Difference Between New Jersey Prison and Federal Prison

What is the Difference Between Federal Prison and New Jersey Prison?

New Jersey prisons are correctional institutions built to house offenders guilty of capital crimes or severe misdemeanors. Federal prisons are also correctional facilities; however, in Federal prisons, offenders are incarcerated for federal crimes such as fraud, human trafficking, possessing illegal drugs, etc. New Jersey prisons are different from the federal prisons in security, population, structure, and management.

The New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) is the administrative body for all prisons and jails in New Jersey. Whereas the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), an agency under the Department of Justice, manages all federal prisons within the country. There are typically more inmates in state facilities than federal institutions. Furthermore, state inmates are allowed on parole, whereas inmates in a federal institution are not.

The New Jersey Prison System

The New Jersey prison system is controlled and managed by the New Jersey Department of Corrections. The agency is responsible for the custody and care of inmates in the 12 correctional facilities across the state. The prison population in New Jersey is estimated at 18,500 inmates, including women and juveniles. 69% of the New Jersey prison population are male, while females make up about 3% of the total prison population. The DOC's Offender Statistics showed that the state prisoners are predominantly African Americans who make up about 62% of the prison population, 22% are whites, 16% are Hispanics, and 1% Asian. The state's incarceration rate is about 407 per 100,000 people.

How to Lookup Inmates in New Jersey

Interested members of the public may use the NJDOC offender search to find inmates incarcerated in state prison. Alternatively, requestors may find New Jersey Inmate Records by visiting the Department of Corrections or sending a mail request to the office:

New Jersey Department of Corrections
Whittlesey Road
P.O. Box 863
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
Phone: (609) 292-4036
Fax: (609) 292-9083

Individuals who want to send or donate money toward a prisoner's welfare can find information on funding an Offender's Account on the DOC's website.

New Jersey County Jails

In New Jersey, county jails are detention facilities where prisoners that are pending trial or who have committed minor crimes, or who have not yet met their bail terms are held. There are 22 counties in New Jersey, and each county has a jail or detention facility. The New Jersey Department of Corrections runs the county jails. According to the reports made by the DOC, the estimated number of offenders in the county jails is 15,000. This is smaller than the offender total (18,467) that New Jersey jails can hold. Essex County has the highest jail population with a jail capacity of 2,434. Hunterdon County has the lowest jail population with a capacity of 156.

The NJDOC offers details of offenders locked up in the county jails to the general public. An individual can either request records in person or via mail or use the jail inmate search tool on the NJDOC's website to obtain this information. An interested person may also make inmate inquiries to the sheriff's office.

How Does the Federal Prison System Work?

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) oversees the federal prison system. The BOP manages 122 prisons across the country with 37,402 people. These persons are charged with the custody and care of roughly 152,174 inmates confined at different custody levels. The federal prisons have five levels of security:

  1. Administrative level: This is the highest level of security. The facilities at this level are built for offenders who need special attention. Some offenders may have serious medical issues or psychological problems, whereas others are too dangerous and unpredictable. The various administrative facilities include:
  • Metropolitan Correctional Centers (MCC)
  • Metropolitan Detention Centers (MDC)
  • Federal Detention Centers (FDC)
  • Federal Medical Centers (FMC)
  • Federal Transfer Center (FTC)
  • The Medical Center for Federal Prisoners (MCFP)
  • Administrative-Maximum Security Penitentiary (ADX)

2. High level: These are United States Penitentiaries (USPs) built with high wall perimeters. High-security level facilities are used for dangerous or violent offenders and have a high staff-to-inmate ratio. Inmates within these facilities have restricted movement.

3. Medium level: These are Federal Correctional Institutions (FCIs) and USPs with dormitories built for offenders who exhibit a minimal level of violence.

4. Low level: These are FCIs for inmates about to complete their sentences.

5. Minimum level: These are Federal Prison Camps (FPCs) built for work or program orientation.

Not all federal inmates are confined in federal prisons. At least 81% of inmates are confined in federal prison, 10% are in a private institution, and 9% are placed in other facilities. The BOP runs a series of programs to treat and rehabilitate inmates in federal institutions. The following are the programs organized by the agency:

  • Educational programs
  • Religious programs
  • Reentry programs
  • Work programs
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Sexual abuse prevention
  • Mental health session