When we think of the words “jail” and “prison,” a certain definition comes to mind — for most people, both words evoke the mental image of a little cell with a bed and bars. Indeed, both jails and prisons have cells, and this similarity, along with many others, leads many people to believe in the incorrect notion that prison and jail are two words that describe the same thing.

In fact, there are specific differences between jail and prison, and understanding them is an important step if you or any of your loved ones end up being arrested for a crime.

Let’s take a look at jail and prison, and why it’s important to know what differentiates one from the other.


You can look at jail as the “smaller” of the two. When somebody goes to jail, it’s usually for one of three reasons:

  • They’ve been arrested for a crime and they’re being held temporarily until they face trial
  • They’ve been charged with a misdemeanor and face less than one year of incarceration
  • They’ve been sentenced to a long-term prison sentence and they are awaiting transfer

In other words, you can look at jail as the short-term solution for incarceration. Jail isn’t a long-term situation, and it’s mainly used to contain arrested parties who are in legal limbo or criminals who are facing a sentence that’s not severe enough for prison.

Can Bail Bonds Help Someone in Jail?

Yes! This is exactly what bail bonds are for. When someone is in jail awaiting trial, they are legally allowed to be released if they pay a certain amount of bail money. If the amount is met, they are released until their court date. The trial they await serves one major purpose — deciding if they will go to prison.


Prison is a long-term incarceration, and it is used to incarcerate criminals who have been found guilty in the justice system. Once the courts have decided your sentence, prison is the final stop until your term is over. Prison is, again, meant for the long-term, meaning that sentences can be one year at a minimum, or in the most extreme scenario, one’s entire life.

Unlike jail, there is no deliberation when it comes to prison. Once you’re there, you’re there to stay.



Can Bail Bonds Help Someone in Prison?

No. Bail bonds are intended for people who are waiting for the justice system to take its course. In this state, they haven’t been legally convicted of a crime. Prison is where you go once the courts have made their decision, and once you’ve been sentenced, there’s no way out, except for the good old fashioned way of serving your time.

Bail Bonds in Waco, Texas

When you understand the difference between jail and prison, it’s easy to understand why bail bonds are important. If you have a friend, family member, or loved one in jail, bail bonds are an important tool in helping them to be free of incarceration until their trial. And, of course, someone who’s not spending all their time in jail has access to more resources and legal counsel, which can ultimately help them to get the defense they need when their trial does come.

You don’t want anyone you love going to prison. Are you in a position where any of your loved ones in Waco are looking at jail time? Contact us at Kocian Bail Bonds today to get the financial help you need!