Living conditions

The law establishes a minimum standard for living space per prisoner


The size of the prison cells and their furnishings conform to the European Prison Rules, which recommend - without providing figures - that cells satisfy the minimum standards of human dignity1.

  1. European Prisons Observatory, “Prison conditions in Portugal”, 2013, p. 10. 

Prisoners are accommodated in single cells


Prisoners are held in individual cells. In exceptional circumstances, several prisoners can be confined to a single cell in the following cases :

  • to meet the needs of families (a father/mother and child)
  • to prevent physical or mental risks
  • where there is insufficient room in the facility (article 34 of the Prison Regulations)

Prisoners sleep on

a bed

All the prisoners are provided with bedding


Cells are equipped with a mattress, a bed, bedding, a chair and a cupboard.

Cells are equipped with a window that can be opened.

The cells/dormitories are provided with electric lighting


The cells/dormitories are equipped with heating and/or air conditioning


Prisoners can equip their cells with an electrical heater or air conditioner at their own expense.

Prisoners can smoke

  • in their cell
  • in communal areas

Tobacco consumption is a criterion for prisoners’ cell assignment (section 18 of the Regulations).

Prisoners have access to water

in their cell/dormitory

Showers are located in the cells/dormitories


The prisoner is allowed one shower per day. The water must be hot.

Types of sanitary facilities

regular toilets

The regulations provide for a toilet or its equivalent in each cell (article 34 of the Regulations). The premises where prisoners stay are equipped with toilets.

The prison service provides personal hygiene products free of charge

for new arrivals and for indigent prisoners

Prisoners can purchase personal hygiene products.

The prison service provides cleaning products free of charge


Beddings are refreshed

yes, every week

Prisoners are responsible for the cleaning of their bedding

Waste collection takes place once a day.

Drinking water is free and available in all areas of the facilities


Number of meals per day


An extra snack is served at teatime.

Daily cost of meals per prisoner


Contractors are awarded 3,20€ per day and per person to satisfy dietary needs.

Food services are managed by

private food services

The prison service provides food that respects special dietary needs


Specific diets are available for medical reasons and, “where possible”, for religious or philosophical reasons (article 45 of the Regulations).

Prisoners eat their meals in

in the refectory

In the absence of a dining hall, the governor of the facility determines where meals are to be eaten.
Prisoners placed in a disciplinary cell eat their meals in the cell.

Prisoners can buy food products


Each facility has a canteen service where prisoners can buy food and non-food products. The DGRSP determines which products are made available to the prisoners.

The cost of the products is deducted from the prisoner’s personal account. The DGRSP determines the maximum amount of purchases (article 50 of the Regulations). Automatic vending machines give access to coffee, water, soft drinks, baked goods, and tobacco (article 51 of the Regulations).

Prisoners can have access to a refrigerator


Prisoners are allowed to cook in their cells or in a shared space

in some establishments

Prisoners in the open regime are allowed to cook in dedicated premises.

Prisoners are allowed to receive food parcels


Visitors are allowed to bring one food package every week weighing a maximum of 1kg. On the occasion of a birthday, they can bring a pre-sliced cake weighing a maximum of 2 kg. Beverages are forbidden (article 48 of the Regulations).