Prison Architect Wiki

The Holding Cell is a place where your prisoners will stay when there are no private cells available for them. Unlike a dormitory, a holding cell can hold an unlimited number of prisoners temporarily.

It can be used as a stop-gap measure to accommodate prisoners until proper cells are built, but should only be used as a temporary solution. When you keep the prisoners in a holding cell for too long, they may soon start to riot, and when you keep a lot of them cramped in a small space, it can easily escalate to a full-blown prison revolt, riot, mass escape and lack of satisfying needs.

Prisoners do not dig escape tunnels in a holding cell, and holding cells are not affected by cell grading. Instead of holding cells, the dormitory can be used, which can also house multiple prisoners.

Tips and Tricks[]

  • A holding cell is ideal for a low cost running a new prison, as it can hold many, many prisoners and is also cheaper than building multiple cells. Just make sure to add beds to accommodate your population or mark it as a Dormitory.
  • Barred Walls can make easier for guards to pay attention to what happens inside the cell without having to enter. They can also use Tazers through barred walls.
  • A nearby security room will make guards respond quickly to events in the holding cell.
  • Make sure there are some guards stationed in your holding cell, as fights in holding cells will be frequent and occurring, time and time again.
  • Holding cells are a good choice for continuous intake prisons, as they are easy to build and they don't cost as much as normal cells.
  • Holding cells only diminish a prisoner's privacy need. However, it will never hit critical so you can have less than 20 prisoners in a holding cell with a low danger level so long as their other needs are met.
  • If you use the Quick Build version of the Holding Cell (s), you can actually mark it as a dormitory after it is constructed. This is ideal if other buildings need to be constructed; for example: Canteen, Shower block, etc.