Nursing homes, boarding schools and prisons are all examples of total institutions. Each of these examples involves a group engaging in most or all life activities in the same insular location, governed by the same authority.
Total institutions are abnormal in the sense that their inhabitants eat, work, sleep, socialize and relax in the same place. A nursing home houses many people in a similar social group under the authority of the care workers. A prison houses inmates who work and live together at all times, governed by a common authority. Boarding schools are also total institutions, even though students may return home for a time. Each institution exerts a comprehensive influence on the people within.