What Do Prisoners Do All Day?

Explore the daily life of prisoners in UK prisons, from their structured routines to activities aimed at rehabilitation and reintegration.

Understanding what prisoners do all day in UK prisons offers a glimpse into a world governed by strict routines and various rehabilitative activities. A day in the life of a prisoner is meticulously structured, designed to ensure security, promote discipline, and provide opportunities for personal development.

UK Prisoner Daily Routine

What Do Prisoners Do All Day? Daily Routine of Prisoners

Prisoners’ days start early, typically around 7:00 AM, with a wake-up call. Breakfast is served shortly after, marking the beginning of a day filled with scheduled activities. This routine is essential for maintaining order within the prison and ensuring that all inmates have a clear understanding of their daily responsibilities.

Work and Educational Programs

A significant portion of the day is dedicated to work and education. Inmates are assigned various jobs within the prison, such as kitchen duties, laundry, or maintenance. These tasks are crucial not only for the upkeep of the facility but also for teaching inmates valuable skills that can aid their reintegration into society upon release.

Educational programs are also a key component of the daily routine. Many prisons offer classes in literacy, numeracy, and vocational training. These educational opportunities are aimed at reducing recidivism by equipping prisoners with the skills needed to secure employment after their sentence.

What Do Prisoners Do All Day? Rehabilitation and Therapy Sessions

ehabilitation is a core objective within UK prisons. Various therapy sessions and rehabilitative programs are conducted throughout the day. These programs might include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), substance abuse counselling, and anger management courses. Participation in these sessions is often mandatory and is seen as crucial for the inmates’ personal growth and readiness for life after prison.

Physical Exercise and Recreation

Physical activity is another integral part of the daily schedule. Most prisons have gym facilities, sports fields, and exercise yards where inmates can engage in physical exercise. Regular physical activity is encouraged as it helps maintain physical health and mental well-being.

Recreational activities such as reading, watching television, and playing board games are also available. These activities provide a necessary break from the otherwise rigid structure of prison life and offer inmates a chance to relax and unwind.

What Do Prisoners Do All Day? Family Visits and Communication

Maintaining family connections is considered vital for the emotional well-being of prisoners. Scheduled visiting hours allow inmates to spend time with their loved ones. In addition to in-person visits, many prisons offer video calls and phone calls as alternative means of communication, ensuring that prisoners can maintain strong family ties, which is crucial for their reintegration process.

Healthcare Services

Access to healthcare is a fundamental right for prisoners. On-site medical facilities cater to the health needs of inmates, offering services ranging from routine check-ups to emergency care. Mental health services are also provided, with specialists available to address issues such as depression, anxiety, and other psychological conditions.


The daily life of prisoners in UK prisons is structured yet diverse, designed to balance security, discipline, and personal development. From work assignments and educational programs to rehabilitation sessions and recreational activities, every aspect of the routine aims to prepare inmates for a successful return to society.


  1. What kind of jobs do prisoners do in UK prisons? Prisoners engage in various jobs such as kitchen work, laundry services, maintenance, and manufacturing. These roles help them develop skills that can be useful post-release.

  2. Are prisoners in the UK required to attend educational classes? While not all prisoners are required to attend educational classes, many are encouraged to do so. Education programs focus on literacy, numeracy, and vocational skills.

  3. How often can prisoners in the UK receive visits from family? The frequency of family visits varies by prison, but most institutions allow regular visits, often weekly or bi-weekly. Video calls and phone calls are also common.

  4. What types of rehabilitation programs are available in UK prisons? UK prisons offer various rehabilitation programs, including cognitive behavioural therapy, substance abuse counselling, anger management, and vocational training.

  5. Do prisoners have access to healthcare services? Yes, prisoners have access to comprehensive healthcare services, including mental health support, provided by on-site medical professionals.

For more insights into life inside UK prisons, discover the different types of prisons and prisoners. Additionally, for further information on the impact of rehabilitation programs, visit this BBC News article on prison rehabilitation.