What is Prison Hooch and How do Inmates Make it?
What is Prison Hooch and How do Inmates Make it?

What is Prison Hooch and How do Inmates Make it?


Prison hooch, also known as “pruno,” is a term used to describe an alcoholic beverage that is made by inmates in correctional facilities. It is a concoction typically brewed using simple ingredients that are readily available within the prison environment. This article aims to provide an in-depth understanding of what prison hooch is, how inmates make it, and the various aspects associated with its production.

The Origins of Prison Hooch

A Brief History

The origins of prison hooch can be traced back to the early days of incarceration. Inmates, who had limited access to alcohol, resorted to creating their own brews using whatever ingredients they could acquire. The practice has since evolved and adapted to the different environments and restrictions of various correctional facilities.

A Thriving Underground Economy

In prison, where many activities are strictly regulated or prohibited, the creation and distribution of prison hooch have become a part of the underground economy. Inmates often trade or sell their homemade alcohol, providing a means of escape and temporary relief from the hardships of prison life.

How is Prison Hooch Made?

Ingredients Used in Prison Hooch

Inmates use a variety of ingredients to make prison hooch, utilizing what is available to them within the prison walls. Some common ingredients include:

  1. Fruit: Often scavenged or smuggled from the prison kitchen, fruits such as apples, oranges, or raisins are used as a source of sugars necessary for fermentation.
  2. Bread: Leftover or stale bread is another common ingredient used to provide additional sugars and nutrients.
  3. Sugar: Inmates may obtain sugar from the prison commissary or through illicit means. It serves as a primary source of fermentable sugars.
  4. Water: Accessible water sources within the prison facility are used to dilute the mixture and aid in the fermentation process.
  5. Yeast: Inmates often use bread or even bits of moldy fruit to introduce wild yeast into the mixture, initiating the fermentation process.

The Brewing Process

The brewing process of prison hooch is relatively simple, yet it requires patience and careful execution. Here is a step-by-step guide to how inmates typically make prison hooch:

  1. Acquire the necessary ingredients: Inmates gather fruits, bread, sugar, water, and yeast to begin the brewing process.
  2. Mash the fruits: Inmates crush the fruits to extract their juices, which will serve as the primary source of sugars for fermentation.
  3. Mix the ingredients: The mashed fruit is combined with water, bread, and sugar in a container, such as a plastic bag or a makeshift fermenting vessel.
  4. Add yeast: Inmates introduce yeast into the mixture, either by crumbling bread or adding bits of moldy fruit. The yeast initiates fermentation by converting the sugars into alcohol.
  5. Fermentation: The mixture is sealed and left to ferment in a warm and dark place for several days or weeks, allowing the yeast to consume the sugars and produce alcohol.
  6. Straining and bottling: Once the fermentation process is complete, inmates strain the liquid to remove any solids and transfer the homemade alcohol into bottles or containers for consumption or trade.

Risks and Consequences

While prison hooch may serve as a temporary escape for inmates, it poses several risks and consequences. The production and consumption of homemade alcohol are often prohibited in correctional facilities, leading to disciplinary actions or extended sentences if caught. Additionally, the unsanitary conditions and lack of proper equipment during brewing can result in contamination, leading to health risks for those who consume the hooch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is prison hooch legal?

A: No, the production and consumption of prison hooch are strictly prohibited in correctional facilities.

Q: Can inmates get caught making or drinking prison hooch?

A: Yes, if inmates are caught making or consuming prison hooch, they can face disciplinary actions, such as loss of privileges or extended sentences.

Q: Is prison hooch safe to drink?

A: No, prison hooch is often made under unsanitary conditions, which can lead to contamination and health risks for those who consume it.

Q: Can prison hooch be addictive?

A: Yes, prison hooch, like any alcoholic beverage, can be addictive and lead to alcohol-related issues.

Q: Are there alternatives to prison hooch for inmates?

A: In some correctional facilities, inmates may have access to non-alcoholic alternatives, such as flavored drink mixes or herbal teas.

Q: How do correctional facilities prevent the production of prison hooch?

A: Correctional facilities employ various measures to prevent the production of prison hooch, including regular inspections, monitoring of inmate activities, and restricting access to potential ingredients.


Prison hooch, also known as pruno, is a homemade alcoholic beverage created by inmates within correctional facilities. While the brewing process is relatively simple, it carries significant risks and consequences for those involved. The production and consumption of prison hooch are strictly prohibited, and inmates face disciplinary actions if caught. Understanding the origins and process behind prison hooch provides valuable insights into the underground economy and the ingenuity of inmates in challenging circumstances.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *