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March 6, 2024  |  Posted by jesse  |  Crime

Whether you are waiting for your bail bond to be processed or serving your time, finding things to do in jail to pass the time is crucial. After all, various studies have found that prison-based boredom and frustration can trigger a range of mental health struggles. 

With that in mind, here are ten fun activities to make jail time fly by!

10 Creative Ways To Pass Time In Jail.

While it may not seem that way, there are plenty of entertaining things to do in jail to make time pass faster while also protecting your best interests. For example, you could: 

  1. Take up reading.
  2. Consider academic pursuits.
  3. Exercise regularly.
  4. Practice mindfulness. 
  5. Pick up a pen.
  6. Play games.
  7. Participate in group activities.
  8. Watch Films/TV.
  9. Learn a new language. 
  10. Draw or sketch.

Take Up Reading.

Reading is one of the most popular methods of passing time in jail. 

Whether you swap books with other inmates or browse the selection available at the library, you are sure to find a book (or books) that you love. One of the major benefits of reading while in jail is that it provides you with a sense of escapism by tapping into your creativity and imagination.

Beyond this, reading daily, even for as little as ten minutes, can also help improve your literacy skills. This is particularly important when you consider the fact that “over 70% of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth-grade level.”

Consider academic pursuits.

If you are wondering how to pass time in jail but want to do so strategically, then you may want to look into which academic pursuits are available at your facility. 

This way, when you are released, you have new qualifications or skills under your belt, which can make it easier to find employment. For example, consider taking your GED or High School Diploma or a more advanced educational program. 

Exercise regularly.

Exercising is one of the most productive ways to pass time in the county jail. Not only can this ensure that you stay in good shape, but it can also go a long way toward bettering your mental health. For example, a recent study found that “physical activity in prison leads to reduced despair among inmates, becoming a coping strategy to deal with incarceration and decrease levels of anxiety and depression.” 

Group activities, such as team-based sports, can also help you form stronger connections with those around you so that you can become part of a community during your time in jail. This, too, can better your mental health by preventing social isolation. 

Practice mindfulness. 

When learning how to make jail time go by faster, you may be surprised to hear that mindfulness activities, such as meditation, are beneficial. While they are not necessarily time-consuming in the way other hobbies may be, they can help reframe negative thinking, ensuring that you adopt a more positive mindset. This can change your perspective on the situation you find yourself in so that you feel more open to trying new things instead of sitting in your room 24/7. 

One study also found that mindfulness can have positive effects on “stress responsivity, coping style, impulse control, aggression, and self-esteem.” 

Religious inmates may find similar benefits through re-engaging with their faith, whether they attend bible study and Church or start praying more often.

Pick up a pen.

If you are wondering what to do in jail but have limited access to resources, you may want to consider picking up a pen and writing. While writing letters is a great way to stay connected to your friends and family, it can also serve as an excellent emotional outlet. For exmaple, journaling or keeping a diary can help you to properly process any negative emotions you may be dealing with.

You also may want to use this as an opportunity to explore more creative pursuits by writing your own books, stories, plays and more. While this may seem surprising, a wide range of best-selling and “classic” books were penned behind bars, including Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom.” 

Play games.

If you are concerned about how to pass time in county jail, playing games is a great way to keep boredom at pay. For example, you can play hundreds of games with a single pack of cards, both single and multiplayer. However, you’ll also likely have access to a range of tabletop games, such as chess. 

Playing games is not only an effective way to spend your time, but it could also help you to sharpen your cognitive reasoning skills, or once again strengthen your relationship with other inmates. It can also allow you to tap into your more competitive nature without going overboard – remember, it’s just a game! 

Participate in group activities.

Spending the majority of your time alone is not one of the more effective ways to make your time in jail feel shorter. In fact, social isolation can actually make you feel as though you’ve been there far longer than you actually have, making it easy to lose hope. As a result, you should make an effort to participate in the group activities run within the jail. 

While the activities on offer can vary from location to location, you’ll likely have a wide range of options to choose from. While you may be keen to return to an activity you’ve done a million times before, don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, too. 

For example, theatre, acting and performance are some of the most engaging hobbies to help you pass the time in jail, but they are not designed solely for those who would consider themselves performers to begin with. First-time performers can engage in these activities as a way to meet new people or develop their self-esteem and confidence, as evidenced by various studies. 

If you feel there’s a demand for a specific club within your prison, speak to guards or wardens to see if they are willing to implement this. After all, the majority of clubs are inmate-led, and facilitating this could be another great way to spend your time in jail.

Watch Films/TV.

While some of those who are incarcerated will have access to personal TVs, the majority will watch films and TV in communal spaces. As many people enjoy watching TV and films in their “regular life,” sitting down to enjoy a new film or TV show is one of the more effective strategies for making the most of your time in jail. Again, this can become something of a social activity, especially when you are introducing others to some of your favorite films or TV shows or discussing them after watching them! 

If you are particularly interested in film or TV criticism, you may want to set up a group based around this with other inmates so that you can have even more discussions about all things film! 

Learn a new language. 

If you are searching “how to make time in jail go faster” ahead of sentencing, but are yet to find a hobby or suggestion that you’d find interesting, why not keep an eye out for something more challenging? 

For example, you could set yourself the goal of learning a new language while serving your time. Typically, it takes around 480 hours of consistent practice to become fluent or proficient in a new language – but any degree of competency is impressive. Furthermore, you could develop your skills at a quicker rate by studying with, or practising, with native speakers. 

Draw or sketch.

Drawing, sketching, and other artistic hobbies can also prove to be great ways to pass time while incarcerated. This is because they can help with self-expression, meaning that complex feelings and emotions are no longer withheld but expressed clearly through the art you create. Again, this can be an excellent way to develop new skills, and you may even be able to sell your art once you are free. 

Tips for Making Time in Jail Go Faster

If you are awaiting sentencing, the length of your potential sentence may feel incredibly daunting. However, it is crucial that you do not lose hope. Have faith in your legal team, and their ability to represent you – but also know that there are things you can do to make time pass quicker. 

For example, this includes picking up a hobby, whether that be painting and drawing or simply ensuring that you socialize with others as much as you can. While it can be hard to remain motivated in this kind of scenario, the busier you are, the easier things will feel. This is because you’ll feel as though you are part of a community and will begin to add structure to your day. 

Remember, you can and will get through this. Keep your head up high!