Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog
     


Jails and Prisons: Is There a Difference? Which is Better?

Posted on: September 24, 2008 at 11:24 a.m.

Some people think that the terms jail and prison are interchangeable. However, at least in Los Angeles, these two terms mean very different things. Qualified Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys who know the system can adequately advise their clients as to which would be the better choice, should that situation arise.

County jails in Los Angeles, for example, are run and supervised by the Sheriff's Department and are designed to house inmates with sentences of less than one year, most of whom have been convicted of misdemeanors. Private jails are either small city jails or jails owned and operated by private entities that meet certain criteria and get approval from the state.

State prisons, on the other hand, are run and supervised by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and are designed to house felons who have been sentenced to one or more years in the penitentiary. Inmates sentenced to state prison are generally considered dangerous and, as such, are not eligible for the relative "freedoms" of pay-to-stay confinement. Inmates sentenced to jail, however, are often there because they have been convicted of first-time or nonviolent offenses.

Tagged as: california criminal laws

Comments:

Katie Meschke on May 21, 2009 at 11:18 p.m. wrote:

I hadn't really considered the types of differences between a jail and a prison until now...I confess I always used the terms interchangeably. I have to wonder, though, what effect this separation has on those who are doing time. Though I am not really familiar with the way these systems work, I feel like it would be better to have both severe crimes and petty ones served along with each other. The separation could cause a perpetuation of crime for those with a worse history. When put with others who have committed equally, if not worse, crimes, a person might feel more threatened by the surroundings and more likely to commit violence, while those serving a year or less in jail may not realize the severity of imprisonment. Katie Meschke Comm. 139 ID 503542506









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