. . but as a true visitor and not a resident. I concur that the local jails are much less pleasant, as they aren't intended for long-term incarcerations (one client told me some of his pet peeves: Sitting on a toilet in a room with other prisons and a surveillance camera, and nothing to shield the view but a newspaper . . . taking showers where men entered in a line, 5 sec. blast of water to get wet, then lather up and a 5 sec. blast to rinse, and onto the next prisoner -- said his feet never felt clean, walking in that muck of soap and skin cells that don't get washed away by the brief sprays of water . . . "trustee" inmates who worked in the kitchen making food for the jail population -- if they had a court appearance that day and the judge didn't decide in their favor, the angry inmate might return to the kitchen to spit or blow his nose into the food).
The prisons, on the other hand, have the space and certain amenties to accomodate longer stays. Several jail inmates I worked with via a previous agency told me, "If they are going to keep me here for several months or a year, just send me to prison."
I would agree with CB that I also would not want to spend time as an inmate in either setting. As he said, some bizarre-acting and even dangerous folks among those populations. It was unsettling enough for me to enter a holding area to meet with inmates, and that steel door closed and locked behind me . . . felt helpless and at the mercy of authorities. I can't imagine spending weeks or months there, let alone years!