Prison Architect/Tips (2024)

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Table of Contents




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  • 1 Build a holding cell
  • 2 Make a reception area
  • 3 Buffer zone
  • 4 No prisoners in the laundry
  • 5 No wandering around in the staffroom, get back to your cell Jimmy
  • 6 No walk in the woods
  • 7 The criminally insane want luxuries
  • 8 Greedy staff going on hunger strike
  • 9 Janitors/workmen/gardeners faffing about the storage room
  • 10 Minimize travel time
  • 11 Water and electricity don't mix

Build a holding cell[edit | edit source]

Set up a holding cell and padded holding cell, even if you think you have enough cells and/or don't accept criminally insane (psych ward DLC) inmates. If "room quality" is enabled and all your cells are high quality, some prisoners may not be assigned a cell because all the cells are too high in quality for them. When left unchecked, prisoners without a cell can easily become criminally insane.

Make a reception area[edit | edit source]

It's optional, but this ensures newly arriving inmates are searched for contraband before entering your prison.

Buffer zone[edit | edit source]

Cluster all rooms containing contraband together (see "dangers" under "intelligence") that prisoners may need to access and set up a buffer room with metal detectors and assigned guards and dog handlers between those and the cells. You may also want to set up a buffer zone for your deliveries area to scan any deliveries before they go into the prison.

No prisoners in the laundry[edit | edit source]

Don't use prison labour for the laundry. Janitors are cheap and the laundry contains rope which somehow can be used to dig tunnels while being impossible to detect with metal detectors or dogs. Make the laundry room staff-only (deployment) and make sure that the hallway or room it leads into is also staff-only so inmates can't easily slip in with the janitor.

No wandering around in the staffroom, get back to your cell Jimmy[edit | edit source]

Likewise, make sure to mark every room your prisoners don't need to enter as staff-only.

No walk in the woods[edit | edit source]

Never allow your prisoners in any area you designated as "forestry"! There's axes and spades laying around there!

The criminally insane want luxuries[edit | edit source]

It's a bit unbalanced. You generally can't properly cater the "luxury" needs of your criminally insane inmates. They need to visit a shop to satisfy this need, but if they arrived as a criminally insane inmate (as opposed to becoming one), they typically have very little to no money and they can't work. There might be workarounds, but those will probably have unfavorable side effects. Untested, but for example they might be able to earn money if you allow them to steal and trade contraband.

Greedy staff going on hunger strike[edit | edit source]

If you have enabled (disabled by default) "staff needs", you may find your staff starving after a while and even demanding a raise and going on strike otherwise. This despite dozens of staff meals being available! The problem is in the food trays. A cook must wash the dirty trays in a sink and put them back on the serving table. This is kinda buggy. If your staff room (with serving table) or staff canteen (a regular canteen marked as staff-only in deployment) is small and/or the benches/sofas are near a wall, the staff may leave the dirty trays somewhere just outside the staff room. Placing sinks near where the dirty food trays are left may help. If there are dirty trays on the sink but the cooks aren't operating the sink, hiring a new cook and spawning them directly in front of the sink may help.

Janitors/workmen/gardeners faffing about the storage room[edit | edit source]

If your janitors are not cleaning the prison but instead just faffing about storage/deliveries/garbage/exports areas, you have a problem. The exact cause is unclear. It might be caused by some area of your prison being inaccessible (like some outdoor area or abandoned building you have completely forgotten about) and the staff suffering from extreme compulsion wanting to clean that area you don't care about first. Check your deployment screen to see if any areas are inaccessible. The problem might be helped temporarily by erasing the storage area, but eventually you may find your staff breaking down completely and attempting to escape the map. Which clearly wasn't any sort of intended behavior by the developers as they can't and they'll just be stuck in a corner of the map.

Minimize travel time[edit | edit source]

Prisoners and staff spend a considerable amount of time walking from A to B. While they are walking, they're not chopping wood, cooking meals, doing prison labour or attend class. A few ways to minimize time wasted walking around:

  • Place bins in canteens and kitchens so the cooks don't have to run to the garbage area for every little piece of trash.
  • Use paving stone flooring outdoors where prisoners or staff regularly walks.
  • Plan your prison around your regime. If prisoners have to shower when they wake up, either put a shower head in their cells (generally a good idea) or place the shower area near the cells. If they have to eat after that, make sure the canteen is near the cells or shower area. If they get some yard time after that, put the entrance to the yard near the canteen, etc.
  • Use door servos and connect them to a door control system or door timer. If a guard has to come over to open a door, both the guard and whoever wants to pass through are wasting time. Don't use the "remote door" though, unless needed for security. The remote door can't be opened with (possibly stolen) jail keys, but if all the guards are busy or the electricity is out, the door won't open at all. You can put the door servo on any kind of door though. A solitary door (tougher than a jail door) or staff door on a door servo can be opened quickly by the door servo, but if that fails it will still be opened by a guard with keys.

Water and electricity don't mix[edit | edit source]

Install drains around your Power Station. Capacitors can be on top of the drains. If your Power Station gets surrounded by water, it will electrocute anyone nearby, explode and catch fire. If you are particularly sad*stic or really need to get rid of prisoners quickly and don't mind spending $5000 on repairs for the power station, install one in the shower area without any drains.

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Prison Architect/Tips (2024)


How to make a Prison Architect faster? ›

There are 4 different speed options:
  1. Pause. This setting will pause the game making everything stop. ...
  2. Normal. This is the normal speed of the game which it starts in as default.
  3. Fast. This will speed up the game to approximately 2 times the normal speed.
  4. Very Fast. Further increases game speed.

How do you stop prisoners from fighting in Prison Architect? ›

Riots usually start when lots of prisoners with high needs are free, and there are many prisoners in a common area such as canteens, showers areas, cellblock (outside of their cells), or in the yards. To better prevent the riots, you should build more and smaller cellblocks/yards, etc.

What is the prisoner to guard ratio in Prison Architect? ›

Maintain a good guard to prisoner ratio.

Typically aim for 1 guard per enclosed area (cell block, canteen, workshop, laundry etc) which prisoners have access to, plus around 5-10% of your prisoner capacity as unassigned guards, with a minimum of 4 unassigned guards at all times.

How many fridges do you need Prison Architect? ›

The fridge is a requirement of the Kitchen and is used to store Ingredients for Food preparation. The fridge requires a direct power connection to function. Both working Prisoners and Cooks can use the fridge. It can hold 2x20 food, so for every 2 Cookers you need 1 fridge.

How big should cells be for prison architects? ›

In the beginning, a Cell has to have a size of at least 2 x 3 squares. The Lawyer may research "Small Cells", which will remove the minimum size requirement completely. With a bed and a toilet still needed, this then makes an effective minimum size of 1 x 3.

What are the odds of clemency in Prison Architect? ›

The state approved execution level is 5% by default which means that if the chance of clemency is below 5% the player will not get fined if the prisoner is found innocent after the execution. The chance of clemency is halved every time the prisoner fails the death row appeals program and is increased if he passes.

Can you become a prisoner in Prison Architect? ›

You will be convicted of Criminal Negligence, and will spend time within your own prison as a prisoner. Escape Mode can also be started from the menu directly, by going to the "Extras" tab, where you can load any of your own save games to start playing there as a prisoner.

How do you stop staff being exhausted in Prison Architect? ›

The staff room will fully energize all staff members to 100 stamina points in just 50 in-game minutes. Staff members will have around 16 in-game hours of stamina if they rested without a staff room, and about 32 in-game hours of stamina if they rested in a staff room.

Does Prison Architect have an end? ›

Instead of the game simply ending, the player is still allowed to view their prison in its final moments. This is similar to how Dungeon Keeper operated when the player met with failure; they would become a ghost and could watch their dungeon crumble.

How do you deal with Supermax prisoners in prison architect? ›

The more their needs are met, the less likely they'll flip out over stuff. I give each cell it's own shower, radio, and prayer mat so they can take care of comfort, sleep, hygine, bladder, poo, recreation, and spirituality on their own. If laundry is good their clothing need should be satisfied as well.

Can you turn off fog of war prison architect? ›

When making a new game, fog of war can be disabled, which allows you to see all objects and prisoners. Also, at the beginning of the game, when no prisoners are at your prison, fog of war will not be present until prisoners arrive.

How big should yard be Prison Architect? ›

The content of this page is based on Prison Architect Version 2. Requirements: Minimum Size: 5x5.

Can two prisoners share a Cell Prison Architect? ›

A Dormitory can house any number of prisoners, based on the number of beds installed. Dormitories can be small, e.g. 2x3, replacing the normal Cell, allowing for two or more inmates to share a cell together. Or Dormitories can be large, with shared showers, toilets, phones, TVs, recreational facilities etc.

How many guards should you have as a Prison Architect? ›

Your ratio of guards depends on the type of prisoners you accept, any quirks they have and whether your guards have access to an armory or your troublemakers have weapons. One guard can usually subdue two minimum security prisoners (if they make trouble at all), or one normal prisoner.

Can you beat Prison Architect? ›

In the Escape Mode, both winning and losing the game is possible. The game is won when you (or your whole squad, that is) manage to escape from the prison. The game is lost when your whole squad is dead (or you removed the last prisoner from your squad).

How do you improve exercise in Prison Architect? ›

The rooms grade will increase if the following criteria's are met:
  1. [+1] Room size at least 60 squares.
  2. [+1] 6x Treadmills.
  3. [+1] 6x Weight Benches.
  4. [+1] 4x Gym Mat.
  5. [+1] Punch Bag.
  6. [+1] Boxing Ring.
  7. [+1] Fan.
  8. [+1] Water Cooler.

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