Frequently Asked Questions

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What's the difference between jail and prison?

Think short-term and long-term.

Jails are most often run by sheriffs and/or local governments and are designed to hold individuals awaiting trial or a serving short sentences (in Florida, inmates serving 364 days or less serve their time in jail).

Prisons are operated by state governments and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and are designed to hold individuals convicted of crimes.

Jails operate work release programs, boot camps, and other specialized services. They try to address educational needs, substance abuse needs, and vocational needs while managing inmate behavior. Inmate idleness contributes to management problems.

State prison systems operate halfway houses, work release centers and community restitution centers - all considered medium or minimum custody. Inmates assigned to such facilities are usually reaching the end of their sentences.

There are approximately 3,600 jails in the United States. The BSO jail system is the 10th largest local jail system in the United States. It is one of only 3% of the local jails in the United States to have earned accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections.

The Broward Sheriff's Office maintains five jails: the Main Jail, the North Broward Bureau, the Joseph V. Conte Facility, Paul Rein Detention Facility and the Stockade Facility. The number of beds in the entire system is nearly 4,800.

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