Cells are small rooms where prisoners live through-out their stay in detention. These rooms differ greatly by their furnishings, conditions and sizes. Prisoners may be entitled to a more lavishly furnished cell, depending on their behaviour, sentencing and security category.

There are two forms of prison living:

Whatever the cell type, your prisoner will require somewhere to live. If all the cells/holding cells/dormitories of your prison are occupied, then new prisoners (upon arrival) will simply remain shackled in your reception/delivery area until a cell becomes free, or a new one is built. Prisoners without a cell will be distinctively marked out on-screen.

If there are only single cells in your prison, you must ensure that every prisoner has their own individual cell. It'd be wise to make these small sized, so you can accommodate a higher population of inmates without taking up too much land-space.


It is also wise to prioritise the creation of single cells over other cell types. Prisoners' privacy needs will grow at an exponential rate if they have to live with other prisoners in dormitories or holding cells. This could lead to outbreaks of violence or even a small-scale riot, depending on the number of prisoners in a holding cell and/or dormitory.

Cells also serve as areas of punishment, as opposed to just living areas. Prisoners placed in lockdown will spend an extended amount of time locked in their cell, outside of regime hours. The longer the time, the more disgruntled and agitated the prisoner will get. On the other hand, extended stays in lockdown will benefit and increase the punishment grading of that prisoner - thus making the prisoner in question, less likely to re-offend upon their release.

Cell Grading

As aforementioned, prisoners may be entitled to a more lavishly furnished cell, depending on their conduct. This is predominantly determined by the number of days a prisoner goes without an incident. For example, prisoners who have been well-behaved and have stayed out of trouble for a number of days will be more entitled to a more luxurious cell, than a prisoner who commits misdemeanors on a daily basis. Cell Grading can be disabled and enabled in the policy tab under Reports.

More about cell grading and quality can be seen here.


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NOTE: (*) - the size of a cell can be reduced beyond the minimum, by using a Lawyer to research 'Small Cells' under the Bureaucracy tab.

It is wise to use either jail doors, or solitary doors if they can be afforded.


Below are some of the optional ways to improve the quality/luxury of a cell.

Tips & Tricks

  • When starting a new prison build a holding cell or a dormitory as they are cheaper than individual cells.
  • Prisoners who are attempting to tunnel their way out of their cell will always start digging under the toilet.  Try to place toilets as far from the exterior wall as possible as this will decrease the likelihood of them reaching an insecure area before being detected.
  • Adding a window (with outdoor view) to a cell makes their need for freedom build up slower, which makes them less likely to construct escape tunnels.
  • Don't mark the doorway as part of the cell; the floor area marked as "cell" should be inside the perimeter of the walls and door squares.
  • Jail Doors will lock and unlock automatically when transitioning to and from periods of sleep/lockdown as edited in the regime. They will do this without door servo automation. Doors of any other type will require a guard or a door servo in order for them to open.
  • Even if their cell door is open, prisoners will not leave their cells during sleep/lockdown periods unless they are engaging in misconduct.


  • Prior to Alpha 13, cells did not have to be enclosed with walls and doors.