In the United States of America, over two million Americans are incarcerated in either a state or federal prison. The incarceration of American citizens has been increasing at a tremendous rate over the past few decades and due to overcrowded conditions in the jail system, the Federal Bureau of Prisons established a system of housing prisoners in specific institutions based on the severity of their crime, whether or not the prisoner is a flight risk and the threat the inmate poses to society, as well as his fellow inmates.
The United States has both federal and state prisons, both of which are classified by their security level. Because of the various degrees of severity of the crime amongst inmates, the United States set up a prison security levelling system that helps the Federal Bureau of Prisons keep track of inmates as well as try and maintain the safest environment possible within the prison itself. Currently, the prison security levels in the United States are ranked as either low security, minimum security, medium security, and maximum security. The exact classification systems of a particular prison differ between county, state, and federal systems, but the main security levels of low, minimum, medium and maximum are the most popular forms of prisons in the United States.
A low level security prison is typically filled with inmates who are deemed as non-threatening to society, their fellow inmates, or the prison guards. Low level security prisons aim at giving the inmate a greater sense of personal responsibility while still providing supervision while monitoring their behavior and activity. Visitation at these types of institutions is much more lenient than at higher level security prisons and inmates at low level security prisons typically are not serving very long sentences.
Minimum level security prisons were designed for inmates deemed too dangerous for low security prisons. However, these inmates most often have not committed a crime worthy of incarceration at a medium security prison.
Medium security prisons are designed to provide internal and external control and supervision of the inmates at the prison. Inmates in these types of prisons may pose a threat risk to other inmates or prison guards. Supervision and monitoring of the inmates within a medium security prison is high at all times, but these types of institutions still aim at rehabilitating the inmate so they can eventually acclimate themselves back into society once their sentence has been served.
Maximum level security prisons are high security prisons for inmates that pose great risk to other inmates, the prison guards, and society. These types of prisons are reserved for the criminals who commit the worst offenses and are facing the longest sentences. Inmates sentenced to serve at maximum level security prisons may be placed there because they are deemed to be serious flight risks. The inmates housed at maximum level security prisons are usually serving very long to life long sentences for high severity crimes, or repeated crimes. Barriers and checkpoints monitor all visitors entering and leaving these types of prisons and supervision of inmates is direct and constant.