Jails and prisons both share the characteristic of being correctional incarceration facilities. However, the purpose and intent of these types of facilities differs.In your initial response, compare and contrast jails vs. prisons. As part of your comparison discuss the purpose and intent of each type of facility. Consider the type of inmate that is housed in each facility as part of your evaluation of these correctional facilities.
There is no doubt that incarceration of any kind is considered as an unpleasant experience, since a convict is deprived of freedom. It is worth noting that the rights, policies as well as everyday life of an inmate tend be different in jail and prison. The most distinct difference between these types of facilities is the length of stay for inmates.
The purpose of jail is to temporarily detain those awaiting trial as well as to hold individuals who are convicted of low-level offenses with sentences of one year or less (Hutchinson, 2014). Thus, jails are correctional incarceration facilities used for the short-term, whereas prisons refer to long-term institutions for holding inmates who committed serious crimes (Hutchinson, 2014). Jails are normally operated by local law enforcement or local government agencies. In comparison, prisons tend to be run either by the federal law enforcement agency the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), or by a state government.
Prisons tend to be well developed for the living needs and they offer a vast range of programs, since such facilities are designed for inmates serving long sentence. Conversely, due to the fact that jails are known for having rather transient populations, their facilities are not that good. Therefore, inmates are likely to express a strong preference for staying in prisons.
Because of the constant flow of inmates in jails, an individual serving short sentence is not able to eat, sleep, or take part in correctional activities on a regular basis. Besides, budget shortages are prone to occur more often in jails rather than in prisons, thus jails are known for inadequate food and poor quality. As the result, there might be claims of violations of basic inmate's rights in jails.
Nevertheless, both jails and prisons provide inmates with the right to be treated humanely, the right to medical care, the right to visitation, as well as be free from harassment and racial discrimination. However, still inmates’ rights are limited compared with free citizens.
The deprivation of liberty for a certain period of time is necessary to punish those, who pose threat to the citizens and society as the whole. However, it could be argued that in relation to a significant number of criminals, punitive measures can be reduced or substituted by punishments that are alternative to imprisonment. It should be noted that the isolation from society is not always necessary and adequate for achieving the purpose of criminal punishment. According to Aborn and Cannon (2013), pretrial detention has a significant impact on all members of society, including not merely detainees and their families, but also the larger community, as it leads to a vast array of social as well as financial costs.
Some argue that jails as correctional tools demonstrate rather low level of organizational, economic, and educational preparedness to change behavioural patterns of inmates; thereby leading to the growth of relapse. Thus, the destruction of human personality or its deformation in the conditions of imprisonment in jails leads to the increase of relapse. Keeping the inmates occupied is of paramount importance. Places of deprivation of liberty are centres of dissemination of criminal subculture, along with anti-social orientation (Aborn & Cannon, 2013). However, even though, correctional facilities are costly to society and the state, both jails and prisons are crucial for the placement of convicts.
Aborn, R., & Cannon, A. D. (2013). Prisons: In jail, but not sentenced. Natural Resource Extraction in Latin America. Retrieved Dec 10, 2016 from http://www.americasquarterly.org/aborn-prisons
Hutchinson, S. (2014, June 5). What’s the difference between “prison” and “jail”? Mental Floss. Retrieved Dec 10, 2016 from http://mentalfloss.com/article/57085/whats-difference-between-prison-and-jail