Seasoned Guidance
For Your Trying Times

Overview of Prison Offenses

Even after a defendant has been convicted and sentenced to a prison term, he may be charged, convicted, and sentenced again for any offenses committed while in prison. A prison is defined as a correctional or detention facility. Although states vary on the types of chargeable prison offenses, there are some general offenses both under numerous state laws and under federal law.


It is not legal for an inmate to provide or attempt to provide contraband to another inmate. Contraband is defined as a weapon or some item that may be used as a weapon. The inmate is not permitted to make, possess or obtain any type of contraband. The mere possession of contraband is chargeable. The prosecution is not required to show that the inmate moved the contraband from point A to point B, it only needs to be shown that the inmate possessed contraband. It is also an offense for a visitor or some other individual to provide the inmate with contraband.

Participation in Mutiny or Riot

It is not legal for an inmate to participate in a mutiny or riot. Proof of participation by itself is sufficient to support a conviction of this offense. Participation includes:

  • Instigation.
  • Willfully attempting to cause a mutiny or riot.
  • Assisting in causing a mutiny or riot.
  • Conspiring to cause a mutiny or riot.

A mutiny is defined as resisting a warden or detention officer in the free and lawful exercise of their power. The prosecution must show that the inmate’s actions were sufficient to sustain a claim of mutiny.

Sexual Assault and Assault Offenses

If an inmate commits an assault or a sexual assault on another inmate or detention officer he may be charged with an assault offense. The elements are generally the same for the assault offenses as if they were committed while outside of prison. The prosecution is required to prove that the inmate intentionally and offensively touched another inmate or detention officer.

Double Jeopardy

If an inmate possesses contraband and then commits an offense with the contraband, he may be charged, convicted, and sentenced for both offenses. No double jeopardy violation occurs if the inmate has a knife and then subsequently stabs another inmate to death, and thereafter is charged with possessing contraband and murder. Possessing contraband is not a lesser-included offense of murder, thus no double jeopardy violation results.