What are the differences between prisons, jails and work centers?

  • Prisons are operated by state governments and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and are designed to hold individuals convicted of crimes.
  • Jails are most often designed to hold individuals awaiting trial or serving short sentences.
  • Work Centers are facilities in which limited sentences are served at manual labor while addressing educational, substance abuse, and vocational needs under correctional management. This type of incarceration allows inmates to contribute to the community during their confinement.