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A prison (also known as a jail or gaol (dated, British and Australian English), penitentiary (American English), detention center (or centre if outside the US), correction center (American English), correctional facility, lock-up or remand center) is a facility in which inmates (or prisoners) are forcibly confined and denied a variety of freedoms under the authority of the state. Prisons are most commonly used within a criminal justice system: people charged with crimes may be imprisoned until their trial; those pleading or being found guilty of crimes at trial may be sentenced to a specified period of imprisonment. In simplest terms, a prison can also be described as a building in which people are legally held as a punishment for a crime they have committed.
Prisons can also be used as a tool of political repression by authoritarian regimes. Their perceived opponents may be imprisoned for political crimes, often without trial or other legal due process; this use is illegal under most forms of international law governing fair administration of justice. 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.
In American English, the terms prison and jail have separate definitions, though this is not always followed in casual speech. A prison or penitentiary holds people for longer periods of time, such as many years, and is operated by a state or federal government. A jail holds people for shorter periods of time (e.g. for shorter sentences or pre-trial detention) and is usually operated by a local government. Outside of North America, prison and jail have the same meaning.

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  1. enigmatic

    SA Home detention- change of address

    I currently have a friend in home detention who has been living with me for almost a year now. He’s been trying to move out for months now, the first two places were rejected for whatever reason so he has secured a rental property but his CO is dragging his feet to submit the paperwork. I need...
  2. M

    VIC If someone tries to kill me, is it against the law if I practice self-defense?

    The title kind of speaks for itself. If the above statement is true, what happens then if I could not outrun the killer? Should I just kill myself then and be done with it because if somehow I managed to survive, the law would confine me to prison anyway or suspended sentence?
  3. justawriter

    Fiction Research - Exonerating the Innocent Under Criminal Law?

    First up, I'm an aspiring writer and this is all fictional. I've tried to research extensively online but I'm struggling to find specific info (particularly Australian) relevant to my story. I have about a hundred things I could ask, but for now, I'm sticking with my most pressing concern, the...
  4. S

    QLD Parental Alienation from ex Mother-in-law

    Hi, so I have a question about how to best move forward with a situation. I will keep emotion out of it, and just state the relevant facts, but happy to share more if needed. I left my ex-husband 2.5 years ago due to domestic violence. He has a DVO (now expired), that he admitted to - all...
  5. A

    NSW What Happens to Consent Order When Parent Goes to Prison?

    My ex-partner and I have one child (5 years old). Throughout our separation, I pleaded for our daughter not to go to him due to his drug use. I left our local area with our child for safety reasons. His parents arranged for a court order for us to return to the area immediately which I...
  6. U

    TAS Car in Police Custody - What to Do?

    My car has been clamped by the police indefinitely (4weeks ago) due to someone I know driving it who has a disqualified drivers licence and had been intercepted by the police driving it 3 times in the last 12 month period. Please note I was not the driver of the car that committed offences...
  7. H

    QLD Prison Time After Another Drink Driving Offence?

    I have a friend who had previous drink driving offenses and 6 years ago had a car accident while driving under the influence and spent 1 month in prison. He has had no drink driving offences since then until New Year's day this year. The morning after drinking, he blew 0.133. My question is...
  8. J

    QLD New Bill for Deportation Under Immigration Law?

    Hi all, I just find out that a bill got voted last year in October. "Under the bill, anyone convicted of an offence punishable by at least two years in prison could have their visa cancelled — regardless of whether they were jailed for less time, or not jailed at all." Does that mean you get...
  9. A

    WA Will Prison Sentence Show Up on National Police Clearance?

    In 2013, I was convicted in the district court for gbh and sentenced to 8 months in prison. I served half that time and the rest on parole. This was my 1st ever prison sentence. I have 2 questions. 1. Will this show up on a national police clearance and be an issue with employment? 2. In WA...
  10. B

    NSW Make Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse Under Family Law?

    Hi there, My ex and I are throwing hand grenades at each other on a daily basis. We are separated under one roof and are speaking mainly through text and email which consists mostly of making allegations and counter allegations via email. With school holidays coming up, my wife wants to take...