Dreaming of Prison Dreaming of Being in Prison Meaning of prisons and jail in dreams

What does it mean to dream prison? If you ask who experiences the anguish of this punitive oneiric image often linked to an internal repression or to the guilt not yet elaborated for one’s mistakes. But dreaming of being in prison is also a metaphor for the lack of suffered freedom or ties that oppress like real bars and chains.


Dream prison

Dream prison

Dreaming of prison is linked to limits and deprivation experienced in some context of reality or to emotional imprisonment, to the inability to get out of a frustrating and painful situation in which one feels blocked, victims of others or of themselves.


In fact, prison in dreams is often associated with guilt, with errors committed, with small or great baseness that are judged to be intolerable and worthy of a punishment by internal censorship and by one’s own inner critic.


If in the past dreaming of the prison announced sorrows and illnesses, and was a symbol of misfortune in general, at present it is associated with concerns and objective difficulties.


The symbols to which it is connected and which act as a corollary to the images of the prison are the door (which closes or appears to be on freedom), the door,  the lock and the jailer (tools that allow its punitive, expiatory and cathartic function separating the prisoner from the rest of the world, but also making it more controllable).


Dream prison Freud and Jung

Dream prison Freud and Jung

Prison in dreams for Freud is an unconscious space in which the most secret and reprehensible instincts and thoughts are caged, a space controlled by the Super-Ego , a symbolic representation of the ability to ” enclose” and keep the drives of the id under control.


While for Jung dreaming of prison is tantamount to a closure towards the outside and towards others that can bring to the surface an excessive introversion or inflation of the fantastic world that keeps the dreamer isolated from reality, in a sort of ” inner prison” .


Dreaming of prison Meaning

The most obvious meaning of prison in dreams is related to the deprivation of freedom: freedom of movement, freedom of being and doing that are inhibited. To give meaning to prison dreams, it is important for the dreamer to ask questions about what he is experiencing:

  • In what situation do I feel free?
  • In what situation do I feel “like I was in prison”?
  • Do I feel free to express myself completely?
  • Am I doing and living what I want and what satisfies me?
  • What is the person or situation that I suffer and from which do I condition myself?


Reflecting and answering these questions will lead to identifying the areas of life where one feels limited in one’s freedom and where one suffers from the lack of self-expression.


But dreaming of prison is not always a painful and tormented dream, sometimes imprisonment is accepted or even perceived as protection, as an island or refuge.


Then meanings emerge linked to the desire for intimacy and solitude, to the need to isolate oneself in order to meditate, to take care of oneself or to distance oneself from people or from the duties of everyday life, to escape responsibility or to atone, with the dream prison, one’s own inability to cope with reality.


The meaning of prison in dreams is linked to:

  • isolation
  • retreat
  • introversion
  • depression
  • guilt
  • sense of duty brought to excess
  • sense of responsibility carried to excess
  • punishment
  • injustice
  • antisocial behavior
  • repression
  • afraid of making mistakes
  • conditionings, influences
  • external control
  • oppression
  • addiction
  • duress
  • suffered violence

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