What is the Difference Between a Jail and a Prison

People, who are not well versed with the field of law enforcement, tend to get into confusion as to what is the difference between jail and prison. This is the reason as to why people use these two terms interchangeably. However, there is a major difference between prison and jail in terms of size, facilities and other factors. Usually, jails are handled by the administration of the cities and the counties, whereas the prison is managed by the state administration. Therefore, it goes without saying that jails are smaller in size as compared to prisons.

Normally, people kept in jails are the ones who serve a short term sentence and this is the reason as to why the facilities in the jail are lesser than the facilities in the prison. Prison consists of more space, more cells and facilities so that the prisoners get to live a normal life. The facilities present in prisons are libraries, church etc so that one can build on his social life. Also, since the criminals in a jail are the ones who have been convicted for committing heinous crimes, they are kept under tight security so that problems of any kind are not caused due to clashes between the criminals within the prison. The rules followed in a prison are very strict too, making sure that the criminals stick to the schedule and lead a disciplined life.

The provision for counseling too is made available in prisons to change the minds of the criminals and get them on the right track. In a jail, the security is not very tight and there are no facilities where the convict can spend his leisure time. However, in cases where the chances of violence showing up, among the people under detention are high, ample security is arranged to avoid any mishaps. People, who are arrested based on a complaint, are also kept in the jail till their crime is proved.

Usually, the maximum sentence that a person who is in jail serves is for two years. When a person is sent to jail, he is close to his home as the local administation maintains the jails. The only similarity in a jail and prison is that the convicts are kept under physical confinement and their rights are limited. The main reason for the prisons to have many more facilities in comparison with a jail lies in the fact that the criminals here need more counseling and modes of recreation, to set their thinking right so that they become changed individuals by the time they are done with their punishment.