Jails and prisons lay at the heart of the Criminal Justice System. These facilities helped forge the concept of rehabilitation. These institutions have changed over time and now reflect the modern methods of housing convicted individuals who need to be reformed or punished. Description of jails
The clear concise difference between a jail and a prison is the time limit a convicted person is sentenced to and what offenses were committed. In a jail, prisoners are usually confined because they were convicted of a lesser or petty offense. Examples of petty offenses are driving without a license or a misdemeanor drug possession charge. Most of these offenses come with a sentence of a year or less and anyone with over a year sentence is usually sent to a prison facility (Seiter, 2011). Jails act as holding facilities where inmates rarely get time to be out of their cells, to reflect, or to engage in recreational time. Because jails are so short term the focus is on inward reflection of crime through solitude. Some of these restrictions are a product themselves of the lesser amount of time spent in the correctional facilities. Criminals are charged more in a jail facility with reflecting on their crime by being exposed to sheer solitude. Furthermore, jails rarely have any vocational or rehabilitation programs utilized within their walls. On the other hand, prisons have an ample amount of time to work with, rehabilitate, and reform offenders. Prisons do this with the hope that offenders can eventually be placed back into society and limit their recidivism back to crime. History of state and federal prisons
The jail component of the American corrections system came well before the initiation of any prisons, probation, parole, or even halfway houses. The historical origins of jails or local corrections facilities in America come from England. American jails have developed and progressed so much further than that of its roots. Jails served a different purpose in England. Throughout the progression to the modern age, past mentality was altered from a place of confinement before harsh punishment could be administered to a place that rehabilitation and reflection could occur. The historical developments of jails and prisons overtime have gone from detention for purpose of public humiliation or deterrence, to an “out of sight out of mind” mentality, which segregated convicted individuals from the rest of society. State prisons have their roots in the penitentiary reform ideals of the Age of Enlightenment. The Three Prisons Act is the first law that authorized the establishment of federal prisons. This act was an important milestone for U.S. prison reform. This most important fact is that this act laid the foundation for the federal prison system to be created. Prior to the act being passed there were few penal facilities in the United States. Before this time period and the passing of this act only one facility, the Walnut Street Jail located in Philadelphia, stood the possibility of housing a large capacity of inmates charged with federal crimes. The role of a jail is a diverse one and conducts a very difficult mission. Few offenders skip the step of passing through a jail as they enter the correctional system. Jails hold a variety of offenders: including those arrested; those detained pending trial; those sentenced to short terms of confinement for minor crimes; those awaiting transfer to another facility; and those who are held administratively for a criminal justice agency. Some jail systems are larger than all but a few state prison systems while others are extremely small and have only four or five beds. Jails face unique issues such as dealing with unknown offenders, detoxification and medical problems, and serving the court with security and prisoner transportation. Jails are operated by local authorities and primarily hold pretrial detainees. Other jail inmates are...