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Jails and Prisons
From my experience working in both settings there are numerous similarities and differences to be noted in terms of jails and prisons. Although the term jails and prison seem to be used or viewed as interchangeably many members of society, especially law enforcement personnel and Criminal Justice professional who can relate as well as distinguish between the two. As a jailor for approximately a year to obtain experience in the jail setting, it was definitely an experience, especially when encountering offenders that had been inebriated as well as high off of illicit drugs. Hence, as I worked as a correctional officer and training sergeant for Texas Department of Criminal Justice for ten years the experience was invaluable.
For those of you that are not familiar with the prison and jail system, I would like to note that prison facilities are operated by the state housing criminals for longer periods of time and for more serious offenses such as felonies. When it relates to jails the convicted offender will serve a shorter sentence and it is usually for misdemeanors, which I like to note there are fewer offenders housed in jails verses prison facilities. Hence, if an offender is sanctioned a sentence which encompasses 18 months or less he/she will typically be placed in the jail setting and if the offender is sanctioned to a prison sentences longer than 18 months he/she will typical be placed in a transfer facility or prison facility within Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
In a prison setting there are many amenities for offenders because they are housed for longer periods of time, in order to keep offender occupied it is vital that educational programs as well as various services are implemented. Prisons have recreational areas, a dining hall area, church facilities, and an education facility which includes classrooms and libraries. Prison offenders are expected to share housing areas (cells) with other inmate that often creates a hostile environment, especially during the summer months.
A prison is capable of handling far more prisoners than jails, and the prisoners are segregated on the basis of the types of crimes that they have been committed as well as their custody level. Prison facilities are secure based on minimum to maximum custody levels.
A jail is like a rehabilitation center for individuals that are awaiting trial and have not been convicted as well as housing an offender that may have been sanctioned to 18 months or less.
Jails keep inmates productively occupied by providing positive opportunities for inmates to engage in. An example of a type of program that jails may offer is drug rehabilitation programs. These programs help inmates to get clean of drugs and alcohol abuse if the resources permit.
Jails operate work release programs, boot camps, and other specialized services. They try to address educational needs, substance abuse needs, and vocational needs while managing inmate behavior. It is recorded that inmates’ idleness contributes to management problems.