The History of State and Federal Prisons

The history of state and federal prisons is quite interesting. Long ago, prisons did not really exist. Prisoners were housed in jails until trial, discharge, or execution. Since that time, state and federal prisons have been introduced and utilized. State prisons were the first to be invented. Prison facilities house criminals sentenced to one year or longer of incarceration, (usually felons). State prisons are run by the government of the individual state they are located in and the federal government is somewhat involved also. Over the years, the severity and number of crimes had increased, violent crimes had increased immensely.

Therefore, state prisons began to have major problems with overcrowding. It was also determined that there needed to be separate facilities to house more violent and dangerous criminals away from other inmates. These facilities also needed to be more secure and protected than state prisons. Hence, Congress passed the Three Prisons Act in 1891 and the first federal prison was created and began to house federal prisoners in 1895. This first federal prison was an old military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The second prison under this act was the prison at McNeil Island in 1907. The third prison enacted under this act was Atlanta. This prison opened in 1902 and was the first prison that was built new. Since then, many more state and federal prisons have been built and opened all over the United States. As crime increases, so does the need for these facilities.

ReferencesFoster, B. (2006). Corrections: The fundamentals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Chapter 6, State and Federal Prisons.