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Prison system, facts about prison life

Prisons are institutions in which wrongdoers are detained, partly as a punishment and partly in the hope that they will be reformed. Enlightened administrators have tended to emphasize the second aim, and prisons are gradually becoming less forbidding if not less crowded. Many closed prisons consist of small cells radiating like the spokes of a wheel from an observation room in the center.

A warden supervises each prison. Other prison guards and officers patrol the cell-blocks. Most prisons also have a chapel, a library, workshops and exercise grounds. A high wall, sometimes manned by armed guards, surrounds the buildings. This is the picture of a typical old prison in the United States and in most other countries, the Alcatraz prison was even more strengthened, for example.

Alcatraz prison system, facts about prison life

Prisoners - Alcatraz prison system, facts about prison life

Prison system, facts about prison life

Alcatraz prison was a famous island penal institution located in San Francisco Harbor

Prison system, facts about prison life

Prisoners are usually given work to do, for which they are paid a small wage

But penal reformers have pointed out that in such surroundings prisoners are unlikely to solve their personal problems and become useful citizens. Many governments have established limited-security and open prisons. In limited-security prisons, prisoners still live in cell blocks but can work on the land or in workshops outside the prison. They are allowed to associate comparatively freely with their fellow prisoners. Prisoners in open prisons are not restrained by cells or bars. They are free to work for outside employers and to come and go virtually as they wish. In many prisons, prisoners can attend educational classes, watch television and take part in amateur dramatics.

But whatever privileges prisoners enjoy, they still are not free. Many are violent men who must be kept under strict guard. Under the parole system, a prisoner can have his records examined by a special board. If the board considers that he is unlikely to commit another crime, he is returned to his home under the guidance of a parole officer.

The main kinds of prison in the United States include: jails and lockups for prisoners awaiting trial; federal prison system for offenders against federal and interstate crimes; and state prison system for those who have committed crimes punishable by imprisonment for over one year.

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