Jail and Prison Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 6 May 2016

Jail and Prison

Many people think jail and prison are the same. In the past, I honestly myself thought that the only difference between jail and prison was prison was a bigger building than the building for jail. In fact, there are many differences between prisons and jails. Both are different entities. Here are some of the differences that you’ll want to know about if a member of your family, a close friend, or yourself is facing the prospect of going to jail or to prison. There are about 3,600 jails in the United States. Jails located within the area of a town or city and every city/town has at least one. Most jails are run by sheriffs and/or local governments. People accused under federal, state, county and/or city laws will be held in jail. Jail is build to temporary lock-up people till their court appearance, serve time on local misdemeanor charge, or serve a sentence of less than one year.

Any sentence over a year must be served in a prison. A jail was once only holding facility and prisons were reformatories. A prison is a place that inmates people who have been tried and convicted of crimes. A state or federal prison can be very far away from an inmate home. Prison can be located too far from family and friends to visit. There are only about 100 federal prisons, detention centers, and correctional institutions in the United States. The prisons are operated by under the jurisdiction of either Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) or state government. Jail plays an important part. Usually people that go to jail commit a local or small crime.

Serving time in jail can scare offenders from committing future illegal acts. Jail time can be a big wake up call for many people. First small time offenders can realize they were lucky jail or prison is not a place they would want to be. Committed low offenders are face with consequences by giving probation, community service and sent to detention centers. Today many jails are considered reformatories (also known as correctional centers, state vocational institution, reform schools, houses of refuge, and industrial or training schools) in many parts of the United States. The courts hope to help the minors from committing future illegal acts by taking responsibility for his / her actions. Committed minors are face with consequences by giving them similar punishments as adults. The young adults are face with probation, community service and sent to detention centers. Jails operate work release programs, boot camps, and other services.

The jail system tries to address education, substance abuse, and vocational needs while managing inmate behavior. Prisons are best described as Total Institution. In and only in prison, an inmate every aspect in life is controlled. Every detail of a prisoner is prescribed and managed by the prison. The state prison systems run halfway houses, work release centers, and community restitution centers. The programs are given to inmates because the inmates are reaching the end of their long sentences. There are many different types of prisons. Minimum security prisons look very much alike camps or college campuses and only hold about 20% of the inmates in the United States. The prisons usually have one or no fence perimeter. The inmates in minimum security prisons are convicted of non-violent crimes with clean criminal record.

The crimes are usually forgery, cheating on taxes, and perjury. The prison also houses prisoners who have served most of their sentence from a higher security facility and improve their behavior. Low security prisons are surrounded by double-fenced perimeters. The inmates have dormitories or cubicle housing. Prisoners are provided with strong work and program components. A medium security prison has more restrictions the daily movements of an inmate. They hold about 45% of United States prisoners and the inmates are convicted of crimes such as assault and thefts. The prison has dormitories instead of cells but does have a razor-wire fence surrounding the area. Inmates are offered a wide variety of work and treatment programs. Maximum security prisons hold prisoners serving longer sentences. Only a quarter of all prisoners in the United States are housed in a maximum security facility.The prison holds about 35% Of Unites States prisoners.

The inmates are convicted of crimes such as murder, kidnapping and other felonies. The prison was designed for violent offenders and/or inmates who have escaped (or tried to escape). Some inmates are also place in a maximum security prison because they can cause problems in lower security prisons. While an inmate is in prison, prisoners are to follow the rules set by prison officials. If a prisoner breaks any rules, he/she gets a hearing before the warden. If the warden finds the prisoner guilty of breaking a rule, penalties can be issued.

There many of the punishments given to an inmate who break the prison rules. The consequences can be very high depending on what rule the inmate break. An inmate can be sent alone to time in solitary confinement. She/he can have a removal of accumulated “good behavior” time and transfer to a less desirable or paying prison job. Confiscation of items from prisoners can be taken such as TV’s, yard time, be sent to eat alone in your cell, phone calls, visitations from family and friends, and receiving letters. Violent crimes in prison can cause an inmate to be transfer to higher-security prison. When an inmate chooses to participate in violent acts towards a staff member, this may be due to the “friction points” prevalent throughout the social context and role within the prison system administration (Bottoms, 1999).

Before the Truth in Sentencing Law pass, many offenders were only serving a short time in prison than the time they are sentenced to serve by the court. The role of the Truth in Sentencing Act was first enacted in 1984. The law required offenders to serve at least 85% the portion of their prison sentence imposed by the court. There’s been a nearly 18 percent drop in reported crime in Arizona since the state began requiring criminals to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences, a new study shows (Smith, 2012). The Act would also require any person convicted of a violent crime would have to serve no less than 100% of the sentence by the court. Truth in Sentencing also requires offenders to serve their entire minimum sentence in a prison before being eligible for parole.


Smith, K. (2012). New study says truth-in-sentencing in Arizona has made state safer . Retrieved from http://www.corrections.com/news/article/29977-new-study-says-truth-in-sentencing-in-arizona-has-made-state-safer Bottoms, A.E. (1999). Interpersonal violence and social order in prisons. Crime and Justice, 26, 205-281. The University of Chicago Press. Retrieved June 4, 2009, from http://www.jstor.org/pss/1147687.

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