Jail vs. Prison
We have definitely heard the words Jail and Prison, haven’t we? But what is the difference between the two? Well, this is what we will tackle in this post.
Here, I will tell you when to use these two different words.
Let’s get started.
|Jail refers to smaller, more local facilities where people are incarcerated for short periods of time.||Prison refers to larger facilities where people are incarcerated for long periods.|
|E.g., He had spent the night in jail.||E.g., He was sent to prison for 15 years.|
You might have seen that both these words are often used interchangeably, however, they can imply different things. Often the only way to tell them apart is by the size of the facility and the length of time they have been held.
To put it simply, we use the word jail to refer to smaller, more local facilities where people are incarcerated for short periods of time. But we use the word prison to refer to larger facilities where people are incarcerated for long periods.
Let’s look at more details.
What Does Jail Mean?
Basically, a jail is the place where the police can hold someone, typically a convict of a minor offense or someone who awaits trial for the crime they are accused of. But the time period one serves in Jail is always relatively short, and that the facility itself will be much smaller and might have only a handful of cells.
We can use the word jail in a general way to indicate that someone is incarcerated. The word can also be used to refer to the consequence of incarceration, like when we say
If you get caught it will be jail for you.
This word can also be used as a verb:
He was jailed for 10 days before his trial.
What Does Prison Mean?
Now, a prison can be a bit different from a jail. Because this is where people are incarcerated to serve long-term sentences. In the US, state and federal facilities are known as prisons, as in state prison or federal prison.
When we use the phrase prison, it is very well indicated that the person will be there in the facility unlike the short term confinement that happens in jail.
When you use the word as a verb, it means place or hold someone in prison. There is a noun form as well; imprisonment and it refers to the state of being held in prison or to the act of imprisoning someone.
What’s the Difference Between Jail and Prison?
It is true that the words might overlap. But you can remember that prison is more likely to be called jail than jail is likely to be called prison. Because, jail can be used easily and it is most often used as a more general term but the word prison cannot be used like that.
Some Questions and Answers:
He was taken to (jail/prison) for the night.
-> He was taken to jail for the night.
He was sentenced to 15 years of (jail/prison).
-> He was sentenced to 15 years of prison.
I went to meet him in (jail/prison)
-> I went to meet him in Prison.
He was kept in the (jail/prison) before trail.
-> He was kept in the jail before trial.
It was a big (jail/prison)
-> It was a big prison.
So, there you have it. The difference between “Jail” and “prison”. Let us know if you have any other queries.