What Do Prisoners Do All Day?

Every prisoner's day is based on a jail schedule for inmates. Not all prisoners will have the same daily plan or do the same things throughout the day. There will be three or more separate schedules for three different groups of prisoners most of the time. But to make this a little easier to understand what happens in jail, I will list the various activities a prisoner might do during the day. Just remember that the times and order of activities will differ based on the jail a person is in. Jail on the other hand will have a separate schedule than most prisons.

Morning Exercises

Any Prisoners interested in participating in morning exercises will usually be able to do this in the morning. This can be done inside of a prisoner's cell, or sometimes workouts can be done outside. This includes running track and many other things. Some prisons will have a place for weights and other gym equipment, but this will vary based on the prison yard. 

Telephone Calls

Most prisoners have family and friends that they like to call during the day. There is usually a time set apart in the morning and afternoon for this. Calls may be limited to 2 mins but can be longer based on management and how many people want to make a call. Others might choose to write letters to friends and family rather than placing a call. 


The human body needs food in the mornings to get you through the day. This is the same for prisoners. Early in the morning, after morning exercises, and usually before phone calls, prisoners will eat breakfast. While it might not have as much protein as they'd like, it's better than starving. 

Travel to Work Site

Prisoners are escorted to their work area, where they will be able to spend most of their time working. 


During the day, prisoners are given a chore or job. Although they can usually not choose their preferred position, they will maintain their employment, generally til the end of the day. Of course, they aren't working without anything in return. Each prisoner that works will be paid a wage. The money they earn can be used to buy food, snacks, soap, and other essentials. 


Every prisoner is given lunch. Most prisoners argue that the food they receive isn't good enough and doesn't contain enough protein and needed nutrients. They might be prisoners, but they are still people. There have been a couple of prisoners with healthy lifestyles before entering prison, and after getting out, they have to start over on their diet and health. Fake and cheap food isn't good enough to keep the body healthy and strong. 


Yes, some prisons do have gyms. This is a way inmates can release any energy they have built up inside of them

Off Duty/ Time Outside

Every day after work or even between shifts, prisoners are given time outside to get some fresh air or talk and socialize. Some prisoners use this time to work out or take a break. 


Dinner, much like lunch, isn't very healthy when it comes to prison food, but prisoners get something to eat. Before bed, prisoners are given a meal for dinner a little bigger than their lunch but not always enough to fill up an adult body.


Majority of prisons will have a set time prisoners must go to bed, this is usually around 10-11pm. the light go out and all inmates are required to be in their cells at a certain point, and all the light go out.

Self Help Organizations

Religious gatherings and anger management classes are suggested for prisoners wanting to change their ways and become better people. Prisoners don't have to attend any classes that they don't want to unless you were ordered to by a judge, but they are there for when a prisoner needs them. 

So basically, the daily life of prisoners involves a structured routine mandated by the correctional facility, which typically includes a blend of work assignments, educational programs, meals, and recreational activities. Work assignments can range from kitchen duties to manufacturing jobs, providing an opportunity for skill development and personal growth. Educational programs aim to enhance literacy and vocational skills, preparing inmates for a smoother reintegration into society. Recreational activities, such as sports and creative arts, help maintain physical health and mental well-being. While each institution may vary in the opportunities it offers, the core goal remains consistent: to manage the prison population effectively while offering avenues for rehabilitation and personal development. This structured environment seeks to balance security needs with initiatives that reduce the odds of reoffending by equipping inmates with the tools needed for post-incarceration life.