can you have a tv in your prison cell

Can You Have a TV in Your Prison Cell


Ever pondered over the luxuries of life behind bars? We usually picture prison life as monotonous and deprived of entertainment. But here’s a curveball – can you have a TV in your prison cell?

History of Television in Prisons

Early Stages

The concept of television in prisons was unheard of a few decades ago. Originally, the idea of providing inmates with access to television was considered radical. After all, prisons were places of punishment, not comfort. But as times changed, so did the prison system’s approach.

Modern Days

In the present era, it’s not uncommon for prisons in many parts of the world to allow inmates to have a TV in their cell. The practice has gradually been adopted in an attempt to manage inmate behavior and support rehabilitation.

Legal Aspects of Having a TV in Prison

U.S. Perspective

In the United States, the Bureau of Prisons does allow inmates to purchase and own a television, provided they comply with specific guidelines. However, the rules vary by facility and security level.

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Other Countries’ Policies

Countries like the UK and Australia also have similar policies. But remember, having a TV is not a right; it’s a privilege that can be revoked.

Pros and Cons of TV in Prison Cells


In prisons, TVs can play a critical role in educating and reforming inmates. They provide a window to the world outside, help kill time, and reduce conflicts and violence in prisons.


Contrarily, there can be downsides. Critics argue that television in cells may breed laziness and deter personal development. Also, the selection of shows could potentially expose inmates to unsuitable content.

Types of TV Programs Available in Prisons

Educational Programs

Educational shows are often available, which can equip inmates with knowledge and skills useful post-incarceration.

Entertainment Programs

Entertainment shows are also part of the mix but are typically monitored to ensure content appropriateness.

How Prisons Control TV Use

Rules and Regulations

There are strict rules around TV use. For example, usage may be limited to certain hours, or only specific channels may be permitted.

Consequences of Misuse

Any misuse could lead to the revocation of this privilege or other disciplinary actions.

Case Studies

Inmate Experiences

Many inmates have stated that having a TV in their cell made their time in prison more bearable.

Rehabilitation Effects

Studies have shown that access to educational programming can significantly aid in the rehabilitation process.

Public Opinions on TVs in Prison Cells

Supporters’ Views

Supporters argue that TVs in prison cells can be a positive influence, fostering a more peaceful environment.

Critics’ Views

Critics, however, believe that prisons should be places of penance and not comfort.

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In conclusion, yes, you can have a TV in your prison cell in certain jurisdictions. The issue is complex and divisive, striking a chord with people’s varying perceptions of what constitutes just punishment.


  1. Can every inmate have a TV in their cell? Not every inmate can have a TV. It depends on the rules of the facility and the behavior of the inmate.
  2. Who pays for the TVs in prison cells? In many cases, inmates must purchase their own TVs from the prison commissary.
  3. What channels can inmates watch? Inmates typically have access to a limited number of pre-approved channels.
  4. Can TVs be taken away from inmates? Yes, having a TV is a privilege that can be revoked due to misconduct.
  5. Does having a TV in a cell impact an inmate’s rehabilitation? Research suggests that access to educational programming can aid in the rehabilitation process.

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