The Five Types of Federal Prisons

 Posted on February 04, 2022 in Federal Crimes

Chicago federal criminal defense lawyerYou almost certainly do not want to go to any type of prison. Naturally, the most desirable outcomes are having your case dismissed or being found not guilty, followed by some type of probation that does not involve incarceration. In many cases, a skilled attorney can work with the prosecution to achieve a resolution that does not involve you wearing an orange jumpsuit. In other cases, a prison sentence is nearly inevitable, and your attorney may recommend defense strategies aimed at reducing the length of a sentence - or advocating for you to serve your time in a lower security prison. 

If you are worried that your federal criminal case may end in a prison sentence, you may want to know more about the different types of federal prisons, and which one you could be sent to. If prison is a possibility based on your charges, you will need to work closely with an experienced attorney. 

What Are the Five Security Levels of Federal Prisons?

A number of factors go into deciding which type of prison a convicted person should be sent to. The type of offense and your criminal history are important factors, but other factors like your physical and mental health can be considered. The security levels are: 

  • Minimum Security - You may hear these referred to as “camps.” They may not even have perimeter fencing and are thus reserved for those not considered to be an escape risk. Here, non-violent inmates live in dormitory-style accommodations and may attend classes or even work outside the prison. 
  • Low Security - You may also find educational or work programs at this level. However, they are generally fenced in, and some inmates may have histories of less-serious violence. 
  • Medium Security - These are more in line with how most people picture prisons. You will find cells, which may not be a bad thing considering that violent offenders are often housed at this level. The perimeter fence may be reinforced with razor wire or electric monitoring. 
  • High Security - You may hear these referred to as “penitentiaries.” There is a higher ratio of guards to inmates, and you can expect very little privacy, as there will be cameras everywhere. The perimeter is well-secured and often under constant observation from a guard tower. 
  • Administrative - This category contains several subcategories designed to meet different needs. There are hospital prisons for inmates whose medical needs cannot be met elsewhere. On the other hand, this includes the nation’s only “supermax” prison, for inmates who are classified as extremely dangerous or extremely likely to escape from another prison. Prisoners here spend most of their time in their cells, often alone, as they are considered too high-risk to be allowed any freedom to roam. 

Should you be convicted or plead guilty to a federal felony, your case will move into the sentencing phase. Here is where your lawyer will advocate for an alternative sentence like probation, or at least fight to have you housed in a lower security level prison. 

Call a Chicago Federal Crimes Attorney

If you are facing federal charges, Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney will fight for the best outcome possible in your case. Our Chicago federal crimes lawyers are experienced in the U.S. court system and can offer high-quality legal representation. Call 312-629-0669 for a free consultation. 



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