The Yard is an outdoor space that allows prisoners to go outside, exercise and socialize. It also fulfills a prisoners 'freedom' need. While you can set dedicated Yard time in the regime, it's advised not to since prisoners will go to the yard if they need to during free time, whereas during Yard time, every prisoner will go to the yard, even if they would be better off going to the showers or the bathroom. Forcing prisoners to go to the yard when they need to go somewhere else can cause a fight or, in severe cases, a riot to break out. For this reason, and also because the prisoners will be packed together, this is one of the most common areas for riots to occur, along with the Shower and Canteen.
Prisoners may use the Weights Bench to fulfill the Exercise need. So long as the yard is inside a perimeter fence with a gate, it will be considered secure. They may also go jogging (they are more likely to do this if there is a path, preferably of paving stone, stone, or paving tiles, in the Yard.
It is also useful to build an 'unroomed' shower and toilet block for prisoners to use, this reduces their need to riot by giving them some extra shower and toilet time.
- Minimum Size 5x5
- Secure [behind at least one door]
- if you have a yard space but leave its gate unlocked; then you will need an outer wall around your prison before it is considered an enclosed space.
- The outer wall (with a locked door) is enough that you can place the yard anywhere inside without its own wall. However, it's safer to have a walled yard with its own gate (so that you can close it off in the event of lockdown to stop a riot from spreading)
- If no amenities are placed, prisoners can still reduce their exercise need by running around the yard.
- Yards are the first rooms that can be controlled if Gangs are enabled. This can be viewed by the Information > Gangs overview. Gangs are protective of territory they have claimed and will start fights there more often.