Facts To Know

What Are Detention Centers And What Purposes Do They Serve?

Jail and detention centers are terms that are often used interchangeably in sentences when talking about institutions where people are incarcerated. Prisons stand alone, but there are indeed differences between jails and detention centers, too. While they are often referred to as the same type of institution as mentioned, even by people working in the field, there are the following differences. Let’s take a look.

Simply put, detention centers are often larger than jails. Detention centers are often more regional in nature, and jails are of course local and typically handled by the county itself. However, it is important to note at this time that as the differences are discussed, these aren’t blanket statements. For example, it should be noted that some jails are handled on the state level as well as some being handled on the federal level, too.

One of the reasons that jails and detention centers are often used as interchangeable terms is that detention centers themselves are often referred to so broadly in reference to how they are used. It is time to digress once more because the scope of the word detention center has also evolved in this country to mean any place where people are detained, and that includes prisons.

You will see professionals and even organizations in this country with different ideas and definitions of detention centers. My sister-in-law works at a detention center, which is also a jail. My sister used to work at the same detention center, and my mom works with the ‘jail ministry’ there. This is the perfect example of these two particular terms being used interchangeably as described above.

Now that we have established the definition of a detention center more thoroughly, let’s look at the different classifications of these facilities. For example, there are maximum security detention centers. As you can imagine, these house the violent criminals and the convicts that well, need to be watched really closely. There are also medium and minimum security detention center facilities as well.

The differences in the governing of detention center facilities was touched on earlier. Aside from the classifications mentioned thus far, one example of a different type of correctional facility or detention center is those that are primarily used for immigration and customs enforcement. Then, you also have military detention centers as well. Now you are likely starting to understand more about how yes, a detention center is a jail, but it can also mean much more than that.

Jails are jails. Detention centers can be any number of different institutions, and they can serve various purposes. Additionally, even jails have their many differences among the various institutions, as was also touched on earlier. It’s just that the actual term jail is more specific, and the term detention center opens up a facility to be able to handle much more than ‘just a jail’ would.

You have heard of juvenile detention centers. They are another good example of the use of the term. You never hear ‘juvenile jail.’ Although, the alliteration that is part of that term does have a ring to it. Still, the terminology used in the US is juvenile detention center.

Jails are typically said to be smaller. If a facility is referred to as a detention center, even if it is also a jail, it is likely a little larger and has more capabilities. For example, the detention center where my sister-in-law currently works also houses inmates picked up by immigration and customs enforcement, at least temporarily. She would be able to give you a good rundown on the differences between a jail and a detention center.

The average citizen would think okay, she works at the county jail. Well, yes, but detention center is in the name for a reason. Jails that function as detention centers can often coordinate better with other facilities to temporarily provide housing for various types of inmates. As you can imagine, that would keep a jail administrator on his or her toes.

Detention centers that coordinate with local, state and federal authorities and operate in a very accommodating manner are going to be vital to communities and the cohesion of the law of the land. In the future, as is the trend, you are likely to see more and more facilities be deemed detention centers as time goes by. Unfortunately, you will also see more of them necessary, as more and more people are incarcerated these days. Don’t let anyone tell you that crime isn’t on the rise.

Crime has always been on the rise in general, and diverse detention centers are necessary in today’s society. There are also detention centers that are work camps, too. If you have been thinking about a new career, this is a field that is sure to need level headed individuals with purpose moving into the future.