An open prison (open jail) is any jail in which the prisoners are trusted to complete sentences with minimal supervision and perimeter security and are often not locked up in their prison cells. Prisoners may be permitted to take up employment while serving their sentence.

HM Prison Hatfield, South Yorkshire, an open prison in England, UK.

In the UK, open prisons are often part of a rehabilitation plan for prisoners moved from closed prisons.[1] They may be designated "training prisons" and are only for prisoners considered a low risk to the public.

The idea of an open prison is often criticised by members of the public and politicians.[2] Prisoners in open jails do not have complete freedom and are only allowed to leave the premises for specific purposes, such as going to an outside job.[3] In Ireland, there has been controversy about the level of escape from open prisons, attributed to the use of the prison by the Irish Prison Service to transfer prisoners unsuitable for open conditions but to reduce overcrowding in the closed prisons. The idea of open prisons is to rehabilitate prisoners rather than to punish them.[4]

Examples of open prisonsEdit


Open prisons in the United KingdomEdit

England (men's)
England (women's)

Offener Vollzug in GermanyEdit

In Germany the "Offener Vollzug" is part of the rehabilitation process for about 16% of prisoners.[5]

In fictionEdit

Trumble, a fictional open prison in Florida, is the major setting for John Grisham's novel The Brethren.

See alsoEdit