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What’s the Difference Between Jail and Prison?

by Aug 19, 2011Jail / Prison, Sam Edmunds

Jail. Prison. The words are often used interchangeably, but there’s actually a significant difference between the two.

The first difference has to do with crime severity. In Minnesota, a prison is used to house only felony level offenders. So if you haven’t been convicted of a felony, you won’t end up in a prison in Minnesota.

Jails, on the other hand, are used to house individuals convicted of misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors. In addition, individuals charged with felonies are often held in a jail before trial.

The other primary difference between jails and prisons concerns the governing authority. In Minnesota, prisons are operated by the Minnesota Commissioner of Corrections. Jails are maintained by precinct in which the building is located. This could be a county, or even an individual city.

One thing that jails and prisons have in common? You don’t want to end up in either one. That’s why, if you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s crucial to have a legal expert fighting to keep you on the correct side of the bars.

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