Prison is a facility in which individuals are detained and denied freedoms as a consequence of their violation of legal code. Prisons are distinct from jails in both management and function. Run by the state or federal government (or, in the advent of privatization, for-profit companies), prisons house criminal offenders serving terms longer than 1 year. In contrast, jails are operated by local authorities and detain suspects or offenders awaiting trial or sentencing as well as offenders serving terms less than 1 year.

This entry examines prison broadly in terms of microlevel and macrolevel phenomena. Considering the significance of development in the emergence of criminality as well as the capacity for coping with the prison experience, this entry takes a life-span approach. First, an overview of ...

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