Spanish -

How To Say "Jail" In Spanish

Are you curious about how to say the English word "jail" in Spanish? If so, you have come to the right place! In this article, we will explore the various translations of "jail" in Spanish, the IPA phonetics for each term, and some sample sentences that will help you to practice. Whether you are learning Spanish for travel, communication, or just out of interest, understanding the equivalents of common English words like "jail" is essential. So, let us dive into the linguistic intricacies of this translation.

Buy the 10.000 Most Common Spanish Words eBook set.
Learn Spanish smart and efficiently with the top 10.000 Spanish words.

What is "Jail" in Spanish?

In Spanish, the word "jail" can be translated into various terms, depending on the region and context. Here are some of the most common translations:

  • Prisión (IPA: /prɪˈsɪo̯n/): This term is widely used across Spanish-speaking regions and is the standard translation for "jail." It refers to a place of confinement for individuals who have committed crimes or are awaiting trial.
  • Cárcel (IPA: /ˈkaɾθel/): Similar to "prisión," "cárcel" is another widely accepted translation for "jail." It is used in Spain and various Latin American countries.
  • Centro Penitenciario (IPA: /ˈsɛntɾo penitenˈθjaɾjo/): In some formal contexts, especially in legal contexts, "centro penitenciario" is used to refer to a correctional facility or penitentiary.
  • Presidio (IPA: /pɾɛˈsiðjo/): This term is more commonly used in Mexico and some Central American countries to refer to a prison or jail.

Meaning of "Jail" in Spanish

When translating "jail" into Spanish, it is essential to consider the context in which the word is used. The terms mentioned above generally refer to a place of confinement for criminals or those awaiting trial. However, in some contexts, the word "jail" can also be used metaphorically to indicate feeling trapped or confined, as in "the jail of anxiety." In such cases, the translations mentioned above may not be appropriate, and it would be better to use a more figurative expression.

4 eBooks of the Spanish Frequency Dictionaries series by MostUsedWords

Take a look at our series of frequency dictionaries to learn Spanish words fast. Stop learning hard, and start learning smart!

How to Say "Jail" in Spanish: Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences you can use to say "jail" in Spanish:

  • La policía arrestó al ladrón y lo llevó a la prisión más cercana.

(The police arrested the thief and took him to the nearest jail.)

  • ¿Sabías que Pablo estuvo en la cárcel durante cinco años por robo?

(Did you know that Pablo was in jail for five years for robbery?)

  • El gobierno construirá un nuevo centro penitenciario para aliviar el hacinamiento en las cárceles existentes.

(The government will build a new penitentiary to alleviate overcrowding in the existing jails.)

  • En algunos países, la corrupción puede llevarte directamente al presidio.

(In some countries, corruption can land you directly in jail.)

  • A pesar de estar en la cárcel, Juan encontró una forma de redimirse y cambiar su vida.

(Despite being in jail, Juan found a way to redeem himself and change his life.)

All MostUsedWords Spanish Frequency Dictionaries in Paperback
Take a look at what our customers have to say, and get your Spanish Frequency Dictionaries in paperback here! We offer different levels:


Now you know how to say the English word "jail" in Spanish! The translations "prisión," "cárcel," "centro penitenciario," and "presidio" are all valid, depending on the region and context. Whether you are studying Spanish for travel, work, or personal enrichment, understanding these linguistic nuances will enhance your communication skills and cultural awareness. ¡Buena suerte!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published