Inside Look: What’s a Prison Cell Like in the UK

Prison Info

If you’re curious to understand what a prison cell in the UK looks like, then continue reading. In this comprehensive guide, we aim to paint a clear picture of exactly what one can expect inside a UK prison cell.

Basics of a UK Prison Cell

A prison cell is not merely a small confined space; rather, it is designed to house a prisoner during their sentence. Cells in the UK typically measure about 2m x 3.5m. They are not always designed for a single occupant – double cells are also common.

Most prison cells in the UK come equipped with:

  • A bunk or a single bed
  • A sink
  • An in-cell toilet, which is sometimes screened for privacy
  • A desk and a chair
  • A small shelving unit for personal items


Privacy within a UK prison cell tends to be limited. If you are not in a single cell, you are likely sharing the confined space with another inmate. Apart from these factors, privacy is also infringed by the checks carried out by prison officers multiple times a day. Despite these limitations, attempts are made to provide inmates with a certain level of dignity.


Prison cells have basic amenities for hygiene. A typical cell has an in-built toilet and basin, allowing inmates to maintain cleanliness within their space. The cells are also regularly checked and cleaned by designated prison staff, maintaining health and sanitation levels.

Food and Meals

As for meals inside a UK prison cell, prisoners receive three meals a day, specially prepared by a kitchen team. The meals are often served in portions and balanced to meet dietary guidelines. These are usually self-catered and sometimes can be cooked in communal kitchens by the prisoners themselves.


In terms of personalising the cell, the opportunities are limited. However, prisoners are often allowed to hang a few personal pictures and keep some books or games to help pass the time. They can also keep a small selection of personal items, subject to strict regulations.


Beyond the individual prison cells, there is often a shared communal area where prisoners spend time out of their cells. This does vary from prison to prison, but typically includes a common room area and an outdoor yard for exercise.


Life in a UK prison cell comes with its own unique challenges. The small, confined area is a stark contrast to the freedom enjoyed on the outside. Prisoners often struggle with the lack of privacy and the limited opportunities for personalisation.

However, it’s worth noting that UK prisons make a concerted effort to maintain a level of safety and hygiene in prison cells, despite the common perception of prison life.


While tough, the life inside a UK prison cell aims to foster an environment that can facilitate rehabilitation, rather than mere punishment. The focus is not just on serving a sentence, but on making positive changes for the future.

Lives within these cells are unique and varied. For many, these cells are simply the unfortunate consequence of wrong decisions. In detailing aspects of a UK prison cell, our goal is to shed light on life behind bars and demystify the general perceptions of prison life.

Remember, crime prevention and rehabilitation starts with understanding. By seeing the reality behind the façade, we can all play a role in creating a safer, more understanding society.

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Is it cheaper to call a landline from prison?

Most definitely - YES! Mobiles can cost over 25p per minute, the precious phone credit runs out very fast! Our unlimited prison calls package saves money whilst adding the convenience of being able to pickup calls on your mobile.
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