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What Is Military Prison Like Compared to Civilian Prison?

What Is Military Prison Like Compared to Civilian Prison?

When someone is sentenced to prison, their experience in prison depends on a variety of factors. First, prison experiences vary widely across countries, as each sovereign state has its own approach to dealing with people convicted of crimes.

When we look at prison inmates in the United States, those in federal prisons have different experiences than those in state prisons. The level of detention is also a factor, as someone in a super maximum facility will have a completely different prison experience than someone in a minimum security prison.

Things are different in men’s prisons than in women’s prisons, and facilities in California are different than those in Texas, Iowa, or New York.

But how do military prisons compare to civilian prisons? What’s the difference between the two? Read on to find out what military prisons are like compared to civilian prisons.

In today’s blog post, I will cover the following topics:

  • Prison guards in military prisons do the same work as inmates
  • Military prisons are very clean
  • rehabilitation rather than punishment
  • No fighting in military prisons?
  • Daily life in a military prison is very regular

Prison guards in military prisons do the same work as inmates

One difference between civilian and military prisons is the dynamic between guards and prisoners. In military prisons, the guards are usually drawn from the local gendarmerie/security forces. This means that they, like the prisoners under their control, are uniformed personnel who enlist in the army. This creates a very different dynamic compared to civilian prisons.

Wardens in state and federal prisons are usually one of two types. Some people simply do their jobs and collect their paychecks. They’d hang out in the office, control center, or guardhouse—wherever they were assigned—drinking coffee and chatting with colleagues during each shift before heading home at the end of the day.

Then there are the guards, who live to provoke the prisoners and assert their authority. Basically, they go to work every day to make life as miserable as possible for prisoners.

Either way, there was never a sense or sense of equality between guards and prisoners. Prisoners are always considered “below”. This is not necessarily the case with military prisons.

Military prisons are very clean

Those held in military prisons describe it as extreme basic training, meaning everyone is responsible for keeping their own area clean and maintained.

according to we are strong, If the prisoner’s area is slightly untidy or unhygienic, “the strict military discipline will fall in a hurry.” Because of this, military prisons are very clean and well kept.

On the other hand, federal and state civilian prisons are often dilapidated. The word “very clean” is rarely used to describe anything within their walls.

Prisoners do what they can to clean up their rooms and cells, but they don’t have access to cleaning products, and they usually do the bare minimum. Many fields have gone so far that trying to do more often feels like futility.

rehabilitation rather than punishment

Military prisons offer a variety of options for prisoners to reform themselves before release. The point is not punishment, but correction and rehabilitation.

Most inmates in military prisons are expelled for dishonor or misconduct, so they need to find new careers and sources of income. The military prison system provides training in different skilled trades, such as carpentry, culinary arts, auto repair, hotel service, etc., so that prisoners can find employment after release.

In my experience, preventing recidivism is not obvious in civilian prisons. Many facilities do offer some sort of vocational program or job training, but the curriculum is usually based on the prison’s workforce needs. Education provided is limited to federally funded education. In other words, the programs offered by prisons serve the facility, not the inmates.

The military focus is on the long term and how to improve their lives. In contrast to civilian prisoners, they usually struggle to get by on a daily basis.

No fighting in military prisons?

Former inmates at military prisons say fights in these facilities are extremely rare. When they do occur, they are obviously immediately broken down. Since prisoners in military prisons are highly trained personnel, their standards are much higher. Breaking the law doesn’t change that.

Prison gangs are not a thing in military installations, and no one wants to lose their privileges for fighting. The camaraderie actually continues–it goes back to the different dynamics between guards and prisoners. The common theme is that they are all “together”.

On the civilian side, fighting is frequent and gangs are common. Civilian prisons have a much higher population density, and when something bad happens among the prisoners, the facility is locked down.

Daily life in a military prison is very regular

The life of a civilian prison prisoner is regulated. But it’s nothing like the experience of an inmate in a military prison. Again, this is extreme basic training, so the inmates get up early, keep things super clean (both themselves and their surroundings), and then they go to work (carpentry, kitchen detailing, dormitory cleaning, church cleaning, grounds maintenance, etc) .

Inmates in military prisons have some leisure time in the evenings and weekends.

Prisoners in military prisons also enjoy better food and better medical care than civilian prisons.

A military prison may sound like a better experience than a civilian prison, but when it comes down to it, being behind bars is the worst thing you can do, no matter what facility you’re in.

Are you surprised there is such a big difference between military and civilian prisons? Let us know in the comments below.


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