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Prison Path

Federal Prisons, State Prisons, County Jails, & Inmate Locator



Federal Prisons

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, there are 117 Federal prisons located throughout the United States. The Bureau operates institutions at five different security levels. As of September 2013, the total Federal inmate population is 211,150. In 1989, the Federal prison population was only 58,000. The massive increase in the Federal prison population is attributed to the “War on Drugs” and tightening restrictions against illegal immigration. The already-taxed Bureau of Prisons in 2012 swelled to 39 percent above capacity. Overcrowded prisons have decreased rehabilitation and increased institution violence. Federal offenses range from drug charges to national security.

State Prisons

There are approximately 1200 state prisons in the United States. Texas has the most state prisons–105. Texas had more inmates in its jurisdiction than any other state, with nearly 158,000 inmates as of 2012. No state had a higher incarceration rate than Louisiana, with 893 people behind bars for every 100,000 residents. Many state prisons are extremely overcrowded. The Federal courts have confronted California and Gov. Jerry Brown over its overcrowded prisons. California’s state prisons are operating at 40 percent above capacity.

County Prisons & Local Jails

There are almost 3,700 local prisons and jails throughout the various states. Local prisons and jails are part of the county government or part of a city government. The local facilities hold individuals waiting for trial or inmates serving short sentences. In Maryland, if your sentence is under 18 months you usually will serve your time in the county prison. With almost 20,000 inmates Los Angeles County has the biggest jail population in the United States. Dangerously overcrowded state prison systems, such as California, are sending inmates to local jails. The inmate transfers are overcrowding the local lockup.

Inmate Locators

If a family member or a friend is locked up, you want to locate him or her as soon as possible. All federal prisons and almost all state prisons have inmate locators. There are almost 3,700 local prisons and jails in the United States and many do not have inmate locators. has inmate locators on every prison page and on the home page to help the families and friends of inmates.

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