Jail vs. Prison

Difference Between Jail and Prison   The reason why jails and prisons were built is pretty clear cut.…

Difference Between Jail and Prison


The reason why jails and prisons were built is pretty clear cut. These places are where people who have gone against the law are kept. Going against the law means not following it or breaking it which pretty much ensures you a stay in any of these two places.

There are a number of differences between jail and prison. Basically, a jail is where wrong doers are kept for a short period of time. Usually, this is done while the accused or the suspect is waiting for the court to hear their case out. In jail, everything has been curtailed including your freedom, your personal space as well as your privileges as a person.

On the other hand, a prison is another establishment built to physically keep a person away from the free society, but this time for an extended period of time. People who are in person have cases that have already been ruled by a jury or a judge. In this case, the government provides means for the prisoners to occupy themselves with while they serve their sentences. Productive activities such as gardening are allowed as well as anything that requires creativity and a lot of time.

In terms of governance, in the US a jail is kept by the local sheriff and his inmates are usually those whose crimes are not too grave such as petty thefts and robbery. For a much serious crime that’s already been ruled out, the wrong doers go to prison especially those who have been sentenced for rape, murder, and other federal offenses. These establishments are run by the Federal Bureau or the state.

In brief:

  1. A jail provides confinement for small time criminals for a short period of time
  2. A prison is for people who commit serious crimes like murder and rape. These people have already been sentenced for these offenses and are expected to stay there for a long period of time.
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