Jail and Prison Comparison

Topics: Prison, Criminal justice, Crime Pages: 7 (1543 words) Published: July 6, 2015


Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper
MiSha Bagley
Introduction to Corrections/CJS 255
June 15, 2015
Sherri Webster
Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper
It is not uncommon that most people believe that jail and prison are one in the same. Jail is usually the first place a suspect is taking after being arrested and before they have been found guilty of a crime. Prison is the place where criminals are sent to carry out the sentence that was handed down to them by the jury and or judge. The purpose of this paper is to describe the differences and similarities of security levels in jails, state and federal prisons. Also a summary of the history of prisons, the factors that influenced growth in jails and prison and the role that jails play in corrections throughout history. In colonial times of 1166 in England the first jail was built. During this time jails were originally used to hold offenders as they awaited trial but then were used to the poor, the mentally ill and displaced persons. Jails during this time were not in the best of conditions. In 1779 The Penitentiary Act was drafted and contained four requirements for jails and prisons. According to Seiter (2014), the English jails and prisons must maintain secure and sanitary structures, systematic inspections must be completed, an abolition to fees charged to inmates, and a reformatory system in which inmates are confined to their cells but worked in common areas during the day (“Jails/Current Jail Operations”). The reform also included diet, hygiene and uniforms for inmates. Today those requirements for reform are still used in the United States and Canada. Schmalleger (2008) stated, “Jail is defined as a locally operated, short term confinement facility that was originally built to hold suspects following arrest and pending trial” (p. 393). The early jails used fines as a means of punishment. In eightieth century confinement as a means of punishment and rehabilitation of offenders were used for convicted criminals. In 1790 the first prison to establish this concept was in Philadelphia at the Walnut Street jail. Over the next several years penitentiaries adopted the model of confining of sentenced criminals (Seiter, 2014, “Jails/Current Jail Operations”). In society today, jails serve other purposes as well. Today jails receive individuals pending arraignment and hold them awaiting trial, conviction, or sentencing, readmit probation, parole, bail violators and absconders, temporarily detain juveniles, the mentally ill, and others pending transfer to appropriate facilities, hold individuals for the military, protective custody, for contempt, for the courts as witness and holds inmates sentenced to short terms (generally under one year) (Schmalleger 2008). According to Schmalleger (2008), jail boot camps are becoming popular to give offenders who are sentenced to probationary terms a taste of confinement and the rigors of life behind doors. State and Federal Prisons

The history of State and federal prison have some similarities but also differ in several ways. They both hold criminal offenders who have convicted a crime under state and federal laws. The state prisons usually house criminals who have committed “street crimes” such as murder, robbery, theft, assault and burglary. Previously federal prisons housed criminals who committed white collar crimes such as movement of criminal activity across state or national boundaries and crimes specific to the federal government (Seiter, 2014, “Adult Prison Systems in the United States”). According to Seiter (2014) crimes such as bank robbery, kidnaping, murder of public officials, drug distribution and certain crimes using a weapon are federal crimes. As a result there is now a less distinction between federal and state prison inmates than what was in the past. In the 1800s criminals who were convicted of federal crimes were housed in state prisons if their sentence was more than a year and in a local jail if less...
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