The Warden is the senior administrator and head of your prison, thus making him the most important staff member in Prison Architect.

The warden is required to unlock the Bureaucracy tree altogether. All other administrators and their respective research trees will branch off of the warden. You may only have one warden at a time.

Like all administrative staff, the warden carries a clipboard which he will drop if he is knocked unconscious or killed.

If the warden is killed, you will lose access to all researched upgrades and access to the regime and policy pages. This will remain the case until you hire a new warden. If failure conditions are enabled, then too many warden deaths will result in failure. The warden is often a target, especially during riots. It is therefore wise to ramp up security in and around your administration offices.

Different WardensEdit

Since the release of Prison Architect Version 1.0, you can now choose from six wardens as opposed to just having the default warden in tweed.

  • The Warden

"Most balanced individual on the planet, he does his job and nothing else. People just call him The Warden. The default warden, offers no special abilities."

  • The Lobbyist

"The Lobbyist has friends in high places, and makes sure the more easily controlled prisoners end up coming his way. Halves the likelihood of receiving prisoners who are Violent, Lethal, Volatile, Deadly or Fighters."

  • Rita

"Ruthless and terrifying, Rita has a reputation for running her facilities through judicial application of fear. Rumours of her carrying a whip may be exaggerated. Halves likelihood of prisoners being Stoical or Fearless and Prisoners are suppressed twice as quickly."

  • J. W. Periwinkle

"Warden Periwinkle says he was a sapper in the war. He never says which war, specifically, but he certainly knows everything about digging tunnels. Guard Dogs have a 50% chance of fully uncovering any tunnels they detect."

  • The Pacifier

"The Pacifier has an unusual talent for being able to calm even the most violent individuals. Even being in the same room as him is enough to make people docile and compliant. Reduces the overall temperature of your prison, making your inmates less likely to cause trouble."

  • Saphara Acknova

"Saphara Acknova has a spotless reputation and a squeaky clean record. But behind the scenes, shady deals and under the table offerings are nothing uncommon for her. Gets a small cut of the re-sale value of each piece of contraband found. Prisoners found with contraband will be 'fined' directly from their savings."

NOTE: Prisoners will only save money when you build a shop in your prison, along with places to work (e.g. workshop, cleaning cupboard, kitchen).


In early alpha testing custom warden editions of the game were sold at a cost of $1,000 each. The 5 people who bought this version of the game were able to influence the development of the game and customize the wardens along with their special abilities. After launch, these custom wardens can be selected for sandbox play by everyone.

NOTE: It is no longer possible to purchase the customization warden option as it was limited to 5 people worldwide.

On the console version of Prison Architect, activating 'double ID' allows two extra warden options to be selected. Furthermore, the 'All Day & Night' console DLC allows the choice of eight extra wardens.

Warden Mode Edit

As of Update 13, the player is now able to control and play as the Warden themselves in a similar spin-off version of Escape Mode. This playing mode is almost identical to standard play, but the Warden's line of sight is restricted and fog of war will limit vision unless CCTV cameras are built.

The Warden also has the ability to equip themselves with weaponry such as a taser or gun from the Armoury, along with body armour if they wish. Authorisation to use firearms or weapons of any kind is only granted if the Warden is acting in self defense (is attacked/injured by a prisoner) or if a riot is occurring within their prison - they cannot use weaponry otherwise.

As aforementioned, the Warden is a target in your prison. In this mode, the player has the ability to hire a "Warden Protection Squad" of guards, armed guards, dog handlers and even snipers. This will cost a certain wage per day depending on the guard type.

Permadeath is an additional option which can be activated from the "Create New Prison" menu. If the Warden is killed when this option is active, it will be "game over".