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  • Institutions designed for the confinement of convicted felons who have been sentenced to more than one year of incarceration. Prisons are distinct from jails in that prisons typically confine only sentenced offenders serving more than one year, while jails hold pretrial detainees as well as misdemeanants serving shorter sentences. Moreover, jails are typically administered by local law enforcement agencies, while prisons are administered by state departments of correction. Although there is evidence of confinement facilities of various types throughout history, the prison as we know it today is a relatively young institution. The birth of the modern prison is generally credited to the penal reformers of the late 1700s and the development of the penitentiaries in the United States in the early 1800s. Two competing ...

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