Prison Architect Wiki

Guards are the primary and most important security staff available to hire. They have the largest workload out of all the staff available in game and they hold the most responsibility when it comes to keeping prisoners in check and keeping the peace in your prison.

If a guard is killed or knocked unconscious, baton, jail keys and taser (if they have one) will be dropped to the ground, becoming collectable by prisoners.


Unlike most other staff, guards are up-gradable through security via the bureaucracy menu. The Chief is the administrator responsible for the researching of guard tactics, effective policing and security equipment.


Researching deployment unlocks its corresponding tab in the main toolbar. It allows the player to manually assign guards to all the sectors of your prison, and specify which sectors should be prioritized over others.


Researching Micromanagement has been researched by the Warden, the deployment view can also be used to schedule when guards patrol/are stationed in those sectors.


Researching patrols unlocks the patrols sub-tab in the deployment tab. It allows the player to manually draw out specific routes around crucial areas of your facility. For example, having a guard patrol around the perimeters of your walls could deter prisoners from picking up contraband thrown over the prison walls.

Taser Rollout

Researching the Taser Rollout program extends the use of the tasers to normal guards instead of just the Armed Guards. This program teaches standard guards how to use the tasers. The Chief will run these programs in a classroom. After a successful lesson, the guard will become certified and acquire a taser from the armoury to use.

  • Each taser costs $400.
  • Each taser, after being deployed, takes a game-hour for it to recharge.
  • Every new guard you hire will have to go through the same learning process in order to acquire a taser. They will not spawn with them after hire.

Body Armour

Researching body armour allows all your security staff members, excluding snipers, to obtain a protective stab vest from the armoury. This provides every security staff member with a 50% toughness increase, but a 30% movement penalty.

  • Each vest costs $100.
  • Hire cost will increase as body armour is unlocked ($100 per guard)


  • All guards come armed with batons which give them a slight advantage over unarmed prisoners, but not against prisoners that are armed or have certain reputation.
  • Guards will always use their tasers before wielding a baton.
  • Guards have a 60% accuracy rate when using a taser against a prisoner.
  • If a guard is disarmed, they will visit an armoury to reacquire a lost weapon.
  • Guards that are disarmed but still in active combat will use their fists.
  • Guards do not fight to the death. They will desist their assault when the prisoner is knocked unconscious or surrenders willingly.
  • Guards may kill prisoners with a 'cop killer' reputation. The guards must manually be 'pulled off' of the prisoner in question by the player.
  • During riots, guards will not enter the area if all guards in said area are incapacitated or if the prisoners controls it. Since it's "above their pay grade"

Guard Duties

  • They operate security systems such as: CCTV monitors, Door Control, Phone Taps, and Scanner monitors.
  • Patrolling guards and stationed guards will open doors for staff members or prisoners.
  • They roam around rooms in which they are stationed in, in order to prevent misconduct.
  • They conduct thorough searches of your prisoners, cells, and areas where contraband can be hidden.
  • They subdue misbehaving prisoners.
  • They escort new prisoners to their holding cells, cells, dormitories and solitary confinement (or to reception first if added to the prison).
  • They escort shackled prisoners from one point to another.
  • They escort confidential informants to security rooms.
  • The bring prisoners new uniforms if no janitors or prison labour.
  • They bring food to prisoners in lockdown or solitary, and bring trays back to canteen.
  • They unload some objects from the trucks, if the workers/janitors are not available.
  • They will deliver mail to sectors that inmates aren't allowed to enter; if the mail room is staff only they will themselves sort the mail and deliver all of it
  • They go to the staff room when exhausted, like any other staff.
  • If patrolling the outer wall, they can prevent a prisoner from getting contraband, if the arranged place for picking up the contraband was close to the place where the guard is deployed.
  • They process prisoners guilty of misconduct, in accordance with prison policy, before moving them to their cells/solitary or the infirmary if they are injured.
  • They will rush seriously injured/unconscious or overdosed prisoners to the infirmary.
  • They carry out searches for tardy prisoners during roll call.
  • They may assist the cooks in moving and collecting dirty food trays to their proper place.
  • They move unconscious and dead inmates and staff to the infirmary, morgue or hearse.

Tips & Tricks

  • Handcuffing takes precedence to escorting. So if you have just suppressed a riot and have a lot of prisoners to punish, guards won't escort prisoners to their punishment until all prisoners are handcuffed.
  • If you need a bunch of guards to rush to an area, you can left-click and drag your mouse to select a bunch, and then you can give them all a command at once, similar to how emergency services work.
  • While guards are a vital member of staff, you don't need to hire them until you have prisoners. So if you plan to close your prison for the first few days while you build it, you won't need to hire guards until you open for business. Otherwise they're just wandering around taking wages and making floors dirty.
  • 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. It often takes at least three guards to subdue a maximum security prisoner.
  • Guards have a high success rate when participating in the Taser Certification Program. It is a worthy investment.
  • Build security rooms in strategic locations in your prison so they can respond fast if necessary.
  • An in-game alarm sound will go off every time a guard spots an incident, and if the guard is attacked a pop-up marker of the guard will show up.
  • Guards, armed guards and dog handlers are normally unauthorized to attack criminally insane inmates, requiring the need to hire orderlies for that. They will, however, attack in self defence or if the criminally insane inmate is escaping. They will also engage if there are no orderlies hired or all orderly presence is very far.


  • Although they do not suppress prisoners, nearby inmates will not cause trouble and will mostly fight or do something illegal out of the sight of guards.
  • The real-life counterparts of a prison guard are referred to as Correctional Officers. Some may take offence at being called a 'guard'.
  • If killed, in Escape Mode, guards will automatically re-spawn.
  • Karl is a special guard in escape mode. Go to Karl the cop for more.
  • There is guard appears in chapter 2 carrying shotgun however normal guards never carries weapons other than batons and taser