As you probably know, there are quite a few different types of institutions that an inmate may find themselves in depending on the crime commited and when and where they were arrested. The severity of the crime will determine this outcome along with some other factors such as whether or not the crime was Federal and what the minimum sentence is.
Most inmates will be in a county jail first then be transferred to either a state or Federal prison with the latter two having a lot of alternative programs available for many inmates. Let’s take a closer look at all three of these and what usually follows.
If you’ve ever been arrested, you’ve been in a county jail. This is where inmates are first booked and get to sit in a little holding cell until they are either bailed out or are seen by a judge and sentenced. In many cases, people will be sentenced to a time between one day up to multiple years in a county jail. While built for short sentences, it’s not uncommon for someone to be here for longer than they expect.
Many inmates don’t like the county jail as it’s a very restrictive environment and you usually aren’t even allowed to go outside in many of these. Inmates who have been in the system before prefer to go to the state prison as soon as possible.
A state prison is where an inmate may go if they have a sentence of 1 year or more. This is the type of institution you’d typically see on television and documentaries. It’s not a place anyone wants to be and depending on the prison, it can be a terrible and horrifying ordeal. This all depends on where you are in the prison, your attitude and your crime. Certain prisoners are “lifers” meaning they are going to be there for the rest of their lives.
A Federal prison if where an inmate will be if they’ve been convicted of a federal crime. This can be similar to a state prison but is often a little more relaxed, especially at a minimum security facility. It’s not uncommon for inmates here to work on farms, learn trades and even attend school. It’s still a prison of course and the crime you’re convicted of will play a large role in where you go and your security level.