Difference Between Jail and Prison

Jail vs Prison


As jail and prison seem to carry similar meanings, it is good to find out if a difference between jail and prison exists. Jail and prison are created and built for those who failed to follow rules, regulations and laws alike. Breaking any of the three mentioned is your ticket to spending some time in either a jail or a prison. It is a place where those that did wrong are kept.


Jail is the place where people are confined physically and most of the time people confined here are given  a number of freedom restrictions. Usually authorities keep wrongdoers in jail while waiting for trial or for temporary confinement. Usually, people compare jail to that of an animal cage. Everything is limited– the space, the commodities, access to the world outside of the jail.


When you say long-term physical confinement, one can get that in prison. Prison is where most wrong doers stay to serve their punishment. To help them ease the boredom and loneliness prison authorities has a variety of programs. Some prisons let their inmates do gardening or do something creative. Prisons also has programs with the  goal to instill into the inmate’s mind to not do anything bad again.

Difference Between Jail and Prison

Difference between Jail and Prison

One can think of these two in this way,  both can physically confine you, however jail can be for short-term confinement, while prison is for long term confinement. In the US, jails are run by the local sheriffs, they detain usually small-time wrong doers including thieves and robbers. Most are confined here while awaiting trial while others serve their short sentences here. On the other hand, most people proven guilty of murder, rape and other more serious crimes are brought to prisons. These prisons are usually run by the state or the Federal Bureau.

Regardless of how long a person is detained in a jail or a prison, what is important is for the detainee to realize that they were kept there for a reason – mainly because they have done something wrong.

In brief:

• Usually detainees are confined in jail short-time, while prisons usually detain for long periods of time.

• Jails are normally run by sheriffs while prisons are run by the Federal Bureau or the state.