Asking someone what is the best federal prison is sort of like asking where’s the best place on the body to be shot. Well … no where, actually.
But if someone must go to prison, minimum security federal prisons, also called prison camps, is the play to make. Among other things, federal prison camps have a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio, dormitory-style accommodations and little to no fencing. In fact, inmates could walk away from these camps. Few do, however, because recaptured inmates face severe consequences and lodging in an upgraded facility with harsher conditions and much more scrutiny.
“It used to be that those free standing facilities were considered to be more relaxed,” says David Novak, a former Microsoft consultant who served time in a federal prison camp for mail fraud. “The differences now really come down to convenience for family, weather and things of that nature.”
Prison pundits also say the quality of life among staff members also can make one prison more pleasant than another. “Happier staff makes for happier inmates,” says Alan Ellis, a former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Prison camps, which almost resemble college campuses from the outside, certainly fit that criteria as they make for a much more laid-back ambiance.
Here are the top ten U.S. prisons: