State prison is for all persons prosecuted and convicted by the District Attorney of a particular county within a state. These charges can range from simple theft to rape and murder. Therefore, there is a wide range of inmates in state prisons. They are assigned housing based on the crime, length of sentence, and previous criminal history. State time has hardships that fed time doesn't because of budget differences. For instance, Florida and Texas prisons do not have air conditioning.
Federal prison is for convictions prosecuted by the United States Attorney. "Main Justice" is in Washington DC and each region has its own subset of Assistant US Attorneys who prosecute the cases. The federal corrections budget is $7 billion/year. Federal crimes include non-violent drug trafficking, white-collar crime, child endangerment to terrorism, RICO offenses, human trafficking and murder involving interstate activity. In both cases, the more violent the offender, the higher the custody level and the more restrictions (less personal freedoms) imposed.
Fed time is best understood by the various security levels at each prison. Fed time in a satellite camp is the easiest time to do. Whereas fed-maximum is by far the worst. The food is better, the commissary is better, the visitation is better and the corrections officers are generally paid better, trained better so there is a different type of individual working for the Bureau of Prisons.
One major thing the state has over federal however is the monthly phone time. The federal inmates have only 300 minutes per month on the phone.
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