"Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity."
- President John F. Kennedy
Each prison has facilities, equipment and offers support for a number of activities that helps improve the well-being of inmates. While the institutions may vary on the types of facilities and programs offered, there is not a shortage of ways to stay busy in prison.
You will find that inmate engagement in activities is what leads to more production programs. Whether starting and organizing intramural sports, setting up card games or music classes, all of these are initiated and run by inmates. If you cannot find the program that you want to participate in, then you can probably start something.
Activities for inmates are an important part of prison life. First, for the BOP it provides a way to keep inmates active while requiring little supervision. For inmates, activities not only help pass the time but also help improve their lives beyond prison. Opportunities exist to improve ones health, spirituality and intellect, even in this limited environment.
In beginning this section, we wanted to start off by telling you one activity that you cannot do from prison, and that is to conduct any sort of business. No consulting, no professional writing (getting paid for a blog), no giving advice or direction for the small business you may have left behind. Any business correspondence (email or U.S. Mail) is strictly forbidden and will be intercepted when staff sorts through the mail. In cases where small business owners are incarcerated, this can be difficult. Managing business while you are incarcerated is something you should designate prior to entering prison.
With that said, inmates who had a small business are often partners or good friends with the those who continue to operate the business. Those business partners may also be able to visit and obvious discussions of “How is business going?” will come up. Be discreet, do not hold a board meeting and avoid the emotional outbursts that can come with discussing business. Again, these activities are monitored during visitation.
Now on to things you can do in prison that you may not have thought about. Yes, you can get married in federal prison. The Warden would have to approve it and there will be no honeymoon, but inmates can get married while incarcerated. You are also allowed to write a book, any book on any topic. An inmate can prepare a manuscript for private use or for publication while in custody without staff approval. The only real requirement is that you have to do your writing on your own time, and there is plenty of that.
The BOP is well aware that offering activities not only has the benefit of helping inmates improve their lives, but it is also in their interest to keep inmates engaged is constructive activities. We are sure that you will find something constructive to do that will offer more than just passing time.