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Difference between Jail and Detention Center

Difference between Jail and Detention Center

If you or a loved one has been arrested and are being held in jail, you may be wondering what the difference is between that and a detention center. Typically, jails are operated by local law enforcement agencies, while detention centers are run by the federal government or state governments. Jails usually house people awaiting trial or those who have been convicted of misdemeanors, while detention centers can hold both immigrants and criminal aliens. There are other differences as well, which we will explore in this blog post.

What is Jail?

Jail is a type of imprisonment in which people are held before or during their trial. Jails are usually operated by the government. Jail time may be served for various crimes, including but not limited to murder, robbery, assault, drug possession, etc. Jail terms can range from a few days to many years. Jail time may also be given as a punishment for parole violators. Jail is not the same as a prison; jails are usually used to hold people who have not been convicted of a crime, while prisons are used to hold people who have been convicted of a crime. Jail conditions vary depending on the country, but they are typically much more crowded and less comfortable than prisons.

What is Detention Center?

A Detention center is a place where people who are accused of a crime are kept before and during their trial. Detention centers are usually run by government agencies, but there are also private detention centers. Detention centers can be very small, with just a few cells, or they can be very large facilities that hold thousands of people. Detention centers usually have high walls or fences to keep people from escaping, and they often have security guards who watch over the people who are detained. Detention centers can be uncomfortable places to stay, with little privacy and often poor conditions. But for people who are accused of a crime, detention centers provide a safe place to stay until their trial date.

Difference between Jail and Detention Center

Jail and detention centers are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. A jail is a short-term facility that is run by a local government, typically for holding people who have been arrested and are awaiting trial. A detention center, on the other hand, is a long-term facility that is run by either the federal government or a state government. Detention centers are usually reserved for people who have been convicted of a crime and are awaiting sentencing. In some cases, people may also be detained if they are considered to be a flight risk or a danger to the community.


Although the terms jail and detention center are often used interchangeably, they do have some key differences. The most obvious distinction is that jails are run by local governments while detention centers are run by private companies. Detention centers also typically have more rigid security measures in place and can hold inmates for longer periods of time. If you’re ever faced with a situation where you need to know which type of facility your loved one has been incarcerated in, now you know the difference between jail and a detention center.

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