When a person is arrested for a misdemeanor or felony, they’ll usually have to spend at least some time behind bars in jail — but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have to go to prison. What’s the difference between these two types of incarceration?

In today’s post, our bail bond agents at Affordable Bail Bonds in Oklahoma break down the differences between jail and prison. Read on to learn more, and if your loved one has been arrested and is being held in jail in Rogers County or elsewhere in Oklahoma, you can call our bail bondsmen 24/7 for help. No one should spend unnecessary time behind bars, so contact us now!

Jail Is For Shorter-Term Stays

The biggest difference between jail and prison is that jail is designed for shorter-term stays. Generally speaking, there are two scenarios in which a person would be held in jail:

1. The inmate has been arrested for a crime and is awaiting trial or resolution in court

In this case, the individual has not been found guilty yet, so jail time is more about making sure that they will appear in court than it is about punishing them. This is why judges set a “bail” amount for release from jail — the inmate can pay a sum of money (the bail) in exchange for their release, with the promise that they will appear in court at the required time, at which point they will be repaid their bail.

If a person cannot afford their bail, but they don’t want to wait in jail until their court date, they can hire a bail bonding company like Affordable Bail Bonds to front the cash in exchange for a small fee. This enables them to continue with their normal life while they await the court’s decision.

2. The inmate has been found guilty (usually of a misdemeanor) and is serving a short sentence

What is a “short” sentence? It depends — the designation is less about the length of time served and more about the type of crime committed. Shorter sentences are given for misdemeanors than felonies, but in some cases, when an inmate has been convicted of multiple misdemeanors and the sentences run consecutively, they may spend more than a year in jail. However, this is unusual, and most jail stays are much shorter.

Usually, jails are run by local law enforcement and/or local government agencies. They often operate work release programs, and some offer educational, substance abuse, and vocational programs. In spite of these offerings, jails are not well-suited for long-term incarceration. That’s what prisons are for.

Prison Is For Long-Term Incarceration

Unlike jails, prisons are typically run by state governments or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). They are designed for long-term incarceration for more serious crimes like felonies. In any one prison, there are often different levels of custody (minimum, maximum security, solitary confinement, etc) depending on the level of security needed.

While jails tend to have more transient populations and therefore less-developed living facilities, prisons must meet the needs of more permanent residents who may be there for years, decades, or even lifetimes. As a result, most prisons have better-developed living facilities, a greater availability of programs, and a more established living routine than jails do.

You Have Rights, No Matter What

In either jail or prison, you are entitled to basic rights including:

  • Visitation
  • Humane treatment
  • Protection from cruel and unusual punishment
  • Protection against sexual crimes or harassment
  • Access to the courts
  • Medical care
  • Protection against racial discrimination

If your loved one is currently in jail awaiting court in Oklahoma, then they have the right to a speedy trial, and they do not have to wait for it behind bars. The team at Affordable Bail Bonds is ready to help you post bail with reliable surety bonds so that you and your loved ones can get back to living. We have more than 30 years of experience helping families out of tough legal situations, and in addition to our bail bonds services, we can help you navigate the confusing court system so that you obtain a fair outcome as quickly as possible.

We are available by phone 24/7 and we provide affordable payment plans, so call now to get started!