The Prison Dimension is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Another Dimension that is largely used for the sole purpose of imprisoning someone or something. Has shades of Pocket Dimension and Tailor-Made Prison. See also Phantom Zone.
Examples of this trope include:
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- The DCU has the Phantom Zone, where Krypton sent their condemned criminals.
- Marvel's Civil War event revealed that Iron Man's pro-registration faction had a prison built in the Negative Zone to house those who refused to go along with the Superhuman Registration Act. When Spider-Man discovered this, he promptly defects to Captain America's side.
- The One: Based on what we see of the Stygian Penal Colony, the entire Hades Universe (or, at least, that universe's Earth) may be used to dump interdimensional offenders with life sentences.
- Literature/Discworld has the Dungeon Dimensions, which are less than a shadow's width away. The things living there hate everything in the Discworlds dimension for being more real than them.
Live Action TV
- Angel has a few examples:
- A dimension where Ax-Crazy Straw Mysogynist Billy Blim was trapped until Angel was blackmailed by Wolfram & Hart into breaking him out.
- A "holding dimension" described as the Senior Partners' version of a penalty box that resembles a US suburban town, in which inmates are stripped of their memories, spend time with a fake family, and then have their hearts cut out by a demon in a vicious cycle.
- Smallville has its own twist on the Phantom Zone, in which it is typically only the very worst criminals (such as General Zod) who are reduced to phantoms.
- Supernatural: Purgatory mainly functions as the afterlife for all the monster souls in the universe. However, the Grim Reaper later reveals that it was originally build by God as a prison to prevent the primordial Leviathans, God's first beasts, from eating the rest of creation.
- Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura: An ancient Evlen council used to dump the most powerful villains into dimension called the Void instead of simply executing them, since it is possible to return Back from the Dead, but not from the Void. The plot point is that one of the banished is going to return anyway...
- Killer Instinct: Both Eyedol and his Arch-Enemy Gargos were trapped in a dimensional prison until Ultratech broke them out.
- Kingdom Hearts: It's stated in Kingdom Hearts II, and later elaborated on in Birth by Sleep, that Pete's constant troublemaking led Mickey and Minnie to banish him to another dimension, where he remained until Maleficent found and recruited him.
- The "trap books" in Myst work this way, designed to capture greedy interlopers. Riven explains that they are Linking Books that seem to lead to another world, but have flaws in them that prevents the link from being completed, leaving the traveler trapped in a featureless void with only the book's viewing panel to look out of, if they're so lucky that the book remains open. Anyone foolish enough to try the link after this would trade places with the trapped one. Later games retconned this so that the "trap books" were merely stable links to other worlds which contained no way back.
- The SCP Foundation has at least one of these. SCP-2701 is a prison cell that is a portal to a dimension inhabitants of which are subjected to total sensory deprivation. And time passes more slowly in the cell than in our dimension. The prison warden, grief-stricken and angry after the murder of his daughter, eventually "sentences" all of his prisoners to the cell. One isn't scheduled for release until the 34th century -- our time.