Jail and Prisons Comparison CJI Interactive Paper

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Jails play a crucial role when it comes to corrections in the United States. To start with, jails receive offenders who are to be arraigned in court later and the offenders who await trial. The other role that jails play in corrections includes the readmission of parole, probation, bail absconders and violators.Jails have a place in corrections since they contribute significantly to the temporary detention of juveniles, the mentally challenged persons, as well as individuals who have to be transferred to other facilities (Cole & Smith, 2009). The other role played by jails in the context of corrections includes the reduction of offender recidivism. This role is achieved through the use of correctional strategies, which take the form of community based sanctions as well as services.The correctional role of jails also includes a change in the behavior of offenders, especially through vocational courses, which offenders learn while in jail. The vocational courses and training given to offenders are instrumental in helping them live a better life after prison (Seiter, 2011).

The state and federal prisons can hold criminals who have committed similar crimes. The two forms of prisons can be regarded as alike, although there tends to be many differences between these forms of prisons. The federal prison tends to hold individuals whose incarceration can be considered to be long.

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On the other hand, state prisons hold prisoners incarcerated for short periods. State prisons began in the early 1800s; the Sing Sing State prison was the first state prison to be built. This prison is one of the oldest state prisons that has existed for a long period, and which continues to be existent up to date. The emergence of state prisons took the form of small prisons; these prisons became vital as they held most prisoners and high populations of offenders in America. Since penitentiaries began in each of the states in the United States of America, there has been a sharp increase in the number of prisoners in state prisons. Most states have had to provide funding and finances needed to run the prison systems in their respective states. Historically, it has been the mandate of the states to provide for the staff, food, as well as other necessities needed in the state prisons (Keve, 1995).The federal prison system traces its history to the 1890s. However, federal prisons witnessed significant changes in 1930 following the signing of a bill by President Herbert Hoover. The bill signed by President Hoover led to the establishment of a federal prison system, which marked the beginning of the building of federal facilities. The introduction of federal laws dealing with bank robbery as well as white collar crimes led to the growth in the federal prison system (Keve, 1995). People always want to know if there is a difference between jail

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and prison besides nomenclature. The answer is a definitive yes. They are completely different units, and must be regarded as such, especially in a situation where you or a loved one must go to jail or prison.
Jails are run by the county 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 would be jail, if the sentence were less than a year or two. Someone being held in custody for trail, or because they couldn’t afford bail, or because they were just arrested will be held in the county jail, not prison. As such, jails are impermanent residences, and lack many of the amenities and programs that the large prisons have. Jails are usually run by the sheriff or the local government. There are approximately 3,600 jails in the United States. Prisons, on the other hand, are federally or state-run, and are generally much larger and much more high-security. Inmates convicted of federal felonies go to federal prison, and those convicted of state felonies go to state prison. Prisons often have very elaborate education and vocational training programs, halfway house service, work-release programs, and recreational and entertainment facilities. Many of the men (usually they are men) in prison will be there for the rest of their lives. In practical terms, there is no way to know

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which sentence would be ‘better’- some prisons are much more comfortable than a county jail, and some are much worse. But there are also differences in parole rules after incarceration for the two institutions. Recognizing the importance of summarizing what is known (and not known) about the many questions this phenomenon has raised, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) of the U.S. Department of Justice and the John D. and Catherine T. The growth of incarceration rates in the United States for more than four decades has spawned commentary and a growing body of scientific knowledge about its causes and the consequMacArthur Foundation requested a study by the National Research Council (NRC). We are grateful for support throughout the study from the current and former NIJ directors, John Laub and Greg Ridgeway, and from our program officers at the MacArthur Foundation, Laurie Garduque and Craig Wacker. This report is the product of that 2-year effort, conducted by an ad hoc committee created by the National Research Council to assess the evidence and draw out its implications for public policy. I and the other members of the study committee hope it will inform an extensive and thoughtful public debate about and reconsideration of the policies that led to the current situation. Special thanks are owed to the late James Q. Wilson who chaired the Committee

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on Law and Justice (CLAJ) at the time the study was conceived more than 5 years ago. Recognizing the importance of this issue, he organized a subcommittee of Phil Cook, Duke University; Glenn Loury, Brown University; Tracey Meares, Yale Law School; and myself to develop a study idea for CLAJ’s approval. At a meeting held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in January 2009, led by former CLAJ director Carol Petrie, a group of scholars helped develop parameters for a study of high rates of incarceration. NIJ and the MacArthur Foundation subsequently recognized that such a study would come at an important moment in the nation’s history and could make a significant contribution to public understanding and to improving the justice system.

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