People are often confused by the difference between city jails, county jails and prison. While these facilities are similar there are several important differences.

City jails, like those in Chandler and Tempe, are run by local city or police department and are independent of county jails. These normally serve as temporary lockup facilities where people accused of crimes are brought to be photographed and fingerprinted. After being processed people are usually either released or transported to Maricopa county jail to be held in custody. The city jails, specifically Scottsdale, rarely house people for more than a few hours.

County jails, like Maricopa County Jails, are facilitates which are normally run by the local county sheriff. These are normally larger facilities than the city jails and they can hold people for longer periods of time. The county jails normally house people who are pending trial and cannot afford to post a bond or who are not granted release by a judge.

The county jail also will house people who have been found guilty of a crime, usually misdemeanors, and are serving sentences of less than one year. The county jails sometimes allow work release which allows people to leave jail during the day to go to work and then return to jail at night. Maricopa County’s Tent City is a county jail.

Prisons are run by the state or federal government however, some prisons are owned by corporations that contract with the government. Prisons house people who have been convicted of felony offenses and sentenced to prison terms.

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, avoiding jail or prison is probably your chief concern. For more information please contact a knowledgeable defense attorney from the Rosenstein Law Group.