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What is the difference between Jail and Prison?

Posted by William Young | Jan 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

Are Jail and Prison Different?

Idaho Jail - Lawyers and Attorneys
Idaho Criminal Defense Blog | William Young and Associates

Jail and prison are ideologically the same thing: to take away the privilege of freedom. If you have been found guilty of a crime, and your punishment entails serving jail or prison time, then you have lost your privilege to freedom. You will be placed in a facility that restricts your access to society. 

The difference however between jail and prison depends on three main factors,

  1. Length of confinement
  2. Severity of crime
  3. Personnel

If you are placed in jail you are serving a shorter sentence (less than 1 year), have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime or were placed on probation in a felony case, and will be in a facility that is ran by local law enforcement; generally the county sheriff's office.

If you are placed in prison you have been convicted of a serious crime (a felony) and will be serving a longer sentence (in excess of 1 year). Prisons are operated by state governments (The Idaho Department of Corrections) or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

If you visit each of these places (like I have many times) you will see immediately that jail and prison are very different places. While jail is by no means a happy place to be, prison is far more serious.

About the Author

William Young

William Young - Idaho Criminal Defense and Trial Attorney As a criminal defense attorney I have handled nearly every type of case - from simple infractions to the most complex felonies. There is no case to small for my attention, and no case too large for me to handle. I fight for my clients a...

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