October 8, 2014
Jails and Prisons
Jails and Prisons are facilities used to detain, house and monitor convicted criminals. These places were originally created to punish criminals through physical punishment, workhouses or even exile. Over time they have evolved as more humane ways of handling the criminal population through lock up and providing services to the criminal population. Both of these facilities are used as form of supervised detention for those convicted of crimes. Although jails and prisons segregate inmates from the general public, one another and even staff, they are significantly different.
Jails are facilities that are used by cities, counties or regions and have custodial authority over the individuals being detained in them. Convicted criminals in jails are generally serving sentences under a one year term. However, there are other types of people detained in jails for non-punishable reasons, such as contempt, those pending arraignment or those needing protective custody. Due to the ever changing blend of inmates such as juveniles, first time offenders, sick, men and women, and hardened criminals, management of these facilities can prove to be challenging. Due to the transient like nature of inmates in jails, minimal services and programs are provided. Community based programs provided in jails are for instance work release and home detention programs. In the circumstances the jailed has a job or a family and is the sole provider, a judge may allow for work release during shift hours. This allows the inmate to sign out of the jail to go to work then return to jail to fulfill the sentenced time given by the judge. Home detention is sometimes given at a judge’s discretion or as a way to keep a convicted individual detained but without overcrowding a jail. Generally these types of situations are given to minor crimes or first time offenders. Inmates of jails tend to mimic those of prisons when it comes to the culture of being incarcerated in them. Many in jails claim loyalty to clicks or groups also known as “prison gangs”. This is common as to ensure security from others who may intend harm. Many of these “gangs” also do illegal activity despite being locked up. Once inmates are released it may be mandatory or decided by the judge that said inmate also be given probation. This is a form of monitoring the released individual for a set period of time as to make sure they will not be a repeat offender. This form of monitoring has conditions set that the released criminal will have to abide by. Conditions like drug testing, ankle monitoring, and home visits are pretty common for probation. In most cases the maintaining of a job is required also. In some cases an individual may be released from jail early with condition to probation for remaining time serving sentence. If the released person is found to be in violation a judge can then put the individual in jail to finish out a sentence or for being in contempt of court. Jails play an important role in the criminal justice system. Jails provide a safe haven for those in need of protective custody. They provide a place to hold dangerous criminals while in the middle of their judicial process when they are bound for prison. Jails also provide a place to house those of minor crimes without having to integrate them in with those of more serious crimes such as murder.
Prisons are facilities that are state or federally run and also have custodial authority over the individuals being detained in them like jails. The convicted that are detained in these types of facilities are generally sentenced to more than one year. Release from prisons are possible after a required amount of time depending on the sentence handed down from a judge. Community based programs are not provided in prisons like jails.
There are however other programs provided to inmates. Such programs deal with drug abuse…