Difference Between Jail and Detention Center

In the case of ordinary criminals, imprisonment is not always necessary as a punishment. Jail is the first place where a person with criminal charges is taken after being arrested by the police. Although the term detention center does not have any official meaning. It is a broad term, and its purpose is to give an environment for young people or juveniles who are sentenced. Both the term is almost similar to each other.


Law Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to law

1 / 5

_______ is the agreement of the will of one contracting party with that of another or others, upon the object and terms of the contract

2 / 5

A contract is considered _____ when given through mistake, violence intimidation, undue influence or fraud.

3 / 5

An offer made through _________ is accepted from the time acceptance is communicated to him

4 / 5

In _________, there is intent to evade the normal fulfillment of a pre-existing obligation.

5 / 5

________ is an unconscious ignorance or forgetfulness of the existence or non-existence of a fact, past pr present, material to the contract.

Your score is


Jail vs Detention Center

The main difference between jail and detention centers is that jail is a facility offered by the local government authority for temporary custody. On the other hand, the detention center is generally related in conjunction with juveniles. Jail is a smaller place in comparison to the detention center. Detention centers also have some correctional facilities.

Jail vs Detention Center

Jail is mainly a small place where people are held captive for temporary custody. It is used for detaining inmates awaiting sentencing. Jails are administered by local law enforcement. It refers to a facility for the punishment of people who have not been charged with any serious crime. Moreover, the jail is a local facility.

A Detention center is a broader concept, and it is the place for minor criminals. In a detention center, prisoners are more liberal, and they can work around the campus. Detention centers are classified as a maximum, medium, and minimum centers according to the type of criminal offenses. Detention centers are mainly for juveniles. People with minor criminal backgrounds are housed in a detention center.

Comparison Table Between Jail and Detention Center

Parameters of Comparison  Jail  Detention Center  
Meaning  Jail is a place where criminals are held captive for temporary custody.  Detention centers are the place where juveniles are held captive when they are detained.  
Authority  Location authority.  State government or regional governments.  
Types  Three levels of jails include sub-jail, district Jail, and central jail.  There are detention centers with camp facilities, community-based, correctional treatment, detention facilities, and residential treatment.  
Purpose  To captive criminal defendants after arrest until the declaration of actual punishment.  To keep people who have entered a country illegally and for the juveniles who are sentenced.  
Facility  It provides a local temporary facility and comparatively a smaller place.  It has large facilities and covers a region.  
Area  Jail is a small place.  The Detention Center is a large place.  

What is Jail?

Usually, jail refers to a small facility provided by the local authorities or police where people with criminal charges are held captive for temporary custody. There are very few numbers of jails that are controlled by the state government or the federal government. The term jail stands for Judicial Accountability Initiative Law. In a jail, prisoners are often waiting for their trials.

Jail is a place where a citizen goes after committing an unlawful activity but has not proven guilty in court yet. The term jail has a negative connotation in our society. This place is for the people who have a criminal charge and have not made bail. People who are held captive in a jail or prison without any evidence of crimes are supposed to be considered innocent in the eyes of the law.

There are various types of jails that are minimum security jails or federal prison, low-security jail, medium-security jail, high-security jail, and administrative jail. One may spend less or more than a year in jail, depending on the criminal charges. Jails sometimes offer work release, educational and vocational programs. Jails can be provincial, city, district, and municipal levels.

What is Detention Center?

A detention center is a place where detainees are confined by a country or federal government temporarily. It is more like a private prison, and people go there after committing an unlawful activity or crime. Detention centers are more for juveniles, and it gives more facilities than the jail.

Detention centers are large places that include facilities like juvenile, military, and immigration centers. Most of the detention centers provide a correctional facility. It often provides national and regional facilities and is classified into maximum, minimum, and medium centers.

In a maximum-security detention center, violent criminals are housed. People with comparatively middle-range sentences are held captive in the medium-security detention center. Minimum detention centers are the place for those having the shortest sentences. A detention center encompasses the facilities of jails, prisons, and camps.

Main Differences Between Jail and Detention Center

  1. Jail provides temporary custody for people with criminal offenses. On the other hand, detention centers are private prisons where detainees are confined by a country.
  2. Jail is a smaller place than a detention center.
  3. Jails are mainly for adults. On the other hand, the detention center is mainly for juveniles.
  4. Detention centers provide more facilities than jails. It includes facilities like juvenile, military, and immigration. On the other hand, the jail provides local facilities for short time custody.
  5. Jail is the first place where the person is taken after being arrested. On the other hand, detention centers provide an environment for the juveniles who are sentenced.
  6. Jails exist at the local, state, and federal levels. On the other hand, detention centers are categorized into maximum, medium, and minimum detention centers.
Difference Between Jail and Detention Center


Usually, the term detention center is a very broad term and related to jails and prisons. Jails are mainly under the department of the interior and local government. Jails and detention centers are the places where individuals are confined who are not declared convicts. They both are somewhat the same.

Jails have a more negative connotation and stigma than the detention center. That is also true that all the person that who is being held in jail or a detention center are not always criminals. People who are not convicted of a crime or unlawful act are supposed to be considered innocent in the eyes of the law.


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/get-pe-doi.cfm?doi=10.1037/e557002006-001
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0306624×04269673
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️