Jails and Prison Comparison

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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
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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
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