Free Essay

Jails and Prison Comparison

In: Other Topics

Submitted By ncasteel6
Words 1067
Pages 5
Jails and Prisons Comparison University of Phoenix


Ms. Pamela Collinshill
June 25, 2013


For more than two hundred years the United States has used incarceration to punish any and all criminals. Jails and prisons are the institutions that judges send criminals to so they can serve time depending on the seriousness of the crime that the individual has committed. Being incarcerated is the humane form of punishment that is used considering how they used to punish individuals back in older times, when criminal justice was looked at differently.


Jail is a place where a criminal is confined to temporarily while awaiting trial or conviction of any type of minor offenses. The first jails were created in England in 1166 by King Henry II. Jails were used to house poor people, displaced people, mentally ill people, and criminals and the conditions in which the jails were; dirty, little and poor food, little or no medical attention, and full of violence. When John Howard became sheriff in 1773 he was appalled by these conditions and created the Penitentiary Act of 1779. “This act created four requirements for English prisons and jails: (1) secure and sanitary structures, (2) systematic inspections, (3) abolition of fees charged to inmates, and (4)a reformatory regime in which inmates were confined to solitary cells but worked in common rooms during the day. The act also detailed the requirements for diet, uniforms, and hygiene for prisoners.” (Seiter, 2011)

State and Federal Prison:

The history of state and federal prisons goes way back to the 1700’s beginning with the Penitentiary Era (1790) which was created to have a more humane reaction to social defiance rather than stocks, flogging, and public humiliation. Mass Prison Era (1825) which brought about the Auburn System. Reformatory Era (1876) the attempt to make inmates more humanized so they are able to fit better into society. Industrial Era (1890) increase security and safety measures. Punitive Era (1938) the thinking that punishment is the best thing for the inmates and needed to pay their debts to the society with long term sentences. Treatment Era (1945) the thought of being a criminal was a mental health problem that could be fixed with therapy and counseling as well as education. Community – Based Era (1967) inmates were considered to be poorly socialized and incarceration was seen as dehumanizing. Warehousing Era (1980) loss of faith in the treatment and rehabilitation of the inmates. Just Desserts Era (1995) no tolerance and increased sentences. All of these different eras, methods, and techniques have led us into the way the United States now runs the state and federal prisons.

Security Levels:

“Security levels (minimum, low, medium, high and administrative) are distinguished by such security features as towers and other perimeter security barriers such as fences or walls, with detection devices, the type of housing for prisoners (cells or dormitory), and the staff – to – inmate ratio.” (Seiter, 2011) There are some differences as well as similarities between security levels in jails, state prisons, and federal prisons. Federal prisons in the U.S. are prisons that are not run by the states but solely by the United States Federal Government. Federal prisons are maximum security prisons and house criminals who commit federal offenses. State prisons are prisons maintained by each specific state for the imprisonment of felons. Private prisons are correctional institutions that are privately owned and operated by private firms for the local or state government. Jails are used for short- term confinement facilities that are operated locally. Jails mainly hold people who are pending trials or ones who have just got arrested. So while federal prisons are to be considered maximum security levels, city jails can be considered minimum to low security levels, depending on the individual who is being arrested. State prison can be considered medium to high security levels.

Comparing the two:

A huge factor in the way jails, state and federal prisons are run is due to the growth in these facilities. “As of June 30, 2008, the states operated almost 1,250 prisons holding approximately 1.41 million inmates. Between 1980 and 2008, the federal inmate population increased dramatically from just over 24,000 to over 200,000. At midyear 2008, the nation’s 3,376 local jails held 785,556 inmates.” (Sieter, 2011) Some influencing factors as to why the number of inmates has increased is the get tough on crime way of thinking that society has encouraged. The public and judges do not want any individual who is to be considered dangerous to be back on the streets therefore they set high bails as to keep them locked up. Another reason is the pressure of the war on drugs the more individuals that they arrest and question the closer they are to ending the war. Society and the public have a lot to do with the increase of inmates, they want to feel safe and they will take any measures to achieve this goal.


In conclusion our government has established these incarceration facilities for our own good and to keep the bad out of society. It has been this way for many years and it has been changed to suit the community in the best ways possible. This is the most humane way possible for our legal systems and society to deal with the criminals that are upon us. While prisons and jails have changed for the better of the inmates, what hasn’t changed is the legal system that puts them there. As great as the legal system is, it’s getting to be “too great”, where the prisons and jails become too crowded and inmates are released. What needs to be done, is an overhaul of the population management along the county, city, state and federal systems. The idea is there, it just needs to be executed.


Seiter, R. (2011) Corrections an introduction (3rd edition). Upper

Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall

Jail vs. Prison. (2012). Retrieved from

State and Federal Prisons: A History of Growth. (2012). Retrieved from

Why Have Prison Secuirty Rating Levels. (2010). Retrieved from

US Prison Security Levels: From Minimum to Maximum. (2012). Retrieved from

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Jail Prison Comparison

...Jail and Prisons Comparison Annette C. Carney CJA/234 September 27, 202 Juan Juarez Jail and Prisons Comparison Even though the jails and prisons are overcrowded and some offenders keep repeating the crimes; jail’s place in corrections and throughout history is an important one. There is a long history of state, and federal prisons with a series of similarities and differences between security levels in the jails, state prisons, and federal prisons. The corrections system has improved over the years to try to benefit not only the community, but the offenders as well. Punishment and corrections for crimes has been around for centuries; in Colonial America they used corporal punishment, Public humiliation, and workhouses to teach people lessons for committing crimes (University of Phoenix, 2011). The believed that the harsher the punishment or humiliation the less likely a person is to repeat the crime, and others would be scared to commit crimes. The Quakers did not believe this, they believed that there were more humane ways to punish, rehabilitate, and correct the criminal acts. Even though they mixed violent criminals with those who had minor infractions, and mixed men with women; the conditions were still an improvement compared to years before. This soon rubbed off, and other colonies started to incorporate these beliefs. As our nation formed each state began to maintain its own incarceration system (University of Phoenix, 2011). The penitentiary era began in......

Words: 1639 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Comparison of Jails and Prisons

...Comparison of Jails and Prisons Jail is usually the first place a criminals go once arrested by law enforcement. “Jails hold only about one-tenth of all offenders under correctional supervision, yet admit approximately four times as many offenders each year as all other correctional components combined” (, ). Jails intentions are to protect the public and citizens of each county by housing criminals and keep them off the streets. Majority of people cannot tell the difference when people say a criminal goes to jail when in reality he should be going to prison. There is confusion with serving time in jails and prisons. Jails are local operational correctional facilities that detain accused criminals before or after a judgment or verdict (Seiter, R., 2011). Jails usually house these criminals for no more than a year. The difference between jails and prisons is that jails are for short sentences oppose to prisons were criminals usually are incarcerated for longer periods. “The average length of stay for a jail is fifteen to twenty days, much less than the average thirty-six month length of stay within a prison”( Seiter, R., 2011p.78 p.2). Sheriffs usually operate the county jails in the different counties of each state and serve as holding of inmates before sentenced. When criminals arrested, get to the jail they will get booked, wait until they receive their sentence or bail out of jail, and await trial. Those criminals that cannot afford to post bail usually stay......

Words: 1213 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Jail and Prison Comparison

...Jail and Prison Comparison Jorge Villalta CJA/204 February 04, 2014 Robert Nicholas Jail and Prison Comparison Human beings, throughout our history have devised ingenious ways to “punish” others for real crime and perceived transgressions. Corrections is the principal function of the management of criminals after sentencing; punishments, secure facilities used to hold offenders, and the discipline. (Seiter, 2011) Similar to modern days in Corrections, jails are still ran by the local sheriff’s department. Each county or state maintain its own incarceration system. Jail is a secure holding facility for criminal offenders of a sentence of a year or less. An offender would get incarcerated for a crime that breaks the federal law and an offender who breaks a state law may get incarcerated in a state prison. Both federal and state prisons have different levels of security for people convicted of different things such as low, medium, and high security. Most security levels are made up to hold different levels of dangerous criminals. Minimum security prisons are less tight with their security because prisoners at this level are considered to pose little risk. There is less supervision over the internal movements of prisoners, as well as communal showers, toilets, sinks, and some internet access. Minimum level security prisons also offer little supervised programs, such as community service roadside. Medium security level prisons......

Words: 729 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Jail and Prisons Comparisons Paper

...Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper Marcus Alexander CJA/234 Introduction to Corrections June 23, 2014 Sherri Webster Jail and Prisons Comparison In the U.S. criminal justice system, when a person is arrested, the first place they are usually taken to is jail. From there, they see a judge and go through a court process. If further incarceration is needed, the individual is sentenced to serve time in either a county jail, state prison or federal prison. This paper will help discuss the history behind the jails and their use in addition to the history of state and federal prisons. While understanding the history of these three correctional facilities it will help to compare the different levels of security and how they work differently in each facility. A major problem in the United States, regarding the corrections system, is overcrowding. The effects of overcrowding are visible throughout the criminal justice system and there are different factors that influence the growth of jail/prison incarceration. The jails of the modern era can be traced back to the 1100’s in England. The first jail created was ordered built by King Henry II in 1166, and the English term gaol was used in place of the word jail (Seiter, 2011). Jails then were also used, as they are now, for the purpose of housing offenders that were waiting for trial, but also took in individuals who were homeless, poor or suffered from mental disabilities. Individuals that are incarcerated in...

Words: 1871 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Jail and Prison Comparison

...Our jail systems are a short time confinement. Where the inmates are awaiting trial, and sentencing. It is often run by sheriffs or local government officials. As to where our prisons are operated by federal governments. And house inmates anywhere from one year to life, depending on the crime. Jails try and work with specialized services and boot camp, work release programs. Where the state prisons use halfway houses, community restitution centers, the penitentiary was secular and spiritual; and physical punishment is not needed, living conditions are cleaner, body contamination was cut down because inmates have been separated. Such as putting them in isolation and to create habits by enforcing strict rules. Labor was productive from prisoners, because they were not aloud to sit around. The secular prison is where inmates can feel regret, a meeting for religious need for expressing contrition for sin, including a place of penitence or penance; expressing remorse and regret of their crimes. By doing this an inmate can say “I am sorry and promises not to do that again”. (Foster, 2006 pg. 22) Minimum security is setup for the “short-termers” (Foster, 2003 pg. 124) the inmates are approaching release and have worked themselves down have a higher classification. The prison is smaller with minimal perimeter security and less internal control with highest rates of inmates to guards. The wire fence is there for the safety of the public, but the inmates can still......

Words: 1126 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper

...Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper Kevona Williamson CJA/234 August 15, 2013 Professor C. Darnell Stroble, Esq The jails have been around for quite some time now and have played a huge role in our society. They were originally designed to serve one purpose and that was to lock an individual up. They were very inhumane and cruel. Not a place anyone would want to go and in fact people feared being locked up due to the fact of the things that would happen to an individual while they were in the jail. There was a severe lack of food and the hygiene levels were very low. The jails over time changed as the times changed. They started to realize that a jails place was not to just lock up an individual but to rehabilitate them as well and get them ready to be released back into society. They have done this by adding several different programs over the years. You can now get your high school diploma while in jail. There are several drug and alcohol related programs to get an individual clean and sober and ready for release. There are trade school programs so inmates can learn a trade and when released can get a job and become a productive member of society. 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......

Words: 759 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Jail and Prison Comparison Paper

...Jail and Prison Comparison Paper Jennifer Williams CJA/234 February 10, 2015 Jail and Prison Comparison Paper There are a lot of confusing when people think that a jail and prison is similar, there is a big difference. Once you have been arrested, jail is the first place that you are taken to by police officers. I depend on your charge and sentencing by the court system, if you will be spending time in the jail or going to prison for a long time. A description of jail’s Place in correction and its role throughout history. According to Seiter (2011), jail are correction facilities that are used to detaining criminal before they can be judged in a court of law. After law enforcement officers has taking a criminal to jail the mainly focus is to keep the criminal off the street until he/she can see the judge and determining if the criminal be stay detain or release. If a person is sentencing a year or less they will mostly send their time in the local jail until there sentencing is up. Compare to a prison a person that sentence two to life there time to be served in a prison cell. Due to the expose to highly communicable disease like people with high risk of suicide, and mental issues, the risk is dangerous. Criminal that have less than a year in jail, usually just try to stay out of trouble do they time and get back into society. About seventy-five percent that release from jail goes right back in less than six-month to a year. While on probation they do something and...

Words: 837 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Jail and Prison Comparison Paper

...Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper Jose Salmeron CJ234 July 8, 2014 University of Phoenix Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper Jails and prisons they are all the same. Actually a jail and a prison are different in many ways. A jail is considered the most misunderstood segment of the correctional system. Out of all the correctional components in the in the United States, a jail is the oldest. Jail house individuals who have just been arrested, awaiting sentence, or have been sentenced to only a few months. Throughout the history of corrections, jails have had a major role. Like jails state and federal prisons have had their own history as well. Although jails, stated and federal prisons all hold criminals, there are some similarities and differences between the three. Today the population of the correctional have grown since the first institutions were established. The original reason for a jail was to detain offenders, who were awaiting trial. As history has shown the role of jails have changed throughout time. Jails are the most underrated component of our criminal justice system. The role a jail has within the correctional system, can be considered the most important. Jails are correctional facilities that operated locally. Meaning a jail is ran by a city or the county. A jail serves a variety of functions, and also hold a variety of offenders. Individuals awaiting trial, sentencing, or pending arraignment, are held in a jail. Violators of bail,......

Words: 1219 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper

...Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper By SARAH 2/16/2015 There are several differences between jails and prisons. Some people today, do not know what these differences are because they are unaware of how procedures work on the inside. Those who do know how prison and jails are related have been acquainted with this type of atmosphere or have played a role in being locked up. This paper is designed to show those who do not know how prison and jails work on a daily basis. . Jails are the first place most criminals go when they commit a crime. Officers are required to place suspected criminals into the back of their cars with handcuffs attached to their wrist. Transferring suspected criminals can be a hassle for some law enforcement officials because of how these criminals act in most cases. Once they are transferred, they are booked, finger printed and are placed into a holding facility. Seiter (2011), states that the normal stay in US jails is around 15-20 days, but some may stay longer based on their circumstance. Seiter(2011) also states jails are correctional facilities that are used in keeping offenders before they can be judged in a court of law as the suspect awaits verdict. Depending on their crime, suspects are held without bail or with bail before being placed before a judge. Others have to wait a certain amount of hours before leaving if they are placed in jail because of dui or dwi. When going before a judge, criminals who are convicted will either go...

Words: 1110 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay


...Running head: Jails and Prisons Comparison Paper Jails and Prisons Comparison Paper Quaron Harrison CJA/234 Version 3 February 9, 2013 Leon King This paper will discuss the following topics: Corrsctions history in institutions and origins, it will give a constructive opinion on the myth versus reality of a correctional system as a whole. This paper will also discuss the origin of jails and its place in the corrections and also the roles of jails thruout the ages. It wil speak about the history of state and federal prisons, the comaparison of simularitys and differnece between security levels in jails, state prisons and federal prisons. It also will cover an explanation of factors influencing growth in jails, state prisons and federal prisons. According to ( William Penn was a Quaker and he knew persecution all to well. William Penn refomed the jails with hard labor in place of corporal punishment. In 1682, the first state prison was formed. The penal code was repealed, which was not a practice for the prison systems during the colonial period however William Penn fought for his efforts. This penal code left a landmark on PA laws and created and evolution in the PA prison system. In 1773, the Walnut street jail was constructed and this jail established the penal code (which only applied to non capitol charges) that William Penn fought for...

Words: 397 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Jail and Prison Paper

...Jai Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper Mary Ann Everett CJA/234 Introduction to Corrections 12/­15/­13 Steven Nance This paper use some information found in the CJi Interactive Multimedia and weeks readings. Have a description of jail’s place in corrections its role throughout history; a summary of the history of state and federal prisons. Comparison of the similarities and differences between security levels in jails, state prisons and federal prisons. Explanation of factors influencing growth in jails, state, and federal prisons. In colonial america where humiliation, workhouses, and corporal punishment to was used to punish criminals by 1790 where penitentiary era begins. In 1786, Pennsylvania Quakers said honest labor was a humane way to deal with convicts and to provided labor for public projects wearing thee ball, chain and bright unstylish clothes to prevent escapes. In other colonies had replaced public humiliation with incarceration and early lock­ups were under local control with mixing convicts of both genders from petty thieves to violent offenders. Our nation took shape each county and state maintain its own incarceration system where jails were maintain by the local sheriff’s department housed small infractions like loitering to severe crimes like murder until disposition. State or federal authorities in prisons provided confinement for offenders sentenced to over one year of incarceration. Penitentiary Era in 1790, attribute to separate and silent......

Words: 876 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay


...Jail and Prison Comparison Paper Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper Jail is usually the first place a person is taken after being arrested by police officers. The authority of states to build, operate, and fill jails can be found in the Tenth Amendment, which has been construed to grant to states the power to pass their own laws to preserve the safety, health, and welfare of their communities. Jail is to protect the public and citizens of county by providing a wide range of constructive, professional correctional services for pre-trial and convicted detainees. Jail is also ensure the safety and welfare of staff, visitors, and offenders by operating facilities and programs in a secure, humane environment which meets professional and standards and constitutional requirements. It reduces the rate to reincarceration by providing offenders with the opportunity for self improvement and the inner resources necessary to make a successful adjustment within the community. An act of 1790 brought about sweeping reforms in the prison and authorized a penitentiary house with 16 cells to be built in the yard of the jail to carry out solitary confinement with labor for "hardened atrocious offenders." Jails are run by the county of a state and serve as locally-operated holding places, usually for brief periods of incarceration or as a detention place before and during trial and other legal matters. For example, someone convicted of a misdemeanor crime would be jail. In addition, the......

Words: 335 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Cj234 Week 2

...History of Prisons CJA/234 February 3, 2014 Robert Bennett This week’s readings reflected the history of prisons and the eras in which they have evolved. Within this document the evolution of today’s prison systems will be discussed, along with the complications of prison overcrowding. Finally the comparison of today’s prison to the prisons of the past. The penitentiary era changed using the Quaker’s system converting the Walnut Street jail into use instead of using the older method of stocks, flogging, and public humiliation. This was a more humane way to deal with the individuals who chose to break the laws set before them. The inmates were able to work on crafts to keep themselves occupied and their sanity level was maintainable. The mass prison era changed the ways of the jail to a prison in which there were more solitude and less rehabilitation. Inmates were not allowed to speak to make contact with each other, but vocational job training was introduced. Not until the reformatory era was the idea of education introduced into prisons to allow children and adults to become educated with incarcerated. Also the ability for early release for good behavior was introduced. The industrial era introduced prison work labor. Inmates within the prison system would create goods for the public for a minimal wage. The punitive era did away with the industrial aspect of prisons. The ability for education became a luxury, and maximum security prisons were built. As the......

Words: 962 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Jail vs Prison

...Federal Prison Comparison Matrix Angel Kennedy CJS/255 March 7, 2016 Richard Gilbert Jail vs Prison Is there a difference between jail and prison, and if so, what factors separate the two? The belief each place is practically the same is a common misconception, however; there is one fundamental component in which governs the temporary or permanent placement of an offender. A jail’s and prison’s quality of food, facility resources, and availability of rehabilitative programs are all different, but; “the fundamental difference between jail and prison is the length of stay for inmates” (, 1995-2016) Jail and Its Place in Corrections The correctional mission of jails today is to use the combination of incarceration and rehabilitative methods to deter criminals from recommitting. Once officers have detained an offender, he or she is escorted to a local jail. Upon arrival, the criminal is taken into the "booking area" where he or she will undergo a process in which will determine placement: finger printing, photographing, stripping of personal property, examination, and bathing. If the criminal cannot make bond due to lack of funds or a bond was not given, the criminal will remain in custody until a trial is set, usually within the first twenty-four hours. According to BI, the average jail stay is twenty-three days, a sixty-four percent increase from fourteen days (2015). Rehabilitative programs are offered to those who have been sentenced to a year or more. The......

Words: 1239 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Jail and Prisons

...Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper John Eckert CJS/255 April 4, 2016 Crystal Dalman Jails and Prisons both serve the same purpose; the purpose is to punish people that have committed a crime. Typically, jail type sentences are misdemeanors that are one year or less of time served. Prisons incarcerate people for over one year, the types of crimes can be misdemeanors or felonies, anything that is punishable to more than one year. Another difference is that jails are locally operated and prisons are operated either by the federal government or the state government. Another huge difference is that people that go into prison have already been sentenced, jails are also a place where people are held until they are given a court date and a place for them to be held while they are going through their trial. When people are sentenced to jail, they are relatively close to the families. A person that is sentenced to prison can be put anywhere in the state or united states. There are approximately 100 Federal prisons, jails, and detention centers in the United States, the rest of the prisons and jails are ran by individuals and states. Prisons and jails are both overcrowding, jails and prisons are very costly to construct, which is the main reasoning for the overcrowding. The jails and prisons that are in business now are in rough shape, they need to updated, that is also very costly. Correction facilities have been here for hundreds of years. Colonial America used......

Words: 514 - Pages: 3