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  • Different from state and federal prisons, jails are generally operated at the local city or county level. Jails hold a variety of people, including those being detained before trial who were not granted bail or are unable to afford bail. Jails house offenders convicted of felony criminal charges who are awaiting sentencing of more than one year in a prison, as well as offenders found guilty of misdemeanors sentenced to serve less than one year. Jails also hold offenders convicted of felonies awaiting transfer to a state prison. Given the variety of people housed in jails, they are generally considered more violent than prisons where the populations are relatively stable over time.

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