Difference between Prisoner and Inmate

Difference between Prisoner and Inmate

Crime is an offense that is punishable by law. Individuals or groups of people commit crimes. The person or group of people that commit the crime are arraigned before a court of law for trial. It is thereafter decided if they are guilty of the charges pressed or not. Before the actual dates, the offenders are kept in local jails. If found guilty, they are moved from the local jails to the state of prison. It is at this point that we call them prisoners or inmates.

There is so much crime happening these days and punishing those who commit these crimes is necessary. Judgment is usually given by the state or any authority based on how severe the crime committed is. The people imprisoned can be called prisoners or inmates.

Prisoner Vs. Inmate

The actual difference between a prisoner and an inmate is this: A prisoner is held at a local jail after committing a crime before the actual date of trial. An inmate on the other hand has been found guilty of the crime or offense after trial and is therefore convicted. The inmate is sentenced to prison life. The only similarity between an inmate and a prisoner is that they are both deprived of freedom.

Comparison between Prisoner and Inmate

  • Unlike inmates who are confined in local county jails or detention centers, prisoners are usually held captive in state and federal prisons.
  • Prisoners are held in jails for a considerable amount of time before the actual date of trial. Inmates on the other hand have already been convicted as they are found guilty of the offenses committed. They are sentenced to serve a particular period in the jails.
  • Prisoners are in some cases held against their will. This is because no trial has been conducted to confirm the person is guilty of the offense. Inmates not only refers to people in jails but those who have been confined in hospitals as well.
  • The prisoner can be held against their will, even though they have not committed the crime. Inmates on the other hand have already been found guilty of the crime and are therefore charged to be in jail for a period.
  • Prisoners are always at the risk of breaking out. Inmates are always aligned to the institution’s rules which makes it difficult for them to go to flight.

What is a Prisoner?

A prisoner is a person who is deprived of their freedom and locked up in jail against their wish. A person who is legally convicted of committing a crime is normally referred to as a prisoner. Prisoners are usually committed for felonies and not a misdemeanor.

The very first prisoner was held captive back in 8000 BC in the prehistoric caves of Egypt. The toughest punishment that is issued to the prisoner is being held captive on their own without the presence of others. To some extent, this has some severe mental damage on the prisoner.

What is an Inmate?

An inmate can be referred to as a person living in a house or habitat that accommodates several other people. People that are living under one roof are called inmates. The place where inmates are kept can be a house, a prison, or a hospital. Patients can also be called inmates.

Unlike the prison term which only refers to being held captive and being deprived of freedom, the inmate is a rather broad term. Inmates have to be accustomed to the institution’s rules and regulations as well as other inmates living there. There are inmates set apart called ‘model inmates’ who are in charge of informing the staff of any mischief, and they do this anonymously.

Inmates are usually given codes that help them acquire values while they are at the institution. This is a very good practice as the main focus is making sure that the inmates do not leave the institution the same way they got in. It focuses on bringing up people who are reformed.

Difference between Prisoner and Inmate

  • The US refers to a prisoner as a person who has been convicted by the federal states. Inmates on the other hand are people held in local jails, detention centers, and county jails.
  • Inmates have to be rightfully convicted before being held captive and deprived of their own freedom. Prisoners on the other hand are in most cases held against their own will.
  • Prisoners do not have to be held captive in jails. Someone in other institutions against their own will can hold them captive. An inmate on the other hand is never wrongfully convicted. It can be a long-term stay at a hospital or a jail, depending on the final judgment issued.
  • Prisoners are held captive for having committed a crime or just awaiting the final verdict. They are only rightfully jailed once it is confirmed that they committed the said crime.
  • Inmates once held captive begin to get accustomed to the rules and regulations of the institution. They even get used to the staff and eventually form great friendships with them. There is no room for prisoners to get accustomed to their surroundings or the staff in jails and prisons. As such, they are at a very high risk of escaping from these institutions.


The reason why imprisonment has been put in place is to help correct the rot and crime rise in society. It is to help those that have not committed crimes learn the severity of the consequences that come with it.

In addition to this, people are instilled with fear as soon as they have been in a prison or jail environment. This fear allows them to decide to reform so they do not get themselves into the same situation again.

There are several reasons through which people can be held captive. These reasons. These reasons are normally placed in different categories. They determine the severity of the crime as well as the punishment to be given. AT some point, the crimes committed determine the institution one will be detained in.

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