Federal Prison vs. State Prison

There are dozens of state penitentiaries or prisons inside a country that have thousands of criminals incarcerated. Of late there has been a hot debate about the differences between federal prisons and state prisons, as many feel that federal prisons are cushy and more comfortable.

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Federal Prison vs. State Prison

While state prisons are more dangerous. Federal prisons are used more for white collar criminals and political offenders while hardcore criminals get to serve in state prisons. Federal prisons have higher levels of security than state prisons.

What is a Federal Prison?

Federal prisons are made to house those people who violate federal laws. The federal prison system was established under President Hoover in 1930 when the federal government started to build federal incarceration facilities. The federal system of prisons was needed with a rise in crimes that violated federal laws.

What is State Prison?

State prisons are maintained and looked after by state authorities. Most of the criminals are sent into state prisons that include all the murderers, rapists, and other criminals guilty of gun-related offenses. Though one is likely to see similar kinds of criminals in state and federal prisons, federal prisons are used more for political offenders and white-collar criminals than state prisons.

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Key Differences

  1. State prisons are higher in number than federal prisons
  2. Federal prisons have higher levels of security than state prisons.
  3. Federal prisons are used more for white collar criminals and political offenders while hardcore criminals get to serve in state prisons.
  4. State prisons are considered as unsafe as they house a higher number of violent criminals.
  5. Federal prison and a local jail are built nearly the same, but the difference lies in what they are used for. The local county jail is used to detain/incarcerate offenders for one year or less; the state prison is very similar to federal prisons that both incarcerate/rehabilitate and execute offenders. States generally have industries where offenders work and make furniture, license plates and etc for the state.
  6. A federal prison is a prison run by the US government (BOP) for persons who have committed crimes outlawed by Congress, for example robbing a nationally chartered bank, identity theft, mail fraud, etc. A state prison is run by the state (DOC) or crimes outlawed in that state, for example, GTA, assault, burglary, most drug crimes, etc. Some prisons are actually run by private companies that contract with the state.
  7. Both federal and state prisons have different custody levels for people convicted of different things, ie; maximum, medium and minimum security. The custody level is generally determined by the severity of the crime committed and the length of the prison sentence.
  8. Generally, at the same level of security, the federal prison is probably somewhat safer because they usually aren’t as crowded, most white collar criminals go to federal prison and are generally less violent, and the staff is often better paid and may be better trained, but that isn’t a hard and fast rule.
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Video Explanation

13 thoughts on “Federal Prison vs. State Prison”

  1. It’s call Department of Corrections (DOC) but America has the highest recidivism rates in the world. Much cheaper to teach than incarcerate. Some don’t want to learn till incarcerated. Some prisons are becoming geriatric centers.

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  2. Thanks for the video very informative. The innocence project says there around 100,000 people serving time that have been wrongfully convicted. Would you say more wrong convictions in state, or federal prison?

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  3. Lots of misconception. Prison is just that whether Federal or State. There are rapist child molesters drug offenders and those who commit murder in the Federal Prisons also. Right now the Federal Prisons are short staffed on guards and the Prison is far from cushy…

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