Prison Architect Wiki

The Bureaucracy system is unlocked by the Warden. You can access it by clicking on the photo of the warden in the top left corner of the screen. It's used to unlock advanced features for your prison, along with the advanced staff.

It is considered one of the most useful parts of the game, turning a basic prison into a fully functional prison. Most items requires 6 in-game hours to research.

The Bureaucracy tab is found in the top right hand corner of the game, next to the To-do list. The first-tier projects will only proceed if the Warden has a functioning Office. The second-tier projects require the respective individuals (Accountant, Foreman, Chief, Lawyer) to have functioning Offices to proceed. If a research timer appears to be stuck, ensure that your chiefs have fully-functioning offices.


Finance ($500)[]

Unlocks Accountant, which gives access to Government Grant programs which can provide extra funding. It also allows you to spend more each day than your income would normally allow, assuming you have the funds in reserve. Below are the things that the Accountant enables you to research.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Land Expansion ($1000)[]

Allows you to buy extra land.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Extra Grant ($500)[]

Enables you to accept 3 grants simultaneously instead of 2.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Bank Loan ($500)[]

Allows you to borrow a large sum from the bank, in exchange for a daily payment of interest. Paying off your bank loans will increase your credit rating and allow you to borrow larger sums in the future. You can borrow up to $250,000. If you cannot pay your interest this will be added to the amount borrowed. If you don't pay your loan off, your credit rating will decrease and the bank won't give you any more money. If you owe more than $250,000 you can pay this off $500 at a time until you owe $250,000 or less than you can only pay off the loan $25,000 at a time. When you are currently on a bank loan (and you are paying them off), your credit rating increases by 0.1 per hour.[verification needed]

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Tax Relief ($10,000)[]

Reduces the amount of tax you have to pay to just 15%.

Time to unlock: 48 hours (2 days)

Offshore Tax Haven ($50,000)[]

Further reduces the amount of tax you have to pay to 1%. Tax Relief needs to be unlocked first.

Time to unlock: 48 hours (2 days)


Security ($500)[]

Unlocks the Chief of Security. Hire him from the staff toolbar. The Chief is required to research further in Security and to see the danger level of your prison. Below are the things that the Chief enables you to research.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Deployment ($1,000)[]

Unlocks the Deployment view in the main toolbar, and allows you to assign Guard to the sectors of your Prison. Deployment is also need in order to assign work areas such as workshop and laundry. 

Time to unlock: 6 hours 

Surveillance ($2,000)[]

Unlocks CCTV cameras and CCTV Monitors. Use these to keep watch on unmanned parts of your jail. Unlocks the Security room which must be used to house the CCTV Monitors.  Deployment needs to be unlocked first. 

Time to unlock: 6 hours 

Intelligence ($1,000)[]

Unlocks the Supply and Demand sheet, showing the Demand (how much prisoners want the contraband) and Supply (how much of the contraband prisoners currently own. If this bar is large, it is recommended to shakedown the prison). 

It also unlocks the Contraband overlay which can be accessed from the main toolbar. This overlay shows all the sources of contraband and also tracks all contraband found in your prison back to where it was smuggled or stolen. It also shows the owner of the contraband (if the prisoner is still in your prison).

Time to unlock: 6 hours 

Patrols ($1,000)[]

Allows you to create patrol routes around crucial parts of your prison (e.g. the perimeter), and assign guards to those patrols.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Dogs ($1,000)[]

Unlocks Guard Dogs. These dogs will sniff deliveries and prisoners near them for contraband labelled as "smelly".  Hiring a dog handler will automatically add a dog. Patrols needs to be unlocked first. The dogs need a kennel room with a dog house inside. Note that guard dogs get tired very quickly. Adding dog Bowls in the kennel and near the patrol paths will increase the dogs stamina by a small amount.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Remote Access ($2,000)[]

Unlocks the ability to remotely open and control doors. Guards using a Door Control System and a Door Timer can do this, however only to ones attached to a door servo. Remote Doors are also unlocked, which are resistant to the jail key weapon, by guards or prisoners who have picked it up.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Armory ($2,000)[]

Unlocks the armoury, which allows you to deploy armed guards around your prison. Armed guards carry a one-shot-one-kill shotgun which will be used only if you press the "Free Fire" button on the bottom-right corner of your screen, or if the armed guards are in danger (their health is low or the enemy prisoner carrying a weapon). Each armed guard requires a guard locker in the armory. Note that prisoners will attempt to steal weapons from the armoury during a riot.

Time to unlock: 12 hours

Tasers ($1,000)[]

Allows your armed guards to carry tasers, a single-shot weapon that will render the target unconscious for a set amount of time. Tasers can be fired once before they need a full hour to recharge. Taser costs are separate from the armed guard hire cost, with each taser costing $400. This will have to be paid once the guard is hired. Tasers can be found in the weapons rack in your armory. Armoury needs to be unlocked first.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Taser Rollout ($5,000 + $400 per Taser)[]

Extends the taser program so that all your guards will carry a taser. Like for armed guards, taser costs are separate from the guard hire cost, with each taser costing $400. Tasers needs to be unlocked first.

Time to unlock: 12 hours

Body Armour ($1,000)[]

Equips all your armed guards, normal guards, and dog handlers with body armour. This helps absorb 50% damage, however, it will make your guards slower by 30%. Body armor costs are separate from the guard hire cost, with each set of armor costing $100. Armoury needs to be unlocked first.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Guard Towers ($5,000)[]

Unlocks Guard Towers and Snipers, allowing you to have someone watching your prisoners. Your Snipers may visit the Armoury to get their guns. They will fire warning shots at prisoners before being forced to take fire.

You can further upgrade this with Non-Lethal Sniper, which will not kill your prisoners, rather only making them unconscious at a maximum. Very useful for coverage over a large area where prisoners may attempt escape. (Prisoners, when escaping, will get no warnings before being shot.) This may prevent many deaths. (Of course, Guard Towers must be unlocked before unlocking this.)

Time to unlock: 18 hours


Maintenance ($500)[]

Unlocks the Foreman. Hire him from the Staff toolbar. You require the Foreman to research further in the maintenance sector. Below are the things that the Foreman enables you to research.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Prison Labour ($1000)[]

Unlocks various jobs for prisoners to work, also unlocks various rooms such as: Laundry and Workshop; jobs under Logistics. For detailed information, see Prison Labour.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Grounds Keeping ($2000)[]

Unlocks Gardener. Gardener keeps your outdoor area of the prison neat and tidy.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Cleaning ($2000)[]

Unlocks the Janitor. He will clean all the indoor areas of your prison, as well as help with the laundry.

Time to unlock: 6 hours

Farming ($2000)[]

Unlocks advanced farming techniques and equipment, along with more expensive crops.

Time to unlock: 8 hours


Legal ($5,000)[]

The Lawyer is unlocked when Legal is researched. He unlocks various legal researches and the optional content Death Row and Execution in you prison, as well as helping with legal issues.

Time to unlock: 12 hours

Small Cells ($10,000)[]

Prison Cells can be built to any size - they are no longer to obey the legal minimum of 3x2 metres. Note they must still contain a bed and a toilet.

Time to unlock: 24 hours (1 day)

Permanent Punishment ($5,000)[]

Prisoners can now be assigned lockup or solitary confinement that remains in place until you say otherwise.

Time to unlock: 24 hours (1 day)

Legal Prep ($50,000)[]

The necessary paperwork will be filed in preparation to remove a failure warning. This needs to be done in advance, and this research requires 72 hours (3 days) to complete.

Legal Defense ($50,000)[]

Something has gone wrong, and the CEO has made a call to you about the issue, but you might not make it. The necessary paperwork will be filed to remove a failure warning. This research can only be completed once, and will not permanently save you from your current situation. It also requires 3 hours to complete, and may take longer, for example if the lawyer is resting, killed or the office becomes invalid. This requires Legal Prep to be completed.

Death Row ($10,000)[]

Opens up the opportunity and responsibility of executing prisoners sentenced to death. It unlocks the Execution room, zoning of areas in Deployment as "Death Row Only", and the intake of Death Row prisoners.

Time to unlock: 24 hours (1 day)

Reduce Execution Liability ($10,000)[]

Raises the State Approved Conviction Strength from 5% to 10%, essentially reducing the number of appeals a Death Row prisoner get before an execution can begin without liability. Death Row needs to unlocked first.

Time to unlock: 72 hours (3 days)


Psychology ($500)[]

Unlocks the Psychologist, providing you with a valuable insight into your prisoners' internal psychological state at all times. He gives you the ability to run the Behavioral Therapy program. For more information, see Programs.

Time to unlock: 6 hours


Health ($500)[]

Unlocks the Doctor. Send them to injured prisoners and staff to heal them up. Staff will automatically go to the infirmary when injured, and prisoners will be escorted by guards. Also unlocks Infirmary and Morgue.

Time to unlock: 6 hours


Education ($2,000)[]

Unlocks the ability to run educational reform programs for your prisoners, using teachers that are hired automatically when the class starts. They need a Classroom in which to teach classes in.

Time to unlock: 12 hours


Unlocks many advanced features:

You can now change the schedule of guard deployment, and guard patrols, at any hour of the day. Use this to place more guards in the canteen at lunch time, for example.

  • Click on the timeline at any hour to cycle the current schedule. White is the base schedule.
  • You can drag the current time left and right, and change the schedule at any time of the day.
  • Patrol icons for guards/dogs/armed guards now enlarge when selected

Time to unlock: 6 hours