Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

The Riften Jail serves as Riften's prison, found to the right of Mistveil Keep. It serves as the prison for those who have committed crime inside the Rift Hold.



Upon entering, the Riften Jail Guard sitting near the front will tell the Dragonborn that only those with official business may enter the jail. There will be three dialogue options: persuasion, bribery, or apologizing and leaving. Once the Dragonborn has succeeded in persuasion or bribery, the door will unlock, and the guard will allow them to enter. Picking the lock will give the Dragonborn a bounty of 5 Gold, and the guard will attempt an arrest. You can pick the guard's pocket to find the key and enter freely. 



In the cell the Dragonborn gets locked into if arrested, there is a symbol that is a circle with a line going down the middle and a triangle at the bottom, the Shadowmark for escape. To the left of this is an interaction that says "Activate, Broken Shackle." Activating it will cause the guards in the prison to attack.

Backtracking through the drainage sluice near the docks reveals the shackle was intended to break the wall leading to the escape tunnel, but this is non-functional and will only alert the guards. It is not possible to physically or magically break the wall either.




  • With the lockpicking perk "Quick Hands," almost every cell can be opened without the guards attacking. It will then be possible to sleep in the cells, as well as take any items from the cells. It is impossible to open the cells of Sibbi Black-Briar or Threki the Innocent, even with a key.


This section contains bugs related to Riften Jail. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  PC   360   PS3   For an unknown reason (possibly from killing the guards who patrol the jail), the Riften Jail will bug and entering it will cause the game to freeze, every time. A known cure for this bug is to be arrested in Riften, which respawns the guards and allows entering Riften Jail in the future without problems.
  • The guards may arrest the Dragonborn even if they unlock an empty cell.
  • Using a damaging shout or Unrelenting Force on the jailer may cause a red dot to appear on the compass as if there was an enemy in the southwest.
  •  360   If Dragonborn goes to jail with the Ebony Blade equipped, then it will remain equipped, even when in the jail cell.
  •  PC   360   PS3   The Shadowmark escape route won't work.
  • After being jailed in Riften, stackable items such as arrows may be duplicated. Some of these must be stolen, though. After serving time in jail, go back to Riften Jail and look in the Evidence chest. The items that were stolen should be duplicated there.
  • If the Dragonborn escapes the cell, guards begin to use the Dragonborn's own weapons against them.
  • If an escape is made using the wooden plate against the wall, they will be unable to retrieve their equipment through the escape route. They will be by the chest holding their belongings, but be unable to interact with it.
  • If a guard is killed inside of the Dragonborn's cell, the guard may be revived and standing in the cell with them the next time they are imprisoned. This becomes a problem, because the guard will attempt to leave the cell, but become aggressive after opening to door.
  •  PC   360   PS4   If entered through the sewers, access to inside the jail through an invisible wall is possible, but exiting the same way is impossible because the wall appears where it belongs.