For the Laurel and Hardy short film, see The Hoose-Gow. Jail” and “Penitentiary” redirect introduction to corrections hanser pdf. World map showing number of prisoners per 100,000 citizens, by country.


The United States has both the world’s largest prison population and the world’s highest per capita incarceration rate. Besides their use for punishing crimes, jails and prisons are frequently used by authoritarian regimes against perceived opponents. Prisons often have facilities that are more designed with long term confinement in mind in comparison to jails.

In times of war, prisoners of war or detainees may be detained in military prisons or prisoner of war camps, and large groups of civilians might be imprisoned in internment camps. The use of prisons can be traced back to the rise of the state as a form of social organization. Corresponding with the advent of the state was the development of written language, which enabled the creation of formalized legal codes as official guidelines for society.