Patricia L. Avery
Differences between Jails & Prisons
While reading the article Jails vs Prisons by Daron Hall, he used the analogy of comparing jails and prisons to emergency rooms and nursing homes. (Hall) They both serve a significant purpose in maintaining the safety and well-being of a person but in two very different ways. (Hall) The transition from the street to jail is far more dramatic, and sometimes volatile, in comparison to the transition from jail to prison. Therefore, although the staff in reception areas of jails and prisons deal with similar processes, the emotional and physical health of those admitted into jail, in most cases, are extremely different from those being transferred to prison. Immediately upon reception of an inmate, jail staff must gather information concerning an arrestee’s physical health, mental health, criminal history, previous institutional history and potential incompatibles (inmates who cannot be housed together, e.g., rival gang members, co-defendants, etc.). Additionally, jail intake staff deal with many unknown variables such as possible drug ingestion prior to entering jail, high risk of suicide and mental instability, as well as exposure to diseases such as tuberculosis. As in a nursing home, the person is generally stable when entering a prison and the intake process can take several weeks. The obstacles facing many jail administrators is assisting offender with serious addiction problems when they are serving relatively short sentences. Jails are challenged to be innovative and flexible in the world of recovery to reach a common goal.
Although offering a wide variety of programs for offenders should be a goal for us all, the means by which this is administered may vary tremendously. Due to short sentences, jails are releasing offenders back into the community on a daily basis. Where prisons manage inmates for longer periods of times. Prisoners can be sentenced for the remainder of their...
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