Jails and Prisons Critical Essay

The Differences of Prisons and Jails Kenitra Evans CRJ303 Instructor Martin McAuliffe March 13, 2013 There are many differences between jails and prisons. They equally both house offenders but their day to day operations are very different. There are long histories about jails and prisons both and in this paper we will describe the differences of jails and prisons including how they operate and their functions.
Many people hear the words prison and or jail, and they believe that both are one in the same but in reality they are very much different. Jails are correctional facilities that house offenders before or after they are sentenced for their crimes committed. Those individuals that are confined in jails are: * Individuals pending arraignment and awaiting trial, conviction, or sentencing * Probation, parole, and bail bond violators and absconders (Seiter,2011 pg 71) There are many different other reasons jails house inmates. Jails are full service facilities that offer security, food service, medical care, and offender programs and are therefore different from lockups, which are commonly located in police stations and hold people only for a short period of time, usually no more than forty-eight hours. ”(Seitter, 2011) Sheriff’s and local governments oversee the day to day operation of jails and there are different jails such as the regional jail which were created because the basic operations of jails were becoming complicated for small counties and the need for funding to continue operations.
There are about 3,600 jails in the United States. “The size of the jail population is a product of decisions made by various law enforcement entities that the jail serves, the courts, and other segments of the criminal justice system. The size of the jail population is also affected by local, state, and federal laws; crime rates; and public attitudes about crime. ”(nicic. gov) The length of stay and those admitted to jails are quite different from prisons. There have been almost 9 to 11 admissions to jail and the average length of stay is 15 to twenty days.

Sometimes a person stays longer if they are still fighting a case thus pushing out their court dates which extends their stay provided they cannot afford bail. “During 2003, 686,437 inmates were admitted to state and federal prisons, 656,320 inmates were released, and the average length of stay for released inmates was 36 months. The jail system booking and release procedures are on a constant whirlwind with bail bonds and so forth. There are different jails as well such as state jails and county jails.
In state jails an inmate can spend no more than two years maximum. Prisons Prisons are run by state governments and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. There are only about 100 federal prisons, detention centers, and correctional institutions in the U. S. Prisons were created to house inmates that are serving a sentence of one year or more that are convicted of crimes. Prisons offer more to inmates such as work programs, Halfway houses and other educational programs that could possibly benefit the offender.
These sorts of incentives are not offered in jails because inmates are usually serving shorter sentences. There are different facilities such as BOP operated prisons, long term contract facilities and jails/short term facilities. Many offenders in prison are set in place by their security levels. Some are deemed as low risk, medium risk or high risk offenders which determine where they are housed. The prison budget has been over exceeded with the operations and also building more prisons to prevent overcrowding. Corrections is the fifth-largest area of state spending after Medicaid, secondary education, higher education and transportation. State spending on prisons has swelled as the nation’s jail and prison population has climbed to 2. 3 million people, or about one in every 100 adults. But grim budget realities are forcing state lawmakers’ hand. ”(pewtrusts. org) There is a difference in jails and prisons as well as how they are operated. Prisons house offenders that have been convicted of crimes whereas jails house those awaiting trial as well as those serving shorter sentences.
Prisons and jails have come a long way and there will be more changes to come with the world’s crime rate as it is. References At Least 23 States Cut Funding for Prisons This Year, August 11, 2009 The Pew Charitable Trusts http://www. pewtrusts. org/our_work_report_detail. aspx? id=54481 Corrections: An Introduction; Richard P. Seiter 3rd edition 2011 Upper Saddle River New York Jail Resource Issues What Every Funding Authority Need to Know, Gary M. Bowker February 2002 http://static. nicic. gov/Library/017372. pdf

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