Prison Architect Wiki

Metal Detectors are forms of security equipment used in the detection of metallic contraband and weapons, and are especially useful in prisons with high prisoner populations.


Metal Detectors require a direct electrical connection in order to work successfully. They can be installed both indoors and outdoors.

It is recommended that you install metal detectors in high traffic areas such as a canteen, yard or cell block. More specifically, it is advised that you install metal detectors near entrances and exits to sections of your prison and rooms. This sets up a 'bottleneck' effect which will filter and prevent the spread of certain forms of contraband deep into your facility.

Many prisons have wider corridors which may be as wide as two or three square meters. As such, a metal detector should be installed for every square meter. This will ensure that there is no room for prisoners to pass around and avoid the detector altogether, as they will try to do this, in order to avoid being searched.

Operation & Function[]

Metal Detectors are structured in an arch which allows for the automatic scanning of a prisoner who passes underneath it. It should be noted that crated objects/resources are also scanned in an identical fashion. The detectors also have a small yellow light on top which will flash a bright white every time an inmate, or a crated object, passes under it.

Guard icon.png

If metal contraband is detected, the yellow bulb will flash a bright red colour and a brief alarm will sound, indicating the potential presence of metallic contraband. The suspected inmate or crate will automatically be searched by a nearby Guard.

NOTE: There is a small percentage chance that a metal detector will incorrectly detect metal on an inmate, or inside a crated object. The body search from false alarm is considered conducting unnecessary search and increases danger level, unlike checkpoints. Furthermore, after every scan (indicated by a momentary white flash), the metal detector will deactivate for 3 seconds. Any inmate or crated object that passes through during this delay will not be scanned.


  • The orientation of the metal detector will not impact its function. For example, if it is rotated vertically instead of horizontally - it will still work.
  • Metal Detectors slow anyone down who is passing through them.
  • Prisoners will do their best to avoid metal detectors; often taking alternative paths.
  • The metal detector can only search one inmate/crate per second, so install more sets.
  • It's advised to install sets of metal detectors close together due to the chance of one detecting false positive. If the same prisoner/crate goes through a second metal detector close by, and it beeps, you can be sure that there is metal contraband present.
  • There is a mutator that allows the metal detector to turn into a contraband detector (detects all contraband) but uses a lot more power. This can be set up when making a new game.