 23% of the federal prison population.


Terminal Island, CA

          • Lompoc, CA
          • Seagoville, TX
  • They are guarded by double chain link fence and electronic monitoring of grounds.
low security federal correctional institutions
Low Security—Federal Correctional Institutions

There are 17 low security facilities, holding 28% of the federal prison population.

They are surrounded by double chain link fences and do vehicle patrols of perimeter.

minimum security federal prison camps
Minimum Security— Federal Prison Camps
  • There are 55 minimum security prisons, holding 35% of the federal prison population.
  • Examples:
  • Elgin Air Force Base, FL
          • Maxwell Air Force Base, AL

Essentially, they are unfenced honor-type camps using barrack style housing.

federal prison system administrative facilities
Federal Prison System: Administrative Facilities

The federal prison system’s administrative facilities are institutions with special missions.

  • Metropolitan Detention Centers (MDCs)
    • Generally located in large cities, close

to federal courthouses

    • Hold inmates awaiting trial (like jails)
  • Medical Centers for Federal Prisoners


Original purpose—Short-term confinement of suspects following arrest and awaiting trial.

Current use—Jails hold those

convicted of misdemeanors and some felonies, as well as holding suspects following arrest and

awaiting trial.


Annually, 20 million people go to jail. In 2004, jails held 691,301inmates.

  • 12% women
  • 6,869 juveniles
  • 25% awaiting arraignment or trial
  • More than 50% convicted offenders
  • Jails also hold inmates who cannot fit in the

overcrowded prisons.

Jail authorities supervised another 71,371 inmates under certain community-based programs.


There are 3,365 jails in the U.S.

  • Most jails are small, designed to hold 50 or

fewer inmates.

  • Some jails are very big, like “mega-jails” in

LA and NYC.

  • 6% of all jails hold over 50% of all prisoners.

There are 207,600 correctional officers.

  • 3/1 inmate/staff ratio

The average cost to jail a person for a year is $14,500.

women and jail
Women face a number of special

problems, including:

Inadequate classification systems

Lack of separate housing

Low educational levels

Substance abuse



Inadequate substantive medical programs

Women and Jail
women and jail1
Women make up 22% of correctional officer

force in jails.

Female officers are committed to their careers

and tend to be positively valued by male

counterparts. However,

A disproportionate number of female personnel

held lower ranking jobs.

60% of support staff is female

10% of chief administrators is female

Issues can arise when member of the opposite

sex are assigned to watch over inmates.

Women and Jail
growth of jails
Many jails are old and overcrowded.

By the end of 1980s, many jails were so

overcrowded that court-ordered

caps forced some early releases.

At midyear 2004, occupancy was at:

94% rated capacity for jails serving more than

1000 inmates.

64% rated capacity in those with fewer than 50


Growth of Jails
direct supervision jails
A new jail architecture and

management strategy is called direct

supervision.These jails:

Use a system of pods or modular self-contained

housing areas

Have a more open environment, using Plexiglas

instead of thick walls to separate areas

Use softer furniture

May use “rooms” instead of cells

Direct Supervision Jails
benefits of direct supervision jails
Direct supervision jails

Reduce inmate dissatisfaction

Deter rape and violence

Decrease suicide and escape attempts

Eliminate barriers to staff-inmate interaction

Give staff greater control

Improve staff morale

Reduce lawsuits

Benefits of Direct Supervision Jails
future of jails
National efforts are underway to

improve quality of jail life by:

Adding critical programs for inmates

Increasing jail industries

Jail “boot camps”

Creating regional jails

Implementing jail standards

Future of Jails
The movement toward greater use of

private prisons began in the 1980s.

In 2004, private prisons held 5.7% of all state

and 12.6% of all federal prisoners.

Most states that use private prisons do so to

supplement their own system.

Private prisons can:

Reduce overcrowding

Lower operating expenses

Avoid lawsuits

hurdles to large scale privatization
Large scale privatization is hindered


Laws prohibiting private sector involvement in

correctional management

Possibility of public employees striking

Liability and other legal issues

Hurdles to Large-Scale Privatization