Prisons By Country - North America - United States

United States

Further information: Incarceration in the United States See also: Federal Bureau of Prisons

In the United States penal system, a jail is a facility used to detain persons who are in the lawful custody of the state, including accused persons awaiting trial and those who have been convicted of a crime and are serving a sentence of less than one year. Jails are generally small prisons run by individual counties and cities, though some jails in larger communities may be as large and hold as many inmates as regular prisons. As with prisons, some jails have different wings for certain types of offenders, and have work programs for inmates who demonstrate good behavior.

Approximately half of the U.S. jail population consists of pretrial detainees who have not been convicted or sentenced. Prisoners serving terms longer than one year are typically housed in prison facilities operated by state governments. Unlike most state prisons, a jail usually houses both men and women in separate portions of the same facility. Some jails lease space to house inmates from the federal government, state prisons or other counties as a revenue-raising method.

In 2005, a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 62 percent of people in jails have not been convicted, and are awaiting trial. As of 2005, local jails held or supervised 819,434 individuals. Nine percent of these individuals were in programs such as community service, work release, weekend reporting, electronic monitoring, and other alternative programs.

Read more about this topic:  Prisons By Country, North America

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