Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
State Prison System
Tracy Andrus & Stephen C. Richards
Prisoners in the United States may be held in county jails, state prisons, or federal facilities. County jails are used primarily to hold defendants during court proceedings and those who have been sentenced to a period of less than a year. State prisons usually house people who have been found guilty of state felonies and are sentenced to prison to serve a year or more. Federal prisons incarcerate persons found guilty of violating federal or military law. State prisons are also sometimes referred to as “penitentiaries,” “correctional institutions,” “reformatories,” “detention centers,” or “work camps.” In 1790, the Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia provided the first separate housing of long-term prisoners in a cellblock called the “penitentiary house.” The Pennsylvania legislature then authorized two new prisons: the Eastern State Penitentiary (also called Cherry Hill) in Philadelphia and the Western Penitentiary in Pittsburgh. Western opened in 1826, while Eastern began accepting prisoners ...