A "jail" is a place where people go if they are suspected of, or guilty of, breaking the law.

jailhouse jailhouse

Jails in the United States are usually connected to a police station or a courthouse, but there are many larger jails where criminals go before or after a trial.

A jail is not the same thing as a prison. Prisons are used for long-term punishment; a jail is usually used for a short or temporary stay.

  • A person who goes to jail is called a prisoner or an inmate. A person who is in prison wears a prison uniform.
  • Before a trial to determine guilt or innocence, a person in jail is called a suspect or a detainee.
man in jail
  • The room where people live (in jail) is called a cell. This is a jail cell.
  • Prisoners are watched by guards or police officers.
guard and prisoner
  • Instead of saying a person is in jail or in prison, you can also say "behind bars."
  • He’s behind bars for stealing a car.
behind bars

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January 5, 2013