Difference Between Jail and Prison [With Table]

If any crime occurs in society, two common things that come into our mind for the criminals are jail and prison. We often use these two words as synonyms for each other. But the fact is there are certain difference between jail and prison though most of us don’t have clear vision about it.

So let’s delve into this discussion and find out the dissimilarities and the differences between jail and prison. In this article, we have also shared the similarities between jail and prison so that you can get a vivid idea about these.

Differences between Jail and Prison 

Jail Prison
Used for keeping the criminals for a short period of time. Used for keeping the criminals for a long period of time.
Operated by local government or agencies. Conducted by the government.
Less accommodation facilities. More accommodation facilities as criminals had to stay there for a longer period.
Populations are temporary. Populations are permanent.
Less developed. More developed.
Same type of security in all jails. Different categories of security levels.

What is jail

After committing trespasses, the convicted is being kept in a place which is known as jail. Jails are usually used for keeping the convicted for a short period of time and it is run by the local government.

It also should be mentioned that jail has lower budgets than prison. Jail is run by the local government or agencies and convicted are kept here temporarily.

difference between jail and prison

That’s why it has less accommodation facilities. It is not as comfortable as prison as criminals do not stay there permanently.

It is also heard that some inmates use jail as a place for breaching the rights by torturing and practicing unusual punishment to the convicted and the suspected which is totally . Though it is not practiced everywhere.

Related: Difference Between Appeal and Revision [With Table].

What is prison?

Prison is for those convicted who have done more serious crimes and to keep them for a longer period of time. It is run by the state government.

As the criminals had to stay in prison for a long period of time, so the facilities and budgets are more in prison than jail. It is designed as per the needs of the convicted.

It is also differentiated from low security prison to high security prison. Some prisons offer educational programmes, vocational programmes, sports and so on to keep the environment balanced among the prisoners.

If prisoners can perform well, the punishment gets reduced according to the permission of the authority.

Also, read about Difference between Sin and Sins [with Table].

Similarities between Jail and Prison

We know that despite having some differences, both are established for the same reason – to keep the convicted in a safe place where he can live his life in a balanced way and can keep himself away from evil deeds.

Jail and Prison, both of these maintain this objective. It is also maintained that no unusual occurrence and cruelty can take place there.

Moreover, the rights for the criminals are the same in both of these. They can use phone calls, meet with their close persons and also get access to medical care in both jail and prison.


After going through this writeup, you have already got the idea of difference between jail and prison. So next time, don’t mess it up.


  • Jail is the place where the convicted are kept for a short period of time. On the other hand, Prison is the place where the criminals are kept for a longer period of time than jail.
  • Jail’s population is temporary but the prison’s population is permanent.
  • Jail has less accommodation and other facilities like medical, education are not so broadened but the prison has more accommodation and other facilities than jail.
  • All jails have the same type of securities but all prisons don’t have the same level of securities. There are several categories for it.
  • Jails are conducted by the local government and agencies but Prisons are conducted centrally by the Government.

The FAQs about Jail vs Prison

Are jail and prison the same thing?

No. Jail is used for keeping the convicted for a short period of time. But prison is used for keeping them for a long period.

Is prison worse than jail?

No, prison has more facilities than jail.

Which is better: jail or prison?

Prison has more facilities than jail cause in prison criminals stay for a long time.

How long is jail time vs prison?

Jail is for the punishments which are one or less than a year. But prison is for convictions which are more than a year.

Can you sleep all day in jail?

Prisoners can sleep as much as they want but they have to adapt with things like noise. So it’s often tough to sleep all day in jail.

What is the nicest prison in the world?

Champ-Dollon Prison, Switzerland is the nicest prison in the world.

Minhajul Islam

Minhajul Islam is a passionate technology writer and the founder of DifferencePlanet. He is dedicated to exploring the latest advancements in the tech industry and sharing his insights with the world. With a background in computer science and a keen interest in smart homes, Minhajul has written numerous articles on a wide range of tech topics. He believes that technology has the power to transform the way we live, work, and interact with the world around us, and is always on the lookout for the next big thing.

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