According to the Washington Post, in 2008 more than 1 in 100 adults in the U.S. were in jail or prison. This number includes all types of federal, state and local corrections facilities. These facilities vary widely in terms of size, location, type of offense committed, purpose of the facility, length of stay and level of security, as well as the rehabilitation services offered.
Detention centers are thought of as short-term places to hold people. Jails are the most common form of detention centers. Jails are usually run by a county and hold people who are awaiting sentencing, or have been sentenced to a year or less.
Probation centers are detention centers that are also used for short-term confinement of probationers. These facilities are used for people who are unable to fulfill their probation commitments in the community. Although these are usually minimum security, higher securities centers exist as well and can include exclusively male and female facilities as well as those that are more highly structured. Many also offer rehabilitation programs such as employment or substance abuse programs.
Correctional facilities are also known as prisons. A prison is a long-term facility, meant to hold people convicted of a crime and sentenced for more than a year. State governments and the federal bureau of prisons operate prisons.
State Prison Systems
State prison systems may have specialized services such as work release programs or boot camps. Often they are linked to other state run programs such as halfway houses and work-release centers.
Level of Security Makes Big Difference
Minimum security or federal prison camps offer dormitory housing, low staff-to-inmate ratio and less perimeter fencing. Low security prisons have dormitory housing, a higher staff-to-inmate ratio and high perimeter security. Medium security prison have an even higher amount of staff, strengthened perimeters and cell-type housing. High security prisons, also known as federal penitentiaries, have highly secured perimeters, multiple occupant cell housing and the highest staff-to-inmate ratio as well as high control of inmate movement.