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I've gone through several iterations of prison design so far, and it seems the only need that ever gets satisfied in the Yard is Exercise. Can that need be fulfilled with the use of a weight bench or others objects, without having to send the prisoners outside? If I could get rid of my yard, without the prisoners suffering, I'd rather do that, which would save me some logistical headaches. If not, it's not a huge deal, but I'd like to get a little more creative with how I lay things out.

Speaking of weight benches, I've never actually seen an inmate use one directly, which I would assume looks like them standing over it. I have several in my existing yard, but they seem largely ignored. Any idea why this would be? Or is it that their presence is enough to fulfill the need?

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    You are one harsh warden... – Aventinus Feb 12 '16 at 18:38
  • @Aventinus budget cuts are hard to deal with, something has to go – Dragonrage Feb 12 '16 at 18:44
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    @Aventinus I've tried the nice route, and got taken advantage of. Now it's time for the iron rule! :) – Tim S. Feb 12 '16 at 20:11
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You don't need a yard once you have the grants that require one, but it's useful. You'll also need to find other ways to fulfil the exercise and recreational needs.

The exercise bench (as well as the phone box and recreational items) can be used in common rooms or cells/dormitories. Not all prisoners have the exercise need but those that do will need access to a bench to satisfy it.

What the yard does do is allow you to send your prisoners to a common recreational area. Unlike free time, this doesn't have a negative effect on their Punishment score and lets you control where they go.

If you'd rather just make recreation available and give your prisoners free time, do that instead. There is no penalty for never going outside.

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    As you say, it can be useful to use the yard as a way of collecting together prisoners. I generally put the yard outside the canteen and schedule yard time before eating, then all the prisoners are outside the canteen when it's time to eat. I find more of them get fed in a shorter time using this method. – Tony Feb 13 '16 at 18:45

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