An inmate is an individual who is contained within a prison. He/she has been accused of committing a crime, has tried by a state court or a federal court, and has been sentenced to spend a specific duration of time in prison. The sentence that an inmate receives is usually dependent upon the severity of the crime that he/she has committed. For example, a relatively minor offense may result in a prison sentence that endures for a few years, while murder can result in capital punishment.
The type of prison that inmates are contained in may also vary based upon their offenses. For example, both state and federal prison systems maintain maximum security prisons and minimum security prisons. Dangerous prisoners responsible for violent crimes will generally be contained within maximum security prisons. The court that an individual is tried in will determine whether he/she is held in a federal or state prison.
While in prison, inmates will only be provided with basic necessities. Conditions in prisons are usually relatively unpleasant and uncomfortable. An inmate will be contained within a prison cell throughout the duration of his/her stay in a prison. These cells are small, and usually house multiple prisoners. Each cell will contain small, basic cots or beds, and a toilet.
Most inmates will be permitted to spend a certain amount of time outside in a courtyard. People who are serving prison sentences will be provided will basic meals, and will have access to medical treatment when necessary. In addition to the spartan conditions, inmates are also exposed to rampant violence from other inmates.