Confused by the Monopoly jail rules?
Even if you’re on your best behavior, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid ending up in Jail during your Monopoly games.
So – what happens when you end up behind bars? In this post, I’m going to explain all the important rules and answer pretty much any question that you might have about Jail in Monopoly.
Here’s everything that you’ll find in this post:
- How you can end up in Monopoly Jail
- What you can and cannot do while in Jail
- How to get out of Jail in Monopoly
- Monopoly Jail FAQs
- House rules for Jail that you can try to spice up your game
How Do You End Up In Monopoly Jail?
There are three main ways that you can end up in Monopoly Jail:
- You land on the “Go to Jail” space
- You roll doubles three times in a row
- You draw a Community Chest or Chance card that sends you to Jail
1. You Land on the “Go to Jail” Space
If you land on the dedicated Go to Jail space, you go straight to Jail.
Note – you do not go to Jail just for landing on the Jail space. In this situation, you’re considered “just visiting”. You only go to Jail if you land on the space that says “Go to Jail”, which is next to the yellow properties in the classic game – Marvin Gardens, specifically (for the original version).
2. You Roll Doubles Three Times in a Row
Rolling doubles in Monopoly is nice because it gives you a chance to roll again. However, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing because you have to go to Jail if you roll doubles three times in a row within the same turn.
3. You Draw a Community Chest or Chance Card That Sends You to Jail
If you land on Community Chest or Chance, you might draw a card that tells you to go to Jail, in which case you need to move your token straight to Jail.
What Can You Do in Monopoly Jail? A Quick Summary
When you’re in Monopoly Jail, there are some things you can do like normal…and there are some things you can’t do.
Here’s a summary of what you can and cannot do while in Monopoly Jail – I’ll explain some of these concepts in more detail further down the post.
What You Can Still Do While In Monopoly Jail
- You can still collect rent when other players land on a property that you own.
- You can still buy houses and hotels (as long as you have enough money).
- You can sell houses and hotels to raise money.
- You can still mortgage properties to raise money.
- You can still roll the dice and try to get out of Jail by rolling doubles (you only get three tries, though – more on this below).
- You can participate in auctions to buy other properties (assuming a player landed on a property and declined to purchase it).
- You can pay $50 to get out of Jail immediately.
- You can trade with other Monopoly players, including buying a Get Out of Jail Free card from another player.
What You Cannot Do While In Monopoly Jail
- You cannot move your token when rolling the dice (unless you roll doubles).
- You cannot collect money while passing Go.
How to Get Out of Jail in Monopoly – 3 Ways
Now, let’s get into one of the most important topics – how to get out of Jail in Monopoly.
There are three ways to get out of Jail in Monopoly:
- Use a “Get Out of Jail Free” card from Chance or Community Chest
- Roll doubles
- Pay a $50 fine to the bank
Let’s go through the different methods…
1. Use a “Get Out Of Jail Free” Card
First off, you can use one of the two “Get Out of Jail Free” Monopoly cards, AKA the “my daddy is rich/well-connected” cards.
There’s one card in Chance and one card in Community Chest.
If you have it, you can play it at the beginning of your turn and then roll as normal. After playing the card, you put it at the bottom of the stack of Chance and Community Chest cards.
Alternatively, you can also purchase the card from another player if they have it in their possession.
However, you should never pay more than $50 for the card because you always have the option of just paying $50 to get out of Jail. Speaking off…
2. Pay a $50 Fine to Get Out Of Jail
If you don’t have a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card but you still want to get out of Jail right away, you can also just pay a $50 fee to get out of Jail right away.
You can pay the fee at the beginning of your turn (before rolling). After paying the $50, you’re then able to roll the dice and move your game piece, just as if you were never in Jail.
However, note that you can only pay money after you’re already in Jail. For example:
- Your turn – You go to Jail (you cannot pay yet)
- Wait for everyone else to complete their turns
- On your first turn after landing in Jail, you can pay the $50 and roll again.
3. Roll Doubles to Get Out Of Jail
If you’re willing to roll the dice (quite literally!), you can also try to get out of Monopoly Jail by rolling doubles.
When it’s your normal turn, you can roll the dice just like you normally would. If you do not roll doubles, your turn is over and the dice pass to the next person.
If you do manage to roll doubles, you get out of Monopoly Jail. You also get to move the number of spaces shown on the dice, just like you normally would.
However, unlike rolling doubles when starting outside of Jail, you do not get to roll again. You do get to move your token the number shown on the dice – you just don’t get another chance to roll the dice.
There’s one caveat with rolling doubles to get out of Monopoly Jail:
You can only try to roll doubles three times (three turns). If you don’t manage to roll a set of doubles in those three tries, you’re forced to pay the $50 fine on the third roll (or use a Get Out of Jail Free card if you have one).
You can then move your piece the number of spaces shown by your roll (the role that you unsuccessfully tried to get doubles with).
If you don’t have the money (and you’re unable to mortgage properties or sell houses/hotels to raise the money), you’re officially bankrupt and lose the game.
Overall, the probability of rolling doubles is just 1 out of 6 (~18%), so you run a high risk of staying in Jail if you use this approach. But if you’re broke (or you just don’t mind spending some time in Jail), it can be worth a try.
Monopoly Jail Rules FAQs
At this point, I’ve covered all the important Jail rules in Monopoly.
Now, let’s go rapid-fire through some FAQs you might have, just to recap and reinforce what you’ve learned.
How much do you pay to get out of Jail in Monopoly?
In the classic game of Monopoly, you pay $50 to get out of Jail. After paying the fee, you get out of Jail immediately and you can still move your piece the number of spaces shown by your dice roll.
Do you collect rent while in Monopoly Jail?
You can collect rent money while you’re in Jail, but you cannot collect money from passing Go. Even if you’re in Jail, you still get the full value of your property’s rents if another player lands on a property that you own.
Do you collect money from passing go if you go to jail?
You do not get to collect money from Passing Go if you’re moving your token to Jail. You don’t collect any money – you just go straight to Jail.
Can you mortgage properties while in Monopoly Jail?
You can still mortgage properties even if you’re in Monopoly Jail. In fact, there might be times when you need to mortgage a property to raise enough money to pay the $50 fee to get out of Jail.
Can you trade with other players while in Monopoly Jail?
You’re free to trade with other players in the game as much as you want. You can buy and sell properties, and you can also buy and sell other cards (such as paying for another player’s Get Out of Jail Free card).
Can you buy houses while in Monopoly Jail?
You can still buy houses and hotels like you normally would, even when you’re in Jail. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you still have enough money to pay the $50 fine to get out of Jail.
Can you sell houses while in Monopoly Jail?
You’re free to sell houses even when you’re stuck in Monopoly Jail. If you’re short on cash, this can be a helpful way to raise the money that you need to pay the $50 Jail fine.
How long can you stay in Jail in Monopoly?
You can only stay in Jail for a maximum of three turns. If you don’t roll doubles by your third roll, you must pay the $50 fine immediately. After paying the fine, you then move your piece the number of spaces shown by that roll.
If you don’t have enough money to pay the $50 fine by the third turn, you’re bankrupt and you lose the game.
Can more than one person be in Jail in Monopoly?
There’s no limit on the number of players that can be in Jail during a game of Monopoly, so it’s totally possible to have two or more people in Jail at the same time.
In fact, it’s technically possible (albeit unlikely) for every single player to be in Jail at the same time.
Can you go to Jail on the first round of Monopoly?
You can go to Jail during any round of Monopoly – even the first one. If you’re unlucky enough to meet one of the Jail criteria in the first round of the game, you still need to go to Jail.
House Jail Monopoly Rules
Everything that you read above applies to the official Jail Monopoly rules. However, some players like to adapt house rules for Jail.
By “house rules”, I mean that these are unofficial rule changes applied to the Monopoly game to make it more fun/interesting.
While you’re free to make up your own rules (that’s the point of house rules!), here are some of the more popular house adjustments to the Jail rules in Monopoly.
Limit the Number of Times You Can Try for Doubles
If you want to shorten your Monopoly games, one useful house rule is to limit the number of times a person can try to roll doubles while in Jail.
While the official Monopoly Jail rules give you three attempts, you can limit this to one or two attempts to shorten the game.
If you go with one attempt, the player only gets one chance to roll doubles. If they don’t roll doubles (which will happen most of the time), they must pay the $50 fine right away.
Change the Price to Get Out of Jail
If you want to make the penalty for landing in Jail higher or lower, you can play around with changing the price to get out of Jail.
With the official rules, you need to pay $50 to get out of Jail, as I detailed above. However, there’s nothing saying you can’t make a house rule to lower that to $25 or double it to $100.
Just be aware – if you increase the chance to $100, there’s a higher chance of players going bankrupt. Of course, that might be exactly what you want if you’re looking for ways to make your Monopoly games shorter.
No/Limited Rent Collection While in Jail (Frozen Assets)
Under the official rules, players are still able to collect rent from their properties even while in Jail.
But if you want to up the stakes even further, you can use the frozen assets house rule, which stipulates that players are unable to collect rent from their properties while in Monopoly Jail.
If you don’t want to make things quite as punitive, you could instead opt for a rent reduction. For example, you could say that players in Jail are only able to collect half of the usual rent.
So if you’d normally owe the player in Jail $100 in rent, you would only need to pay them $50 instead.
Jail Auction Penalty (Asset Forfeiture)
For another way to up the stakes of Monopoly Jail, you can also use the Jail auction house rule.
This rule stipulates that a player must auction off one of their properties when they go to Jail. The player can choose any property – but they must auction one off.
If you want to use the asset forfeiture approach, you can have the money from the auction go to the Bank. But if you want to be a little more empathetic, you can still let the player collect the proceeds from the auction.
Free Jail House Rule
The previous house rules for Jail in Monopoly focused on making Jail a more punitive experience.
However, some players use house rules to go in the opposite direction and lessen the impact of Jail.
With the free Jail house rule, you can specify that other players must contribute to pay the jailed player’s jail free.
For example, if a person landed in Jail in a five-person game, the remaining four players would contribute $12.50 each to pay for the fifth player’s $50 Jail fine.
Now You Know the Monopoly Jail Rules!
That wraps up my post on how the Jail rules work in Monopoly.
If you made it this far, you should hopefully have a better understanding of the mechanics of Jail, including how you end up in Jail, how to get out of Jail, and what happens to your money while you’re in Jail.
If you still have any other questions about Jail in Monopoly, leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer as best I can!