The prison system can take years to truly understand. For many accused persons, they do not have time to sit down and thoroughly study the prison structures that are about to change their lives. They need a quick overview. This article will help shed some light on the complicated system of jails and prisons in America.

There is a difference between jail and prison

Jail and prison are completely different systems and serve very different purposes. The main differences all stem from the fact that jails are locally run institutions and are not meant to house people long-term. Perhaps most importantly, jails will not house serious offenders for long-term stays. As a result, jails have far fewer risks for violence and have far more capacity to treat inmates with dignity and respect.

State and federal prisons are very different places

The determining factor on what type of prison a convicted person resides in is the nature of their crime. The state and federal prison systems are wildly different, largely because of differences in administration and funding.

Each state has its own prison system meant to serve its needs under state laws. The funding is predominantly from state taxpayers and is subject to state politics. In some ways, state prisons are more likely to change than federal prisons as a result but are also less likely to separate inmates by the severity of their crimes.

Federal prisons have distinct security differences. They most likely will not put high-risk, violent offenders in the same prisons as low-risk, first-time criminals. This makes a huge difference in quality of life for inmates.

For more information, speak with your attorney about what you can expect in your case.