Prison Architect Wiki

Prisoners are the criminals you are tasked with containing and maintaining. They are the core element of any prison, providing the money to keep your prison afloat and reacting to the structure and regime set out by the player.

All prisoners will have basic human needs which will need to be satiated to ensure their stay at your prison runs as smoothly as possible.

Prisoners may cause trouble in different ways:

  • Smuggling contraband in, or stealing items from your prison, which can be used in various ways (for more info, check Contraband);
  • Attempting to escape through unsafe areas of your prison or by digging escape tunnels (for more info, check Escape Tunnel);
  • Using violence against other prisoners or staff members, causing injuries or even murdering people.

You can contain misbehaving prisoners by deploying Guards, authoritative entities who have the duty to maintain security and order among your general population of prisoners.

Prisoners come in multiple shapes such as: fat, chubby, built, small, or normal, and all vary in sizes. The shape of a prisoner has no bearing on their abilities, traits or reputations.

As of update 2, players can now run female prisons as opposed to just male-oriented ones. Female prisoners have some needs in different ratios, and can enter the prison with their baby.

It is also possible to transfer specific prisoners to your penitentiary through the "Names in the Game" sub menu in the "Extra" menu. These prisoners are often player-made prisoners or even members of the Introversion staff team.

Risk Categories

Each prisoner belongs to one of the 7 risk categories present in-game, which are an estimate of an estimate of the level of violence and disorder the player should expect from them as they join the prison. Most categories are not definitive, and the player can modify most of them to place each prisoner in the risk category they want as they uncover their traits and reputations.

By default, prisoners will see their category increase by one when they cause serious injuries to inmates of staff, and it will be set to MaxSec if they commit murder during their stay at your prison. You can change these settings in the Policy tab of the Reports.

The different categories can be easily identified by their color-coded uniforms, which can be modified at will in the Map Settings menu (Second Chances DLC only).

Category Prisoner Default Color Initial Money Daily Money
Prisoner MinSec.png
Gray $300 $100
PA MedSec Inmate.png
Orange $500 $150
Prisoner MaxSec.png
Red $1000 $250
Prisoner SuperMax.png
Maroon $2000 $250
Protective Custody
PA Protective Custody.png
Yellow - -
Death Row
PA Death Row.png
Black $2,500 $300
Criminally Insane
Prisoner CriminallyInsane.png
White $3,000 $300

Minimum Security

Minimum Security (MinSec) prisoners are serving for crimes considered non-severe, and therefore have the shortest sentences of all security types, only held for a few in-game days. Prisoners of this security type cause the least trouble and tend to escape less often. MinSec prisoners are less likely to start a riot than other security types even when the danger level is high.

  • You receive $300 when a MinSec prisoner arrives in your prison
  • You receive $100 every day for each MinSec prisoner in your prison

Medium Security

Medium Security (MedSec) prisoners have low-medium length sentences and can stay in your prison for a reasonable amount of time. MedSec prisoners may be less troublesome than higher security-classed prisoners, but are more easily disgruntled than their MinSec counterparts. They will frequently make use of contraband, more so than Minimum Security prisoners and are more likely to engage in riots as well as violent altercations.

  • You receive $500 when a MedSec prisoner arrives in your prison
  • You receive $150 every day for each MedSec prisoner in your prison

Maximum Security

Maximum Security (MaxSec) prisoners tend to have very long sentences and are some of the most violent prisoners. They are easily disgruntled and will actively and willingly take part in violent altercations, riots and brutality. If given the opportunity, MaxSec prisoners will often kill those who they physically engage with.

  • You receive $1000 when a MaxSec prisoner arrives in your prison
  • You receive $250 every day for each MaxSec prisoner in your prison

Legendary Prisoner!

Legendary Prisoners are MaxSec prisoners that always have the --LEGENDARY-- reputation. Their reputation can be hidden as Unknown even when asked for them directly, so be careful to quickly identify them as they exit the bus, especially if they arrived together other prisoners. If Gangs are enabled, the prisoner will most likely be a Gang Lieutenant or a Gang Leader, so segregating them from the general population is heavily recommended, if not mandatory.

  • You receive $15,000 when a Legendary prisoner arrives in your prison
  • You receive $250 every day for each Legendary prisoner in your prison


Super-Max prisoners are extremely dangerous prisoners - much so, that intermingling them with other prisoners could spell trouble. It is wise to segregate prisoners considered 'legendary' into this security class. It is also advised to segregate prisoners who have extreme reputations and skills, e.g. 'extremely deadly'.

Before The Sneezer Update, SuperMax prisoners could only be manually assigned, but can now be delivered to your prison as SuperMax.

It is advised to police these areas with armed guards. Be cautious, as SuperMax prisoners may possess the skills to disarm an armed guard and steal their firearm which will obviously spell immediate trouble for your guards, other prisoners and overall facility.

  • You receive $2000 when a SuperMax prisoner arrives in your prison
  • You receive $250 every day for each SuperMax prisoner in your prison

Protective Custody

Protective Custody prisoners are manually assigned to this security level by the player usually because their lives are endangered. This is the only security level that can only be obtained by manually assigning the prisoner to that level. Prisoners carrying specific undesirable reputations (e.g. Snitch, Ex-Law Enforcement) will be targeted by prisoners from the general population and will often be attacked and killed on sight if the opportunity arises; it is therefore wise to assign them to a segregated wing as Protective Custody to safeguard their lives.

  • It is not whether a prisoner is assigned to protective custody which determines whether their life is endangered - it is the reputation they carry which determines whether they are in danger or not. For example, you can temporally segregate prisoners suffering from a virus in this category and they will not be marked for death by other prisoners.

Death Row

Death Row prisoners differ from all other prisoner types you will see in your prison. They will often carry a large number of past crimes, most of which are incredibly severe. As such, these prisoners are legally sentenced to death by electrocution. They will live out the rest of their lives within the confines of their cell and will never leave said cell unless they're attending Death Row Appeal sessions, visitation or are taking their final walk before their execution. Their cells must be marked 'Death Row Only' from your Deployment menu, else your Death Row intake pool will not fill. These inmates are considered highly dangerous and as such may display aggressive and indiscriminately violent behaviour. An execution should only be scheduled if Likelihood of Clemency percentage is below the legal percentage, as a premature execution could lead to receiving serious fines if the prisoner was later found to be innocent.

  • You receive $2,500 when a Death Row prisoner arrives in your prison
  • You receive $300 every day for each Death Row prisoner in your prison
  • You will receive further compensation after a successful and justified execution

Criminally Insane

(Psych Ward DLC only) Criminally Insane prisoners are prisoners that have either turned insane in your prison or are received through normal Intake, and they cannot be assigned or removed to and from this security level. These prisoners require a special cell type, called Padded Cell, and Psychiatric Consultation programs to help satisfy their Comfort, Privacy and Freedom needs, and relieve them of Suppression.

Criminally Insane prisoners have unique reputations (Outbreaks, Depressed, Sickness, Weak, etc.) and a bar representing their current status (calm, agitated, unstable or triggered) which determines the frequency and seriousness of their unnatural behaviour (e.g. punching the air, destroying objects, attacking other prisoners or staff members). When a Criminally Insane inmate is misbehaving, Orderlies will take care of the matter, using sedatives or straitjackets when needed.

It is advised that these prisoners have a separate wing of the prison due to their unpredictability, as intermingling them with the general population can mean trouble for the prison.

  • You receive $3,000 when a Criminally Insane prisoner arrives in your prison
  • You receive $300 every day for each Criminally Insane prisoner in your prison
  • Turning into a Criminally Insane is a process that cannot be reversed

Prisoner Profile

Profile Biography.png

Every prisoner has a unique profile, or 'rap-sheet', that holds that holds information about them. This profile can be accessed by left clicking on any prisoner in-game.

It contains up to 5 tabs of information, briefly explained below. If you need more info, check Prisoner Profile.

These are briefly explained below.

Profile Tab Description
Biography The Biography tab includes general information about the prisoner, as their mugshot, name and age, biography and list of convictions. From here you can also assign them to a different security level or punish them specifically.
Character The Character tab lists all the known reputations of the prisoner. If these are unknown, a text in orange saying "Unknown Reputation" will appear on the prisoner's tooltip and no reputation will be listed in the Character tab.
Experience The Experience tab describes how the prisoner spent their time in your prison. It keeps a record, through a series of single bar charts, of their activities, mood and condition; it also keeps track of the reform program the prisoner is currently attending, as well as any past passed or failed one.
Grading The Grading tab gives a score to your prison regarding 5 different criteria; the higher it is, the lower will be the Re-offending Chance of the prisoner, meaning it will be more unlikely that your prisoner will be incarcerated again once released.
Work & Training (Second Chances DLC only) The Work & Training tab lists various information about the prisoner's working experience and related reform programs.


Ill chap4 1.png

Your prisoners will not always behave like good people - they have a tendency to cause trouble, otherwise known as misconduct. There are several forms of misconduct which include but are not limited to: fighting, escaping, destroying, rioting, etc. The possession of contraband is also considered misconduct.

You can try to dissuade perpetrators from offending again using Punishments, whose policy can be adjusted in the homonymous tab of the Reports, unlocked by researching Prison Policy via Bureaucracy. These punishments will act as deterrents for further misconduct.

Contraband The most common misconduct that prisoners of all levels of security tend to commit. A prisoner is considered guilty of this misconduct if the offending object is found either on their person or in their cell. There are 4 different categories of contraband, and you can choose a different level of punishment for each of them.
  • Found weapons: the prisoner is found in possession of weapons, such as knives, batons or firearms. They can be used to harm or kill other inmates or staff members.
  • Found tools: the prisoner is found in possession of tools, such as stolen screwdrivers or hand-crafted wooden pickaxes. They can be used to dig an Escape Tunnel under the toilet in their cell, or as a weapon. If Escape Plans is enabled in the map settings, they can be used for other kinds of escape attempts.
  • Found Drugs: the prisoner is found in possession of narcotics, such as needles, booze or drugs. They can be used to start a new addiction or satisfy a pre-existing one, risking to cause an overdose that can be fatal if left untreated.
  • Found Luxuries: the prisoner is found in possession of luxury items, such as cellphones or cigs. They are used to satisfy the need for luxuries many prisoners have; however they will always be confiscated when found out, unlike the luxury items honestly purchased in the prison shop.
Intoxication The prisoner has acquired contraband drugs or booze and has consumed them, becoming high or drunk. As a result, they walk slowly, often bump into walls and are generally unproductive. If they take too much of the drug they become overdosed, which is fatal if not treated immediately.
Destruction The prisoner damaged an object, e.g. a door or a table. This can happen if the prisoner's needs have gone unmet for some time.
Escape Attempt The prisoner has tried to escape the facility either via digging an Escape Tunnel or making a beeline for an insecure area. If Escape Plans is enabled in the map settings, there are more ways for a prisoner to make an escape attempt.
Attacked Prisoner The prisoner has injured another inmate.
Attacked Staff The prisoner has injured a non-prisoner.
Serious Injury The prisoner has injured someone so much that they lost more than half of their toughness points, causing them to be seriously injured.
Murder The prisoner has killed someone.


Reputations are attributes that alter a prisoner's behavior and affect the way they interact with their environment. The chance of a prisoner to have reputations is increased with the risk category.

Each prisoner's reputations are listed in the Character tab of the Prisoner Profile, or in orange at the end of the Prisoner Tooltip. Half of the times however prisoners arrive with their reputations hidden, with nothing written on their Character Tab, the only hint that they possess some reputations is the orange text saying '(Unknown Reputations)' in their tooltip. You can discover hidden reputation with the help of a Confidential Informant.

(See: Reputations for more information)


Needs are what Prisoners require in order to behave in a conduct deemed appropriate and manageable. Throughout their stay at your facility, Prisoners will always try to complete activities or tasks that will satiate their physical and psychological needs.

Prisoners with unmet needs may:

  • Be generally unhappy;
  • Start fights and attack staff members;
  • Attempt an escape;
  • Instigate or participate in a riot;
  • Become criminally insane (if Psych Ward (DLC) is enabled).

Players can analyse an individual Prisoner's needs by hovering their mouse over the Prisoner entity. A small table of that particular Prisoner's needs will be displayed. A more general view of your Prisoner's needs is available via the Needs page in Reports.

(See: Needs for more information)

Status Effects

A prisoner's tooltip showing a Well Fed status

A Status Effect is a special attribute a prisoner may acquire under certain circumstances. They can have a positive, negative or mixed effect on the inmate; most of them have a charge, that shows for how long the status will last.

You can check a status effect in the prisoner's tooltip, by hovering your cursor over the prisoner. Each status presents a 'Charge', that is the intensity of its manifestation, shown as a series of '+', from 1 to 10. When the status is currently applied the text appears green.

For the complete list of Status Effects, check: Status Effects.


Reform Programs are key to prisoners successfully reintegrating into society; they train, educate and rehabilitate your prisoners. These programs are administered from the Programs tab in the Reports.

For more information about Reform Programs, check: Reform Programs.


A released prisoner leaving the map

Once a prisoner has fully served their sentence, or they have been successful in a parole hearing, they will be released and they will leave your prison. If an inmate receives an early release and does not re-offend, the player receives a $3,000 bonus after the inmate leaves the map.

Released prisoners can be distinguished by others by the text 'RELEASED' which alternates with their name; from this moment they can access any area in order for them to leave the map, staff-only included. Moreover, their needs are not influential anymore and they cannot die of starvation even if they are locked somewhere.

Sentence fully served

Female Prisoners

Female prisoners

Since Update 2 it is possible to run a female-only prison as opposed to the standard male-only prison. Female prisoners will behave very similarly to their male counterpart, with a few differences:

  • Female prisoners are more likely than men to have Hygiene and Privacy needs, while they are less likely to have Exercise and Recreation need;
  • There is a small chance (around 6%) that Minimum or Medium Security female prisoners are accompanied by their baby. Babies have their own small set of needs too, and will spend most of their time living in family cells or nurseries.


  • Prisoners are able to attack any entity whether it be a fellow inmate, a guard, a general staff member/administrator or even an external staff member and/or visitor. They are also capable of destroying objects, suck as toilets and doors.
  • Prisoners do not want to stay in prison. If an opportunity arises, a prisoner will attempt an escape either via tunneling, making a beeline for an insecure area or clambering over a prison wall.
  • Prisoners can trade, sell and buy contraband between them.
  • Prisoners can set your prison on fire if they have a lighter.
  • Prisoners who are injured can walk themselves to a nearby infirmary, if there is a clear path to it.
  • Prisoners can join gangs and progress through gang hierarchy.
  • Prisoners can instigate and spark riots.