A federal prison is operated under the jurisdiction of a federal government as opposed to a state or provincial body. Federal prisons are used for convicts who violated federal law (U.S., Mexico), inmates considered dangerous (Brazil), or those sentenced to longer terms of imprisonment (Canada). Not all federated countries have a legal concept of "federal prison".
The Australian federal government does not directly control most prisons or detention facilities. There are a relatively small number of federal detention facilities, consisting of military detention facilities (such as the Defence Force Correctional Establishment), immigration detention facilities, and holding cells in Australian Federal Police stations in some territories.
The vast majority of criminal prosecutions in Australia take place within state or territory court systems under state or territory law, however a relatively small number of prosecutions in state and federal courts occur under federal law (such as the Crimes Act 1914).
Section 120 of the Constitution of Australia provides that:
Every State shall make provision for the detention in its prisons of persons accused or convicted of offences against the laws of the Commonwealth, and for the punishment of persons convicted of such offences, and the Parliament of the Commonwealth may make laws to give effect to this provision.
Accordingly, civilian federal offenders who are remanded in custody or sentenced to imprisonment are detained in state or territory prisons.
The Brazil federal prison system (Sistema Penitenciário Federal) was implemented in 2006 based on the provisions of the 1984 law "Lei de Execução Penal". It receives the most dangerous criminals who would be disruptive in state prisons.
In Canada, the Correctional Service of Canada operates federal penitentiaries, which house inmates with sentences of two years or more; provincial prisons are responsible for those with shorter terms.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), established with the passing of the Three Prisons Act of 1891, is responsible for the administration of federal prison facilities in the United States, as well as the custody and welfare of federal inmates. The BOP also provides researchers with background information and statistics regarding the Federal Prison System.
- Commonwealth Ombudsman (September 2019). Implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) - Baseline Assessment of Australia's OPCAT Readiness (PDF) (Report).
- Constitution (Cth) s 120 Custody of offenders against laws of the Commonwealth.
- Quinto presídio de segurança máxima do país será construído no DF, Brazil Ministry of Justice, 29/11/2013
- "Frequently Asked Questions". Correctional Service Canada. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
- Mexico: Government builds 8 maximum-security prisons Archived 2013-12-17 at the Wayback Machine, Sergio Ramos, Infosurhoy.com, 04/12/2012
- "Federal Penitentiary Service". Government of the Russian Federation. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- Bosworth, Mary (2002). The US Federal Prison System. p. 4. ISBN 0761923047. Retrieved 2015-10-21.