Difference Between Alabama Prison and Federal Prison

What is the Difference Between Federal Prison and Alabama State Prison?

The primary distinguishing factor between federal prisons and Alabama state prisons is that while Alabama state prisons house persons who violate the state's criminal laws, federal prisons hold individuals who commit federal crimes. Federal crimes include illegal activities committed across various state borders, including white-collar crimes and kidnapping. On the other hand, state prison facilities house convicted criminals guilty of crimes committed within state limits. Typically, federal courts sentence defendants who commit federal crimes to imprisonment in federal prison facilities, while the state courts sentence offenders who commit felony offenses within Alabama to incarceration in state prisons.

The Alabama government manages the state's prison system through the Alabama Department of Corrections (DOC). The DOC is responsible for overseeing the operations of the prison facilities. However, the federal government is responsible for operating and funding federal prison facilities. The federal government maintains its prison facilities through the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Inmates in federal prisons are often remanded longer than those incarcerated in state prison facilities.

Another distinction between the two prisons is in the method of inmate transfers. Federal prison inmates can be transferred from one federal prison facility to another, regardless of the location. However, when transferring an inmate incarcerated from one state prison facility to another, the receiving correctional facility must be situated in Alabama.

The Alabama Prison System

The Alabama prison system caters to persons sentenced to an imprisonment term for violating the state's criminal code. The Alabama Department of Corrections operates fourteen prison facilities. According to the ADOC 2019 Annual Report, the state prison system had 20,953 inmates in total for the year, a 0.67% increase from 2018, when the state recorded 20,087 inmates confined to state correctional facilities. The criminal activity with the highest number of convictions (3,387) in 2019 was "possession of controlled substances" or "intent to manufacture them."

How to Find an Inmate in Alabama

The ADOC provides an inmate search tool that allows persons to find details on inmates who are actively incarcerated. The search tool requires the inmate's AIS (Alabama Institutional Serial) number or first and last name to display results. Interested persons can also request non-confidential records managed by the ADOC by completing the record request form and submitting it via email. Requesters can also deliver their application forms in person or by mail to the following address:

Research & Planning Division
301 South Ripley Street
P.O. Box 301501
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-1501

Alabama prison facilities include:
Bibb Correctional Facility
565 Bibb Lane
Brent, AL 35034
Phone: (205) 926-5252

Bullock Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 5107
Union Springs, AL 36089-5107
Phone: (334) 738-5625

William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility
100 Warrior Lane
Bessemer, AL 35023-7299
Phone: (205) 436-3681

Easterling Correctional Facility
200 Wallace Drive
Clio, AL 36017-2615
Phone: (334) 397-4471

Elmore Correctional Facility
3520 Marion Spillway Road
Elmore, AL 36025
Phone: (334) 567-1460

G. K. Fountain Correctional Facility
Fountain 3800
Atmore, AL 36503-3800
Phone: (251) 368-8122

Hamilton Correctional Facility
223 Sasser Drive
Hamilton, AL 35570
Phone: (205) 921-7453

William C. Holman Correctional Facility
Holman 3700
Atmore, AL 36503-3700
Phone: (251) 368-8173

Kilby Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 150
Mt. Meigs, AL 36057
Phone: (334) 215-6600

Limestone Correctional Facility
28779 Nick Davis Road
Harvest, AL 35749
Phone: (256) 233-4600

St. Clair Correctional Facility
1000 St. Clair Road
Springville, AL 35146
Phone: (205) 467-6111

Staton Correctional Facility
2690 Marion Spillway Road
Elmore, AL 36025
Phone: (334) 567-2221

Julia Tutwiler Correctional Facility
8966 US Highway 231 North
Wetumpka, AL 36092
Phone: (334) 567-4369

Ventress Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 767
Clayton, AL 36016-0767
Phone: (334) 775-3331

Interested parties can also request Alabama inmate records from the aforementioned facilities and find an inmate committed to a federal prison institution using the BOP inmate search tool. Requestors will be required to provide the biodata of the inmate, including their full name, race, age, gender, and BOP number, to facilitate the search.

Alabama County Jails

Alabama county jails are detention facilities operated by county governments. Typically, the sheriff's office oversees the management of the county jails. Inmates housed at county jails have shorter incarceration sentences, usually not exceeding a year. Individuals confined in these facilities have committed misdemeanor offenses or are awaiting trial or sentencing. Also, persons held in contempt of court are housed in county jails. In 2019, the inmate jail population was 14,148. Mobile County jail admitted the most inmates during this period.

Interested individuals may request Alabama jail records by visiting the relevant sheriff's office and requesting an inmate's information. The Alabama Sheriffs' Association provides a directory that querying parties can use to obtain various county sheriffs' locations, contact information, and websites. The county sheriffs may also offer a search tool or roster on their websites that individuals can use to lookup inmates in county jail facilities.

How Does the Federal Prison System Work?

The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is the administrative body responsible for maintaining all federal facilities in the federal prison system. Federal prison facilities hold inmates convicted of federal crimes such as fraud, kidnapping, treason, and tax evasion. Currently, there are 122 federal prison institutions in the United States. These institutions have custody over roughly 152,034 federal inmates, 9% of which are held in private prison facilities. 46.4% of federal convicts were incarcerated for drug-related offenses.