Prisons and Jails

In the United States, prisons and jails are a significant part of the judicial system. Society depends on these institutions to secure the public by incapacitating and, ideally, rehabilitating offenders so that they may rejoin society as law-abiding citizens. Jails are the entryway into the system because they are the first contact a person has with incarceration. Jail time can frequently lead to prison time, but jails also function in a wholly separate manner apart from their capacity as preprison institutions.

The primary function of prisons and jails is the control of those who have committed criminal offenses. To achieve such control, prisons and jails rely on a variety of tools—from structures to interpersonal rules—to monitor prisoners. Such surveillance helps prison officials secure facilities charged with ...

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