CALIFORNIA JAILS AND PRISONS
According to the International Centre of Prison Studies (2013), while the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, it incarcerates nearly 22 percent of the world’s prisoners.
The United States has the highest percentage of its population in prison in the world.
As of 2015, there are over 1.5 million people incarcerated in either federal or local prisons. According to the Department of Justice, more than 1 in 100 adults in the United States are incarcerated.
California County Incarceration Facilities
As of 2013, the State of California has the largest prison population in the nation with nearly 220,000 incarcerated adults. See: List of California State Prisons.
Most local jails fall under the jurisdiction of county government. County jails are part of the state criminal justice system and are operated either by the local county sheriff’s office or are under the direct authority of the State Department of Corrections. See: List of California County Facilities.
Jail inmates are housed at county jail facilities and local detention centers usually for the purpose of awaiting trial, preliminary hearing or indictment, bail, or serving a jail sentence for the violation of a misdemeanor, which is punishable by no more, then one year in jail.
By contrast large state and federal prisons house much more serious offenders who are usually serving multi-year felony prison sentences including life terms, with and without the possibility of parole.
State prison systems are run by the state while the federal government runs federal prison systems. In recent years both levels of government have used privately operated, for- profit prison systems, which have been the subject of considerable controversy at both the state and federal levels.
The State with the largest population of prisoners is California.
Jails And Local Police Stations
If a loved one or friend has been arrested and is currently in jail awaiting a hearing, trial, sentencing or bail decision, you will want to locate the jail he or she is incarcerated at as soon as possible. This will require you to know the prisoners booking number and/or the person’s full name and date of birth.
The best bet for tracking a prisoner’s location within the prison system is to first contact the local arresting police station and inquire whether such a person had been arrested. Most police stations will provide you with this information if you represent you are a family member of the prisoner and you are trying to arrange bail. It’s worth noting that most local jails will allow the lawyers and their private investigators to visit an incarcerated client during preset hours and under highly secure and controlled circumstances.
Some jails are located within the actual police stations and are considered temporary holding facilities. These are very temporary quarters for the prisoner and the prisoner will usually be transported out of the local police station and into a separate county jail within 24 to 72 hours of arrest. The police station will usually handle the prisoners booking and jail-processing activities and await further transfer orders from the central police station.
County jails vary in size and capacity depending upon the local population. Most county jails are not considered maximum risk facilities.
Federal Prison Locations – Prison Facilities – Long-Term Confinement
Prisons mostly house the most serious of criminal offenders, many of which are serving multiple year and life term sentences. Federal Prisons are mostly located in rural and rough terrain so that escape is made considerably more problematic.
Most federal prisons have different security levels depending on the severity and danger level of the inmate – usually determined by the types of crimes for which the inmate had been convicted. Federal prisons use three threat levels: administrative, maximum and super-maximum. Each level is designed to prevent escape while dissuading others who are contemplating escape from ever trying it.
It is not uncommon to see up to eight separate levels of security beginning with an electrified fencing perimeter encircled by three-story high concrete walls and multiple sub-isles fastened with barbwire barriers.
Inside the prison walls technology rules with super-smart security systems that allow prison officials to control, monitor and restrict prisoner movement while providing maximum visual coverage from every aspects of the prison facility.
Low Security Facilities
There are also low security prisons for low risk offenders who were convicted of non-violent crimes such as fraud, securities violations and almost all types of white-collar crimes. These low risk security prisons are less intrusive and much more humane. They have been designed with less restrictive features such as housing inmates in dormitories or small cabins. While these low risk prisons resemble camps rather then jails, for most prisoners convicted of white-collar crimes their new accommodations are considerably less attractive then what the person was probably accustomed to.