Canteens are central locations where the majority of your prison population, if unsegregated, will end up going to in order to eat food and satiate their hunger needs.

It is arguably one of the most important rooms needed to sustain a functioning prison with moderately happy inmates.

All food provided for prisoners is prepared by your cooks.

Regime & Process Edit

During EAT regimes, all prisoners will surrender their duties/activities and head towards the canteen where food will have been prepared a few game hours before by your cooks. The serving table will temporarily house the cooked food as well as a plentiful stack of food trays. Each prisoner will obtain a full food tray when collecting their food from the serving table, and will then proceed to find a table to eat at.


After a prisoner has finished eating, they will leave their dirty food tray on the table and, if the eat regime is over, will proceed out of the canteen.

It widely depends on the number of prisoners in your prison, but you should always allow plenty of time in your regime for prisoners to eat. It is also highly recommended that you allow two or more opportunities for prisoners to eat during a given day.

NOTE: Prisoners may also decide to eat during free-time, as long as there is food available.

Logistics & Food Distribution Edit

The food distribution overlay, found under logistics, displays which kitchens (if there are multiple) are supplying food to the canteen(s) in your facility. A small supply-and-demand tab can be shown above every canteen in this view, detailing how much food is required by your inmates and how much food is being prepared by your cooks. If the supply of food does not match up to the demand this may be due to an insufficient number of hired cooks. Evidently, this can be resolved by hiring more.

In this view, the player can manually assign a different kitchen to provide food for a different canteen if they wish. If the supply

Requirements Edit

NOTE: Oddly enough, there is no specified minimum size.

Recommended Edit


A basic canteen containing only the required features.

As previously mentioned, the canteen is one of the few rooms where, if unsegregated, the entirety of your prison will assemble in a single room. Therefore, it would be a fantastic opportunity to enable your prisoners to satiate needs other than just 'food' ones.

Staff Canteen Edit

If staff needs are enabled, your staff members will also demand to be fed on-site. Designating any canteen as 'staff only' will cause it to become a staff canteen, where your staff members can eat. Their food is not prepared by your cooks, nor of similar quality to the prisoners, but is of high quality and is imported into your facility via supply trucks.

NOTE: Staff members do, however, still require food trays.

Tips & Tricks Edit

  • When building a canteen, keep in mind that there will be many prisoners mingling in one area simultaneously. The likelihood of a mass violent outbreak or riot occurring is significantly higher.
  • It's wise to build canteens close to kitchens so that cooks carrying prepared food will not have to travel far, thus improving the overall efficiency.
  • Ensure that there are enough tables and benches/chairs for your prison population, so that none are denied the right to eat food and thus are left to starve.
  • Deploying an armed guard in higher security category prison canteens can go a long way to decreasing the likelihood of a violent outbreak.
  • Man the doors/entrances to your canteen with metal detectors and patrolling guard dogs to prevent contraband from entering the highly populated area.
  • Putting other amenities like shower heads, toilets and forms of entertainment in the canteen may help satisfy the needs of prisoners who aren't eating. This serves to limit travel distances to shower rooms, common rooms and/or cells.
  • Leaving a fairly wide pathway in the middle of your canteen helps to relieve congestion and allows your cooks collect dirty trays faster since their movement speed is reduced if they have to walk through benches/tables.
  • Keeping your canteen in a central location of the map helps limit walking distances for all entities.
  • Consider putting serving tables on both sides of the canteen to help spread the prisoners. A serving table per 50 prisoners will work fine with medium meal quantity and high variety.
  • Consider positioning a yard outside the canteen and schedule yard time before each meal; this gives time for all prisoners to congregate outside just before eating, reducing the time taken to get everyone in the canteen.