Prisoners are given the opportunity (within the operational context) to positively and constructively use time for educational, leisure, sport, recreation, cultural and spiritual activities when they have no other activities planned relating to their sentence.

Prisoners are encouraged to participate in education, especially when their lack of education was a factor related to their offending. This is at their own cost if it is through an external provider.

Contracted sentence plan programmes, including work, take precedence over non-sentence plan activities. Activities that contribute to reducing re-offending take priority over hobbies.

Designated prison staff are responsible for the development and co-ordination of leisure, sport and recreation activities.


Some low security units allow hobby items, but not all. To be able to engage in hobbies a prisoner may need permission from their prison manager (subject to the proposed activity). Permission is dependent on several factors such as security classification and the prison’s location.

If allowed, some popular hobbies in prison are:

  • wood-carving
  • bone-carving
  • art

Prisoners may also need to seek permission from their prison manager if they require specialist tools (for example a drill or chisel).

Other hobbies may be allowed on a case-by-case basis.


People in prison cannot watch entertainment videos or DVDs unless it is part of a programme they are attending.