Jail vs Prison

A jail is a local lock-up for holding people awaiting local court appearances or serving time on local misdemeanor charges or sentences of less than one year. It is allowed to hold prisoners for up to one year. Any sentence over a year must be served in a prison.

The most notable difference is that prison inmates have been tried and convicted of crimes, while those in jail may be waiting for a trial. A prison is under the jurisdiction of either federal or state, while the jail holds people accused under federal, state, county and/or city laws. A jail holds inmates from two days to a year only.

That’s the difference between a jail and prison in the US. However, in Indonesia, there isn’t much of a difference between them. If we compare the condition between Indonesia’s prison with the America’s, there’s a huge difference. I said HUGE!

Inside Indonesia's Female Cell
Inside Indonesia’s Female Cell

Oh, man! I don’t know how the inmates survive living in the hellhole – that’s how the foreign inmates called Indonesia’s prison – for a very long time. They live in an overcrowded condition – packed like sardines, bad sanitation and health care.

If you want a private cell – you don’t want to share cell, or if you want to have extra food, you have to pay for those things and I’m telling you they’re not cheap. If you want to get along with the other inmates, pack yourself with cigarettes. That’ll help you get to know people.

Cipinang Penitentiary, Jakarta
Cipinang Penitentiary, Jakarta

I had a relative who was sent to prison for drug charges. She was sentenced 20 years, but released on good behavior after 10 years serving. I visited her inside a few times and saw these conditions with my own eyes. And I know her mother paid a great deal of money to make sure she’s OK inside.

Anyway, last words from me stay away from drugs or any criminal activity if you don’t want to waste your life living in a hellhole called prison.


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