Itis an undeniable fact that many Americans do not know the differencebetween prisons and jails despite the fact that these terms are oftenused interchangeably. We all know that both these institutions existfor the sake of containing dangerous individuals that do not fit intothe society because of engaging in criminal activities. From thispoint of perspective, both these institution are the same for thereason that they serve the same purpose. Nevertheless, there is ahuge disparity between these two institutions. What sets a prison anda jail apart is the length of the sentence that a convict can servein these institutions.
Thatsaid a jail is just a temporary holding facility. It is only used tohold individuals that have been recently arrested or those that havealready been charged for a crime but are unable bail themselves out.Convicts that are serving short sentences, normally less than oneyear, can be contained in a jail. For instance, in the state ofFlorida, convicts serving less than 364 days are allowed to servetheir time in jails. Jails are often run by local governments orlocal sheriffs who are required by the law to hold inmates that areserving a short sentence or are awaiting trial. Jails run boot camps,release programs and other specialized services.
Onthe contrary, a prison is a secure facility that holds individualswho have already been charged in a court of law and are serving asentence lasting more than one year. State prisons, also known asstate “penitentiaries”, are operated by the federal government.Normally, offenders that end up in prison must have passed throughjail. Convicts released from prison may be set free but on strictparole supervision or some form of community program where they willbe expected to improve on their social standings. State prisonsoperate work release centers, halfway houses, and communityrestitution centers.