Once a criminal defendant has been found guilty and sentenced to a term of incarceration, they effectively become the property of either the Federal Bureau of Prisons or their state’s department of corrections. Once incarcerated, their ability to control their housing location and communication with the outside world is severely curtailed. This article strives to assist family members, friends, and attorneys of state and federal prisoners in locating their incarcerated loved ones and clients through the means of inmate search tools.
What is the Difference Between a State and Federal Inmate?
The United States is divided into a number of law enforcement jurisdictions. For the most part, states govern crimes committed within their borders, although the federal government can also prosecute crimes committed in any state, as long as the crime violates federal law. Due to this duplicity, a resident of any state in the nation (or U.S. territory) can be charged with either a state or federal crime.
The difference between a state and federal inmate lies in the crime that was committed and which law enforcement agency is investigating and prosecuting the case. For example, stealing beer from a local grocery store would most likely be a state crime,