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Prison Security Levels Explained

Prison security levels are necessary to ensure that inmates are housed according to type of crime committed and also length of sentence.

Why Have Prison Security Rating Levels?

Due to all prison facilities having their own standard numbering systems when it came to the type of incarceration they provided, we decided to have four (4) major groups to make it easier to follow:


Low Security PrisonLOW SECURITY PRISON: This includes Work Farms, Boot Camps, Forestry Camps, etc. Basically these are either first time low-risk offenders or inmates who have worked themselves up in the system and are possibly on their way out of prison. It does sound strange that an inmate would work themselves up in the system starting at a (possible) Level 4 MAXIMUM - but that is how good behavior is rewarded.

Being considered low risk, affords the inmate to better living conditions and a few more freedoms. They have earned the trust of the institution. This is why we believe its imperative to tell your family member to steer clear of any trouble during their incarceration.

Minimum Security Prison

MINIMUM SECURITY PRISON: This category is meant for inmates coming up in their time or those inmates that have committed a less severe crime. This level of inmate can be trusted and is usually designated as a form of trustee or in a trusted work detail.

Minimum Security Prison

MEDIUM SECURITY PRISON: This Level 3 inmate is typical of any placement for someone headed to prison. You must earn the trust from the staff at all levels to work your way up. This level of inmate has some rights and freedoms, but not many.

Maximum Security Prison

MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON: This level of inmate is typically in lockdown most of their time and are usually the more violent or feared members of the population. To be housed at this level the inmate must have performed an extremely violent crime (in or outside of prison). There are basically no freedoms unless the Max inmate is housed with other max inmates - and often then they are only allowed out for one hour per day. This is not always the case with every prison, jail or detention facility.

Some prisons offer multiple programs and allow limited movement, classes, details and freedom for all inmates. It is solely upon the prison and its rules. Use the Inmate lookup tool on your right to find the prison you will be housed at or a loved one is housed presently.

Facilities that are Administrative (Headquarters) or Medical Facilities

Inmate Designation Office

ADMINISTRATION | HEADQUARTERS: This is the actual facility headquarters where most office personnel in a support position work on a daily basis.

Medical Security Prison

MEDICAL DETENTION FACILITY: These facilities are normally staffed with low risk inmates as maintenance workers or maximum risk inmates with psychological troubles. Again, each facility is extremely different. Check with the facility locator on your left.

We found that most prison facilities to include county jails and detention centers used a similar system to categorize up to what level inmate could be admitted to the facility. Some even had MAXIMUM in one area and MINIMUM or LOW in another. The use of MINIMUM inmates we found is primarily for food-service, maintenance or other position within the prison.

So, to describe the capacity of each prison we had to came up with a simple order of categorizing the type of prisoner they were holding.

For instance: if a facility had only LOW category inmates, that facility would have a score of 1, it being the only type of inmate allowed in the prison. If the same facility had LOW and MINIMUM - that facility would then be scored a 5.

Here Is The Breakdown of Classifications:


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