The Main Differences between a Jail and Prison Sentence

differences between a jail and prison sentence

The Main Differences between a Jail and Prison Sentence in Arizona

Each criminal offense comes with a specific sentence in Arizona. In some cases, there will be jail time, in other instances, the court will decide on a prison sentence. What’s the difference between the two? The most basic and fundamental difference is the length of stay but a few other differences between a jail and prison sentence will also have to be considered.

Jail Sentences in Arizona

Arizona jails are used for short-term stay. They are usually under the management of local jurisdictions and most people have to spend some time in jail while they await a final court hearing.

Individuals suspected of a crime will first be taken to a local jail.

On a few occasions, it’s possible for people to spend time in an Arizona jail after they’ve been convicted of a certain crime. These people usually have to serve a very short sentence, which is why they are not going to be taken to prison.

Because jails are places used for short-term detention, they don’t feature as many amenities as the ones available in a prison. In addition, a local jail can hold a much smaller number of people than a prison. The security measures aren’t as strict as those in a prison.

Prison Sentences in Arizona

Sentenced criminals who have to serve a long time will be sent to an Arizona prison. In Arizona, all prisons are managed and run by the Arizona Department of Corrections. The headquarters of the department are located in Downtown Phoenix.

A prison is a facility with much more serious security measures and a bigger number of amenities. It is also designed to hold a bigger number of people than a jail. There may be specialized units in a prison for violent criminals who are segregated from the other inmates.

Because they spend a lot of time in the prison, inmates are usually assigned a certain job within the facility that guarantees them a small wage.

Currently, Arizona has 48 state prisons that are grouped in 14 complexes. On top of that, there are several federal prisons on the territory of Arizona. Ten of the prisons are state-operated and under the management of the Arizona Department of Corrections. The others are privately-owned facilities.

Will You go to Jail or Prison? Differences between a Jail and Prison Sentence

The answer to this question depends on the severity of the offense and whether you’ve committed a criminal act for the first time. Usually, people who are charged with a criminal offense will first be taken to a local jail.

differences between a jail and prison sentenceThe amount of time spent in jail or prison depends on the sentence. Non-dangerous first-time offenders who are charged with a Class 6 felony will have to spend a minimum of six months in prison. For a Class 2 felony, the minimum sentence will be four years. People who have been convicted in the past face a minimum prison time of one year for a Class 6 felony and of six years for a Class 2 felony.

Misdemeanor charges will usually result in jail time rather than a prison sentence. Depending on the situation, a Class 6 felony for a first-time non-violent offender could also be reduced to a misdemeanor.

If this isn’t possible, the court can decide whether the person charged with a felony is going to go to prison or if they’ll have to complete a term of probation. When sentenced to a probation, a person may still serve a jail term but they will not be sent to prison. If a felony comes with a jail sentence, the incarceration could continue for a period of up to one year. The maximum jail sentence for a misdemeanor in Arizona is six months.