There is no doubt that incarceration is designed to be a very unpleasant experience. However, is there any difference between being sent to prison or being sent to jail? Yes, there are differences in regards to rights, policies, and the daily life of an inmate and this article will try to explain what they are.
In a nutshell, the main difference between a prison and a jail is the length of stay. Typically, for the short term an inmate will be put in jail but for the long term an inmate will be put in prison. Jails are usually overseen by a local law enforcement or government agency. They are built to keep inmates who are either awaiting trial or who have received a short sentence. A short sentence would be a misdemeanor conviction as opposed to a felony.
A jail, at times, may operate a boot camp or work-release program. Some jails provide vocational programs, substance abuse programs and educational programs. These programs have two advantages of which one is to provide the inmate with an opportunity to avoid future visits or a boring future like becoming a Staten Island real estate lawyer. The other advantage is that the programs keep the inmates occupied which means that they will likely cause less problems for the jailers.
On the other hand, a prison is usually operated by the state or federal government. A prison is an institution that has been designed to keep individuals who have been convicted of felonies or more serious crimes. Each prison will offer different programs depending on various criteria such as the inmates level of custody. In most cases a program will only be offered to prisoners who are nearing the end of their prison sentence.
Prisons are designed for the long term living needs of the population whereas a jail may have a more transient population and therefore it will have facilities that are less developed.
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