How Do I Teach the Difference Between Jail and Prison?

prisoner_clip_art

A guest at a prison or jail (likely a jail)

Most students have not been through the legal system and have yet to experience the difference between jail and prison firsthand. The differences are many, but can be summarized rather easily. Although not exclusive, jails are for light-skinned people and prisons are for dark-skinned people, but there are of course many other differences.

To teach the difference between jail and prison, write the words on the board. Have the student brainstorm different aspects of each (food, lodgings, activities, television time, yard size), and write those items on the board as well. For each aspect, act out the differences while the student takes notes. For example, for jail food you could make a disappointed face at the flavor followed by a look of resolved gladness that your dessert will not be taken, whereas prison food would be a slightly less disappointed face at the flavor and a confused face at the consistency and texture of the soups. Repeat for each aspect.

After the student has taken sufficient notes, start a roleplay. You take on the role of a reporter and the student a sheriff, and the sheriff has to explain the differences between the facilities in his/her jurisdiction. When the student has completed the roleplay, switch roles.

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