Merriam-Webster defines a prison as  “1: a state of confinement or captivity. 2: a place of confinement especially for lawbreakers, specifically: an institution (such as one under state jurisdiction) for confinement of persons convicted of serious crimes.” 

Prisons vary from society to society. Some are dingy quarters that hark back to the medieval ages. Some are  rundown, dilapidated buildings with ramshackle gates to keep prisoners in. Some are complex and sophisticated facilities run by professionally trained personnel. Prisoners’ conditions often vary from being merely socially and physically deprived to experiencing inhumane conditions. In the Philippines, prisons are often overcrowded, sometimes dangerous, and almost always lack sufficient funding and personnel. 

Sometimes used interchangeably are the following terms and their technical definitions in the Philippines:

Correctional facility — a place of detention, including a prison, jail or any other facility, operated by a law enforcement agency.

Jail — a correctional facility holding mainly pre-trial detainees or prisoners with short sentences. 

Prison — a correctional facility that mainly holds prisoners with long sentences. This usually also refers to national prisons or penitentiaries under the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). Jails also include provincial, district, city or municipal jails managed and supervised by the local government as well as the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP). 


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