What Is The Difference Between Jail and Prison?
When it comes to the criminal justice system in the United States, the terms prison and jail are often used interchangeably. However, they actually refer to two different types of facilities where people are held after being convicted of a crime and serve different purposes and functions.
Depending on the type of crime you have been convicted of you could end up serving time in jail or prison. If you are facing criminal charges of any kind it is always best to speak with a criminal defense attorney near you who will fight to help you avoid jail or prison time altogether.
There are a few key differences between prison and jail, we explore these below.
What Purpose Do Jails Serve?
Jails are short-term correctional facilities that are typically operated by local law enforcement agencies, such as county sheriffs or city police departments. There are a number of reasons why someone might end up having to stay in jail.
One of the primary functions of jails is to ensure that individuals appear in court for their scheduled hearings. They are used to hold individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial.
Jails also provide a secure environment for the temporary detention of individuals who are a threat to themselves or others, or who are likely to flee if released on bail.
They are also used to house individuals who have been sentenced to serve only a short period of time (typically less than one year) for minor crimes such as misdemeanors.
In addition to holding inmates, jails may also offer programs and services such as substance abuse treatment, mental health services, and educational programs.
Prisons VS Jails
Prisons on the other hand are long-term facilities that are operated by state or federal government agencies. They are designed to house individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes such as felonies and who are serving sentences of more than one year.
Unlike jails, which are usually run by local law enforcement agencies, prisons are operated by state or federal departments of corrections. They are typically larger and more secure than jails, with higher staffing levels and more extensive security measures.
The primary function of prisons is to punish and rehabilitate individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes. Prisons offer a variety of programs and services aimed at helping inmates develop the skills and knowledge they need to successfully re-enter society after their release. These may include educational programs, vocational training, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services.
The Key Differences Between Jails and Prisons
The main difference between prison facilities and jail facilities can be summed up as follows:
- Length of Stay: Jails are short-term facilities used for temporary detention, while prisons are long-term facilities used for extended incarceration.
- Jurisdiction: Jails are typically operated by local law enforcement agencies, while prisons are operated by state or federal government agencies.
- Type of Offense: Jails are used to hold individuals who have been arrested for minor crimes, while prisons are used to house individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes.
- Level of Security: Prisons are generally more secure than jails, with higher staffing levels and more extensive security measures.
- Programs and Services: Jails may offer some programs and services, but prisons offer a wider range of programs and services aimed at helping inmates develop the skills and knowledge they need to successfully re-enter society after their release.
Although these two types of facilities do serve different purposes neither are places that an individual wants to spend any significant period of time in. A good criminal defense attorney in your area can help you avoid jail or prison time when possible.
Contact A Columbus, Ohio Defense Lawyer Near You
Criminal charges are nothing to take lightly; they can have far-reaching consequences on your life. If you are facing charges of any kind, contact Joslyn Law Firm, our team will get to work fighting for you. Experience matters when dealing with criminal cases that have the potential for either jail or prison time. We know the prosecutors and judges of the Franklin County court system and how to handle each on a case-by-case basis. We know what to expect and what to do to get the best result possible. Contact our Columbus, OH law firm today for a free case consultation.