Pruno or Prison Wine: What It Is and How It’s Made

The phrases “pruno” or “prison wine” might have caught your attention before but perhaps left you questioning their meaning. It’s common for people to wonder how inmates confined in solitary cells make alcoholic drinks employing only scant resources available at their disposal. Herein lies an informative article where we will shed light on what actually constitutes pruno and its crafting procedure, along with likely hazards associated with consumption. Primarily linked with prisons’ subculture, it is a prohibited drink whose understanding requires some getting used to, but by reading through till the end, one may gain extensive knowledge on pruno.

What is Pruno?

Prison wine, or “pruno,” is something that few people outside prison walls know about. This illicit drink is made by inmates using whatever ingredients they can scrounge up, from fruit juice to bread crusts. Because it’s forbidden to consume alcohol in jail, making pruno requires some serious creativity and cunning.

Unfortunately, despite all the effort that goes into brewing it, pruno doesn’t taste great. Most describe its flavor as sour or bitter with an unpleasant aftertaste. But even though it doesn’t taste amazing, prisoners still drink it for its ability to intoxicate them – depending on how it’s made, pruno has anywhere from 2% to 14% alcohol content.

Pruno’s past and present

For generations past and present, people have been transforming everyday foods into intoxicating drinks like pruno through fermentation; where or when this tradition started remains unclear. Behind bars, innovation runs rampant as inmates seek entertainment and survival tactics while hustling amongst themselves. Pruno represents one such instance within prison culture, exemplifying adaptive creativity that extends beyond the cell walls.

How is Pruno Made?


Now that you know what pruno is, let’s delve into how it is made. You should be aware that making pruno at home is not recommended, as it can be dangerous and potentially harmful to your health. This information is provided for educational purposes only.


The ingredients used to make pruno are usually those that can be easily obtained within a prison environment. Common ingredients include:

  •         Fruit: Fresh or canned fruit, such as oranges, apples, or fruit cocktails, provide the sugar needed for fermentation.
  •         Sugar: Additional sugar, such as white or brown sugar, can be added to increase the alcohol content.
  •         Water: A crucial element for fermentation, water is mixed with the fruit and sugar.
  •         Yeast: While commercial yeast is ideal for fermentation, it is often unavailable in prisons. Inmates may use alternatives like bread, which contains natural yeast.
  •         Flavorings (optional): Inmates might add flavorings like ketchup, syrup, or juice to mask the unpleasant taste of pruno.

Steps to Make Pruno

Interested in trying a homemade alcoholic drink that’s been circulating in prisons? Follow these steps on how to make your own pruno:

  1. Fruit Preparation: If fresh fruit is available, wash them thoroughly and then peel and chop them into small bits but remove any seeds or pits first. For canned fruits, make sure to drain the liquid out and keep it for later use.
  2. All in One Mixing: Combine all ingredients which include fruit, sugar, water and crumbled bread (if there’s some around) in an enclosed container such as a plastic bag or jar.
  3. Fermenting Time: Before sealing up the container, leave some space for air, then put it in a warm dark area, like under the bed. You’ll wait between 5-10 days for the fermentation process to complete.
  4. Removing Debris: After waiting patiently, strain out any flesh from solids with the help of a regular cloth filter of your choice.
  5. Customization (Optional): It’s possible at this stage to enhance flavorings such as ketchup, syrup, or juice according to preference.
  6. Consume or Store It Somewhere Safe: Pruno should either be enjoyed straightaway after the filtering process; otherwise, consider storing it in a cool spot away from sunlight. If you’re thinking about keeping pruno around, you should be aware that this could actually make it more likely to spoil or become contaminated.

Risks and Dangers of Pruno

Prisoners often turn towards creative methods of brewing alcohol when denied access to traditional means – leading us to pruno: a homemade alcoholic drink made under questionable circumstances. Pruno remains a popular choice among inmates for its affordability and accessibility despite the dangers that come with consuming this homemade brew. The unregulated brewing process puts drinkers at risk of contracting deadly bacteria like Clostridium botulinum – an alarming prospect for those behind bars. Furthermore, the lack of proper equipment and expertise means that methanol may be produced during fermentation – a toxic compound capable of causing permanent damage.

The problem with this method is multifaceted: not only does production still occur under incredibly unsanitary circumstances leading to bacterial contamination cases but non-food grade equipment introduces dangerous elements into what prisoners consume as alcohol. Moreover, ignoring rules against making and consuming this liquor could result in added disciplinary actions or extensions on one’s jail time.

Pruno Consumption: A Game with Fate

One major issue with drinking pruno stems from the wide-ranging levels of alcohol concentration found in this popular bootleg drink.

Not knowing how much you’re consuming can lead to serious health problems like intoxication and other potential risks that one might not anticipate when taking that first sip. However, these dangers pale in comparison to the unknown consequences associated with pruno’s manufacturing process, which can cause anything from minor headaches to life-threatening afflictions such as hallucinations or organ failure.


Prisoners refer to their homemade liquor as “pruno,” which they craft from commonly available resources within their detention centers. As much as its preparation might pique one’s interest, delving into the hazards associated with consuming this banned alcohol should be a priority. It bears reminding that all data shared here serve an instructive purpose only; we urge readers not to attempt producing or sampling their version of pruno since doing so could pose serious implications on both their health and legal record.

It’s critical that we address the widespread issue of Pruno consumption within our prison walls. This harmful drink exacerbates already tense situations by acting as a catalyst for violent behavior among inmates who consume it regularly. As law-abiding citizens who care about public safety, we must work towards two goals: stopping illegal means of production altogether while educating those within our criminal justice system on how dangerous this substance truly is; there are no benefits whatsoever from consuming such unpredictable poison as Pruno – only harm and risks for all involved.

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