Whether you are headed to prison or you know someone who is incarcerated, there are some basic things you might want to know about. Below are top 5 FAQ about prison or jail incarceration:
1. What’s the difference between jail and prison?
A jail is typically a facility reserved for short-term sentences ranging from a few days to less than a year. It is also under the control of a city, county or municipality. Most people who are thrown in jail are those with minor offenses, such as a traffic violation or starting a bar brawl. A jail does not usually house serious offenders or those whose crimes involve loss of life or any other violent incident. A prison, on the other hand, is a much larger facility that houses offenders with longer sentences. This facility falls under state and federal jurisdiction. Crimes are usually of a more serious nature, such as illegal possession of drugs or firearms, murder, rapes, and other heinous crimes.
If a person has violated a state law, he will be sent to a state prison. If he breaks federal laws, he will serve his sentence in a federal prison.
2. What are the bases of security level for prisoners?
Inmates are housed in different facilities according to their classification. This classification is numbered from 1-5: 1 includes inmates whose prison sentence comes with minimal security and 5 includes inmates with sentences that require them to be in maximum security. It should be noted that this classification applies to both state and federal prisons.
Classification of security is determined by the length of the sentence. If an inmate has a 20-year sentence, he will most likely be in maximum security level prison. Most sentences that include long years of imprisonment are often those that are grave in nature, and the convict is hereby considered as a danger to society. Hence, they are given maximum security so that they would have very little chances of getting out and causing more harm to innocent people. Also, these convicts are often considered capable of committing crimes in cold blood and that they will not think twice about killing someone at the slightest provocation. Inmates with an 8- to 19-year sentence will be housed under medium security facility. Those with sentences shorter than 7 years will be assigned to minimal security prisons. The crimes committed are often considered less of a threat to society. The prisoners under this classification are often considered not of the cold-blooded criminal category. Hence, they are given more leeway and more comforts compared to those in maximum security. Here, they can enjoy a few comforts such as more TV time, books and magazines allowed for them, and more time out in the yard. They also have more choices when it comes to prison programs.
Any infractions done inside the prison could affect their classification level. For example, if a prisoner under minimum security kills an inmate or threatens the life of one of the staff, he is likely to get transferred to a maximum security prison. If he was caught with drugs, he can be transferred to maximum security. In addition, cases can still be filed for any crimes committed while inside the prison.
3. How does visitation work?
Visitation is included in thetop 5 FAQ about prison or jail incarceration. Prior to entering a facility, an inmate will be asked to fill out a visitation form. Immediate family members are normally allowed to visit. Relatives and other types of visitors would undergo verification and background checks first before they are allowed to visit. This is to make sure that the visitors will not be potential accomplices for inmates to commit more crimes while in prison. Also, this is to ensure that the visitor will not endanger an inmate. This can even prevent nosy people from coming to prison without anything substantial to do and are just there for gossip. This is also one way of making sure that the prisoner still retains his dignity and not become an object of abuse from people who are only there to humiliate or degrade the prisoner.
Visitors need to ensure the correct prison assignment of an inmate. If the visitor is on the approved visitor’s list, he or she will be notified. The visitor must also set a schedule prior to his visit.Visitation rules and regulations must be strictly followed. Also, the prisoner has an option to approve visitors. They can choose to see the visitor or have a particular person banned from visiting.
4. What is going to happen if an inmate breaks prison rules?
As much as possible, an inmate should stay away from any trouble or any situation that could make him break prison rules. These rules are strictly implemented and punishments are enforced strictly as well. Minor offenses can be handled through verbal and written warnings. However, all these will reflect on an inmate’s record.
If the violation is severe, an inmate would either be given extra work, be restricted from commissary and strippedof his visitation rights, or be sent transferred to a higher-security facility.
5. What usually happens in a prisoner’s daily life?
One of the top 5 FAQ about prison or jail incarcerationis about the inmates’ daily activities. How inmates spend their daily lives varies according to their classification level. Inmates in maximum security would have a more restricted life. It depends on the facility’s rules. Some have severe restrictions, including limited bath times to 15 minutes and only 2 times per week. Time outside in the yard is also very limited. Depending on the prisoner’s status, yard time may be as relaxed as 2 hours per day or as restricted as 1 hour per week.
For medium to low security level inmates, their day starts at 4:30am for their breakfast. They will then be assigned work from 6am. Lunch will be served at 11am and supper will be served at 4pm. The hours in between meals can be spent by working, reading, attending classes, watching television, or working out.