What Is The Difference Between Jail And Prison?

by Antra Kamble
Difference Between Jail And Prison

When it comes to the difference between jail and prison people often get confused! We all know criminals are sent to these places based on the crimes that they have committed crimes. The terms jail and prison may sound similar to you, but they serve different purposes. Both jail and prison have their own meanings and refer to different places. In today’s article, I have shown the list of differences between jail and prisons. Here, I have also included the similarities between jails and prisons in detail. To learn more about this difference between jail and prison, you can keep on reading.

Difference Between Jail And Prison

In this section, you will get to learn the main difference between jail and prison

Here, I have summarized the difference between prison and jail.

JailPrison
Jails are run by country governments under the country sheriff’s jurisdiction.While prisons are run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and other government agencies.
The person is kept in jail for at least 1 year or less.The person is kept in prison for more than 1 year. 
For short-term sentences, the person is held in jail.For long-term sentences, the person is held in a prison.
Only a small portion of people is held in jail.However, prisons have the capacity of holding larger crowds.
Jails are less rigid as compared to prisons.Prisons are more rigid and strict than jails.

Now, is there a difference between jail and prison? Well, yes! One of the major differences between jail and prison is the amount of time spent in each place. 

You can keep on reading to know what is the primary difference between jails and prisons in detail.

What Is A Jail?

They are usually operated by country governments under the country sheriff’s jurisdiction. Jails serve smaller populations and are specially designed for short-term sentences. The person who is guilty is held in jail when he is awaiting a bail hearing or is waiting for a court trial. For example, if the criminal is serving a short sentence that is mostly less than a year, then they are sent to jail. 

  • Rehabilitation Programs In Jail

Jails also offer several rehabilitation programs that might help them to get into the community. This includes boot camps, educational, behavioral, and vocational problems. They can also take part in substance abuse programs to ensure that they don’t return to jail. The criminals with jobs can also take part in work release programs if they wish to maintain their employment.

Let us now study what is a prison.

What Is A Prison?

The Federal Bureau of Prisons and other government agencies operate prisons. On the other hand, prisons are designed to hold criminals who have committed serious crimes. And the criminals over here are sentenced for longer periods of time. 

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, there are different levels of security prisons. You can keep on reading to know them in detail.

  1. Minimum Security Prisons: These prisons are the lowest-risk prisoners. They are usually kept in dorm-style housing.
  2. Low-Security Prisons: In this prison, the prisoners are kept under the perimeter fence.
  3. Medium Security Prisons: These prisons generally contain more cells and staff. They have fenced and guarded perimeters and internal controls on prisoners.
  4. High-Security Prisons: These prisons are specially designed for high-risk prisoners. They have high fences and walls with multiple cells.

There is also a minimum custody option for some criminals who are approaching the end of their serving period.

  • Rehabilitation Programs In Prison

There are several work and rehabilitation programs in prison that are only designed for criminals of non-violent crimes. This includes work release centers or community restitution centers. But remember that not all criminals are eligible for these programs. It totally depends on the severity of the crimes or the sentence of the inmates.

You can keep on reading to know what’s the difference between jail and prison more in detail.

Difference Between Jail And Prison In USA

The fundamental difference between jail and prison is the nature of their crime. Let us study the difference between jail and prison in the USA.

  • In the USA, prison is an institution that is specially designed for people who have committed serious crimes. Jails are also an institution designed for the confinement of people who are waiting for their trials or have committed minor crimes.
  • Prisons are operated under state jurisdiction. Whereas jail is under the jurisdiction of a local government.
  • Criminals in prisons serve 1 year or more sentence period. And in jail, criminals serve at least 1 year or less than 1 year sentence period.
  • Prisons are more rigid and strict than jails.

Similarities And Differences Between Jails And Prisons

Here, I have listed down few similarities between jails and prisons in detail.

  • Criminals in jail and prisons have to stay away from their family and friends.
  • Jail and prison officials confine, cloth, and feed the criminals.
  • Criminals get a chance to improve their life once again.

Difference Between Jail And Correctional Facility

People often get confused with jail and correctional facilities. Jails serve smaller populations and are specially designed for short-term sentences. While a correctional facility is usually used to maintain connections with prisons and jails.

Here, I have also explained the difference between prison and correctional facilities.

PrisonCorrectional Facility
Prisons are designed to keep criminals.While correctional facilities work to reform these criminals.
The main motive of jail is to punish criminals.Whereas the primary motive of correctional facilities is to make the prisoners rational and humane.
Here, there are certain restrictions for prisoners.However, correctional facilities offer some fresh air to prisoners in form of any activity.
Prisoners held prisoners who have committed all sorts of crimes.On the other hand, correctional facilities are specially designed for serial or destructive killers.
Prisons don’t give an opportunity to start their life again.Correctional facilities at least try to reform the prisoner to start their life once again.

Difference Between Jail And Lockup

By now you have understood what is the difference between jail and prison, let us see the difference between jail and lockup.

JailLockup
Jail is a type of prison.A lockup is a type of watchhouse.
Here, people are held in lawful custody.Here, people are temporarily locked up without any lawful custody.
In jail, criminals serve a sentence period of at least 1 or less than 1 year Whereas in lockup, people do not serve any sentence period. They are kept only for one or more days.

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FAQ

Which Is Worse Jail Or Prison?

In general, prison is much worse than jail. This is because in prisons criminals are held for a longer time period when compared to jail.

What Are The 4 Types Of Prisons?

The four types of prisons are as follows.

  1. Minimum Security Prisons: These prisons are the lowest-risk prisoners. They are usually kept in dorm-style housing.
  2. Low-Security Prisons: In this prison, the prisoners are kept under the perimeter fence.
  3. Medium Security Prisons: These prisons generally contain more cells and staff. They have fenced and guarded perimeters and internal controls on prisoners.
  4. High-Security Prisons: These prisons are specially designed for high-risk prisoners. They have high fences and walls with multiple cells.

How Long Can You Be In Jail Vs Prison?

Those who are held in jail get to serve short periods of time i.e. for 1 or less than one years. And those who are held in prison have to serve longer periods of time i.e. for 1 or more than one years.

What Is The Difference Between Jail And Prison In The Philippines?

The prime difference between jail and prison in the Philippines is as follows.

JailPrison
Jails are run by country governments under the country sheriff’s jurisdiction.While prisons are run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and other government agencies.
The person is kept in jail for at least 1 year or less.The person is kept in prison for more than 1 year. 
For short-term sentences, the person is held in jail.For long-term sentences, the person is held in a prison.
Only a small portion of people is held in jail.However, prisons have the capacity of holding larger crowds.
Jails are less rigid as compared to prisons.Prisons are more rigid and strict than jails.

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Conclusion

In my above-written article, we have studied the difference between jail and prison in-depth. Prison is an institution that is specially designed for people who have committed serious crimes. Whereas jails are also an institution designed for the confinement of people who are waiting for their trials or have committed minor crimes. In prisons, criminals are kept under custody for 1 or more than 1 year. While in jails, criminals are kept under custody for 1 or less than 1 year. Now as you have discovered the difference between jail and prison, you can share this post with your friends too!

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