Although privileges in prison depend on the specific prison system, the level of security and the policies of any specific prison, typical prison privileges include access to television and visits and phone calls with family members. Other privileges in prison include access to recreational facilities and the authority to wear personal or prison-issued clothing that is more comfortable than a basic prison uniform.
Some prison privileges help prison guards keep order among the prisoners. For example, television is a common privilege in prison because it keeps prisoners quiet and contained. Allowing prisoners to wear their own pieces of clothing often makes prisoners more industrious and more interested in taking care of their clothes.
Additional privileges in prison include access to cash to buy personal items. Some prisons allow telephone calls but limit the number of people that a prison calls during a prescribed period of time. Prison recreational facilities may include basketball, weightlifting and jogging facilities.
Prisoners in low and medium-security prisons enjoy the privileges of keeping personal items in lockers and sleeping in dormitory-style accommodations. They enjoy access to communal showers and sinks. Guards may allow prisoners off-site to work on cleanup crews or other community improvement projects.
Even in extremely secure prison facilities, privileges still exist as a behavior-control mechanism. In a high-security prison, a prisoner might earn the right to walk to take a shower without handcuffs. Prisoners may earn the privilege to reading material or to a cell with a window. In extreme cases, prisoners in extremely secure facilities might earn the right to a brief period of time outside of the prison cell.