Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls
"Hope you rot, criminal scum."
―Imperial Watchman[src]

Prisons and jails are a big part of The Elder Scrolls games. They have been included in Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. When the player commits crimes they are sent to jail to pay for said crimes.

Prisons in Morrowind[]


Prisons in Oblivion[]

When first starting the game in Oblivion, the Hero is a prisoner in the Imperial Prison, the largest prison in Cyrodiil.

There are prisons in every major city. There one can visit the prison or be sent if they commit a crime. If caught in the wild, the Hero is sent to the nearest prison. When being sent to prison one can keep a lockpick to try and break out of prison. When breaking out of prison, the Hero can find everything they own in a chest nearby. If the Hero does not escape prison, but instead serves their sentence, all stolen items can be found in the same chest. Also, if sentence is served, the Hero's level in some skills, such as Armorer or Marksman may decrease and, at rare times, Security or Sneak will increase.

In a Dark Brotherhood quest the Hero is sent to the Imperial Prison to kill an inmate.

Prisons in Skyrim[]

Main article: Prison (Skyrim)

After committing a crime and being put in jail, the player will be required to sleep to be released but can also choose to escape from the cell.

When put in the jail after committing a crime, the Dragonborn suffers a skill decrease and their progress towards the next skill level in all skills is reset to zero.


  • The prison in Dawnstar has a Lockpicking Skill book, The Wolf Queen, Book I.
  • Never try to escape prison through the front door, even at a high skill level; there is usually a hidden exit. For example, in Dragonsreach there is a grate, and in Solitude there is a crumbling wall.
  • In Whiterun, it is possible to shout through the door while in prison in order to prompt a guard to walk over and tell the Dragonborn to "stop that shouting." If this happens while the Dragonborn is standing in the back of the prison, the guard will open the prison door to get to the Dragonborn.
  • A bug may occur after the first forty hours of playing time on the first character where going to jail will result in the freezing of the game and the player may not be able to pay off their bounty unless they decide to relinquish the coin necessary for the transaction to occur. This may be a problem if the player has a large fine in a hold and may not be able to pay off the bounty. This could also result in the incompletion of quests, if the player happens to have an unpayable bounty in the vicinity of the quest area, that is.
  • If one gets arrested wearing armor, breaks out of prison and doesn't grab the armor they were arrested in, then gets arrested in the same town again wearing different armor, they will have 2 sets of armor equipped when released.