The scope of the United States’ legal system is incredibly expansive; every felony carries a different punishment in a coordinating prison or rehabilitation center. As a result of the legal system’s enormous breadth, the rehabilitation system is diversified to house the varying inmates based on the severity of crime committed. The different facilities that house inmates vary by security level; a maximum security prison for example, is the institution that holds the most dangerous inmates, or those individuals convicted of the most severe offenses such as murder or rape.
Each facility’s classification is categorized based on the security used to run the prison. Security measures, the administration of inmates, the types of housing, and the tactics or weapons used by corrections officers will greatly vary depending on the classification of the facility. The Bureau of Prisons, a federal government program, uses a 1 to 5 numbered scale to classify each security level.
A maximum security prison falls under the level 5 category or the most secure, while a minimum security prison is accordingly labeled as level 1. In a maximum security prison all prisoners have individual cells that possess sliding doors controlled from a remote control station. Prisoners within a maximum security prison are only allowed out of their cell for one hour a day; when out of their cells, the prisoners must remain the cell block or an exterior cage. The prisoners are constantly monitored by armed guards, and interaction between the prison communities is rare.
Within category 5 exists a level more secure than the maximum security prison. A super max prison facility provides the highest level of prison security. A super max prison holds those considered the most dangerous individuals; this includes inmates who have committed murders, gang violence, assaults, rapes, or other serious violations.
Inmates in a super max prison are kept under constant surveillance, in a facility that is secluded or heavily guarded by a natural confinement and armed officers. As a result of the dangerous inmates within a super max prison, the resources used to maintain order and discipline must be expansive.