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The one you have to keep an eye on.

Other Information:

  • None provided
Prisoners milling around in a mixed security yard.
A prisoner's tooltip telling his name and age, assigned cell quality, cash, activity, needs and status effects

The lifeblood of your prison, prisoners are the criminals and scumbags you are tasked with containing and maintaining. Each prisoner has the same basic needs, a name, a personality, and a criminal record. Prisoners have many different hair-styles and skin-tones, as well as hidden traits that control how they will behave while in your prison.

All prisoners in one prison are either male or female, there are no mixed prisons. Female prisoners sometimes have babies living with them in the facility.

Risk Category[edit | edit source]

Prisoners have 3 initial risk categories, which give an estimate of the level of violence and disorder the player should expect from them based on their convictions. Risk categories do not directly decide how violent a prisoner will be, but internal character traits do. The player will have to observe prisoners and interpret their conviction records to better assess risk, changing their security rating manually if warranted. The ability to change the Risk Category is available on the prisoner's rap sheet. As a general rule of thumb, a higher risk category usually means a greater risk of violence and disorder and longer sentences but also a higher daily payout per prisoner for the player.

Prisoners responsible for a serious injury will have their category automatically increased one level (min-sec to medium, medium to max-sec) while prisoners responsible for murder will automatically reclassify as Maximum Security (if they weren't already) and receive an additional 25-year sentence.

The risk category Protective Custody can only be assigned manually or through Prison Policy; these prisoners will never arrive at your prison. Risk categories Death Row and Criminally Insane cannot be set manually; they can only be transferred to your prison via Intake and in the case of Criminally Insane, prisoners can randomly reclassify as it if their needs go unmet for long enough (See the article Criminally Insane for more info.)

The different categories can be identified by their colour-coded uniforms (e.g. grey for minimum security, orange for medium security and red for maximum security). For the sake of brevity, the names of the security categories are often shortened/abbreviated in community parlance:

  • Minimum Security: Min-sec
  • Medium Security: Med-sec
  • Maximum Security: Max-sec
  • Supermax Security: Supermax
  • Protective Custody: PC
  • Death Row: DRs
  • Criminally Insane: CI
Level Display Initial Money Daily Money Notes
Minimum Security Min Sec.png $300 $100 These prisoners are the least risky and violent inmates to bring into a prison. Typically, these prisoners also have shorter sentences due to their lower-level criminal charges, and therefore are due to be released more often.
Medium Security Med Sec.png $500 $150 Medium Security prisoners pose a moderate security risk in accordance with their crimes. These prisoners are likely to be more dangerous than Minimum Security prisoners, but are likely not as violent as Maximum Security inmates.
Maximum Security Max Sec.png $1000 $250 Maximum Security prisoners pose a serious security and violence risk. These prisoners are more likely to become angry and violent when their needs are unfulfilled, may have more "Legendary" traits assigned to them than lower-risk categories, and are also more likely to be Gang members. They also have longer sentences, meaning that they will stay around for longer than lower-risk prisoners
Super Max SuperMax Sec.png $2000 $250 Prisoners of this category can be transferred into your Prison, and (as of "The Slammer" Update) designated manually on an individual basis only. A rating of Super Max indicates that this prisoner is extremely dangerous to the point that they should be treated differently from the general population, possibly warranting specially-designed cells and facilities and even being put into 24-hour lockdown or Solitary Confinement. Prisoners that should be classified as Supermax include Gang Leaders, Legendary Prisoners, Prisoners with dangerous reputations and other especially troublesome inmates.
Protective Custody Protective Custody.png - $200 Prisoners of this category cannot be transferred into your Prison, and instead must be designated manually on an individual basis. This security level is meant to allow the player to segregate at-risk prisoners from the general population for their own protection if their lives are in danger. This is especially useful for protecting Snitches, Ex Law Enforcement and Ex Prison Guards, blown Informants, or even for breaking addictions through altered security. It can also be used to avoid Mass Assassinations if the applicable random Event happens, to isolate infected prisoners if the Virus event happens.
Death Row Deathrow Sec.png $2500 $300 This security category cannot be assigned manually and prisoners of this category may only be transferred into your prison after unlocking this ability from the Bureaucracy menu. These inmates have been given a death sentence and have an unlimited sentence time and must instead go through a process of appeals in an attempt to commute their sentence(s), otherwise, the player will be allowed to execute them. Death Row prisoners require specially designated cells and do not participate in any Regime activities. Death Row inmates cannot be reassigned to any other category, however, if their appeal hearing is successful, their sentence will be commuted and they will turn into a Maximum Security prisoner. (Note: Certain mods can allow you to designate and re-designate Death Row prisoners at will. This function is completely nonexistent in the base game, however.)
Criminally Insane CI prisoner.png
PW DLC.png
$3000 $300 Prisoners of this category can be transferred into your Prison only if you have the Psych Ward: Warden's Edition DLC. Criminally Insane inmates are, as the name says, mentally unwell and have unique behavior patterns, quirks and other traits. Click here for more information about Criminally Insane.
  • In the Deployment menu, you can assign security sectors that will only allow prisoners of a certain category to enter them.
  • In the Regime report, you can set up different regimes for the different risk categories which are present in your prison.
  • In the Intake report, you can define how many prisoners of which categories you want to receive for your prison.
  • In the Policy report, you can define how the security rating of a prisoner changes in case of certain incidents.

Needs[edit | edit source]

For more information, see Need.

Satisfying basic prisoner needs is one of the most important activities in Prison Architect. If needs are met, prisoners are more cooperative and are less likely to commit acts of violence or vandalism. If their needs are not met, they will begin to complain, vandalize, and fight.

Status Effects[edit | edit source]

In the game, prisoners may have different status effects at different times:

Status Effect
Angry Having being denied parole, more likely to start trouble.
Bleeding Wounded in an accident, will continuously lose health.
Calming Surrounded by a peaceful aura after visiting the Spiritual Guidance program, also affecting other prisoners around.
Drowning Added as part of the Island Bound DLC.
Drunk Prisoner consumed booze (may lead to an addiction).
Exposure Prisoner has been exposed to low temperatures for too long, making them unhappy and potentially injuring them.
Food Poisoning
High Prisoner consumed drugs (may lead to an addiction or an overdose).
Overdosed Took too many drugs, must be treated by a doctor immediately. Fatal if not treated.
Overheating An status effect appears after Update-4 that affects with prisoners working in the kitchen.
Riled Up An effect that affects prisoners after exposure to radio during the Agitating radio event.
Sick Infected by a virus, might pass it to other prisoners; the virus might be deadly in extreme cases.
Suppressed Suppressed prisoners are really unhappy (e.g. resulting in lower concentration and success chances during programs), but also less likely to misbehave.
Swimming Added as part of the Island Bound DLC.
Surrendered Capitulated when being confronted with deadly force by Armed Guards, Soldiers, Snipers, and Elite Ops
Tazed Shot with a tazer, rendering the prisoner unconscious and unable to move (though not injuring him).
Well Fed All needs are fulfilled, especially the food need, but also including the ones not making prisoners angry otherwise. These prisoners are less likely to misbehave, and being well-fed contributes to the "Health" grading.
Withdrawal Prisoner is suffering from lack of an addictive substance.

Traits[edit | edit source]

Every Prisoner has a list of hidden attributes assigned to them which the player may never clearly see; however, these traits will control whether the prisoner commits certain actions and how often they commit those actions. An example is Escape Tunnels being only dug by Prisoners possessing the "Clever" trait.

As the crimes the prisoners have committed are also affected by their traits, the convictions in their biography give an indication of possible traits.

A list of traits:

Trait Annotation
Clever Likely to have the Literacy need, able to dig tunnels
Destructive More likely to destroy objects in your prison during riots
Lethal More likely to kill others (e.g. snitches) intentionally
Narcotics Likely to have the Drugs or Alcohol needs, possible addicts
Risks Life
Sexual Seems to no longer be used. Chances for prisoners to have trait set to 0.
Theft More likely to steal contraband
Violent More likely to fight others

Choosing The Lobbyist as a warden halves the chance of prisoners coming to your prison being violent or lethal.

Misconduct[edit | edit source]

Misconduct can vary from destruction to murder.

List of misconducts:

  • Contraband - The most common misconduct that all levels of security prisoners will eventually commit
  • Complaint - Prisoner who had a complaint about a need that hasn't been met for some time
  • Intoxication - Prisoner is high or drunk when searched (being caught intoxicated automatically refers the prisoner to the relevant Rehab program, if it is available)
  • Escape Attempt - A misconduct that will trigger if a prisoner spots a clear way out of the prison
  • Destruction - Prisoners will start attacking and destroying objects if their needs haven't been met in a long time
  • Attacked Prisoner - Prisoners may fight one another once agitated by unmet needs
  • Attacked Staff - Prisoners who have attacked staff or Guards because their needs weren't met
  • Serious Injury - Prisoners who have brought a serious injury to a staff or prisoner
  • Murder - Prisoners who have killed a person, either being a staff or prisoner

Low-Security prisoners will be more patient in regards to their needs. Medium-Security prisoners will often get angry and violent if their needs aren't met. Maximum-Security prisoners are highly volatile and are liable to become angry and kick off very quickly if their needs are unmet, potentially igniting a riot.

Prisoners will perform misconducts according to their level:

  • High Risk - Most likely to perform misconduct
  • Normal Risk - Less likely to perform misconduct than High-Risk prisoners
  • Low Risk - Lowest-risk of prisoners performing misconduct

Misconduct is recorded on the prisoner's rap sheet.

Individual Lockdown[edit | edit source]

For more information about the Lockdown Emergency Action, see Lockdown.

Prisoners who commit any of the above misconducts will be locked down in their cells or solitary confinement, according to your prison's Policy.

Once misconduct occurs, the prisoner will be placed in handcuffs and then escorted by a Guard to his cell, or to solitary confinement, depending on prison policy.
Once escorted, the prisoner will receive a new status called "Lockdown" or "Solitary" that will begin counting down in hours and minutes. All of this can be changed in the Policy screen. In short, the policy can change the length of time a prisoner must stay in lockdown before being allowed out of their cell again, and whether the prisoner goes to solitary or his cell depending on the type of misconduct.

You can assign discretionary punishments to prisoners via the rap sheet - up to 24 hours of Lockdown or 24 hours in Solitary. If researched by the Lawyer, even permanent punishment can be applied. Prisoners will then be locked in their cell or solitary cell until the player cancels this measure. This can be helpful for dealing with Legendary Prisoners and to stop Gang Leaders from recruiting.

Prisoner's suppression rises while on Cell Lockdown (+1 every half an hour) or in Solitary (1+ every quarter-hour). Suppression is reduced by 1 per hour after being released from lockdown/solitary.

Prisoners in solitary confinement or locked-down in their own cells will have meals brought to them. This should prevent prisoners starving to death in solitary.

Prisoner Profile[edit | edit source]

The prisoner profile (also referred to as the 'rap sheet') is accessed by clicking the prisoner whose profile you wish to view and contains 4 tabs of information.

Biography[edit | edit source]


The Biography tab includes the following information about the prisoner:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Prisoner Number/Mugshot
  • Biography
  • Risk Category
  • Time served and time left in prison.
  • List of convictions including whether or not the plea for each conviction was guilty or not guilty.

This sheet provides the ability to re-categorize the inmate's security level in the upper right-hand corner of the page. The player may also search the prisoner, his cell, or his entire cell block. Finally, individual punishments may be meted out, including the ability to set permanent punishments once unlocked through Bureaucracy. This is the only place to lock down a prisoner for an unlimited time (until cancellation).

Some prisoners have a biography text defined by people who bought the "Name in the Game" package of Prison Architect. These biographies, however, don't affect the convictions.

The crimes for which a prisoner can have been convicted are:

Crime Minimal sentence Maximum sentence Risk Trait(s)
Bribery 2 10 Low Fraud
Aggravated Burglary 10 25 Medium Theft, Risks Life
Burglary 5 10 Low Theft
Arson 15 25 Medium Risks Life
Criminal Damage 2 10 Low Destructive
Vandalism 1 2 Low Destructive, Young
Violent Disorder 2 5 Medium Violent
Possession 2 7 Medium Narcotics
Possession Intent To Supply 3 14 Low Narcotics
Fraud 2 10 Low Fraud
Counterfeighting Currency 2 10 Low Fraud, Clever
False Accounting 1 7 Low Fraud, Clever
Insider Trading 1 7 Low Fraud, Clever
Money Laundering 5 14 Low Fraud, Clever
Aggravated Vehicle Theft 3 10 Medium Theft, Risks Life, Vehicular, Young
Joy Riding 1 5 Medium Risks Life, Vehicular, Young
Dangerous Driving 1 2 Low Risks Life, Vehicular
Death By Dangerous Driving 8 14 Medium Risks Life, Vehicular
Driving Under Influence 1 4 Medium Risks Life, Narcotics, Vehicular
Kidnapping 4 7 Medium Controlling
False Imprisonment 5 15 Medium Controlling
Torture 5 15 High Violent, Controlling
Assault 1 10 Medium Violent
Aggravated Assault 10 15 High Violent, Risks Life
Assaulting An Officer 3 10 Medium Violent
Grevious Bodily Harm 7 15 High Violent, Risks Life
Murder 25 25 High Violent, Lethal
Attempted Murder 10 25 High Violent, Lethal
Manslaughter 10 25 Medium Lethal
Drunk Disorderly Behaviour 1 2 Low Narcotics
Perjury 3 7 Low
Rioting 5 10 Medium Violent, Destructive
Violent Disorder 3 5 Medium Violent, Destructive
Trafficking 10 15 Medium Controlling
Armed Robbery 15 25 High Theft, Risks Life
Robbery 5 15 Medium Theft
Car Jacking 5 15 Medium Theft, Vehicular, Young
Blackmail 6 14 Low Fraud
Handling Stolen Goods 2 14 Low Theft, Petty
Video Game Piracy 2 4 Low Theft, Clever
Indie Video Game Piracy 3 6 Low Theft, Clever
Shoplifting 2 10 Low Theft, Petty
Pickpocketing 2 10 Low Theft, Petty, Young
Car Theft 5 14 Low Theft, Vehicular
Rape 4 15 High Sexual, Violent
Gross Indecency 2 10 Low Sexual
Voyeurism 1 2 Low Sexual

These sentences dictate how long the prisoner will stay in prison. A prisoner may have multiple sentences. The sentences use a time concept different from the usual game time. A one-year sentence equals 120 game hours (5 game days).

Character[edit | edit source]


This tab will display any Reputation attributes the inmate may possess, but only if that attribute is known. Prisoners with a yellow "???" line in their description when hovered over possess a Reputation attribute that is not yet revealed, and therefore will not yet display in the Character tab.

Reputation[edit | edit source]

These traits make housing these inmates particularly challenging, as they possess abilities that make them either more dangerous to others or a target for others.

  • Strong / Extremely Strong - Hits harder with each punch during fights (and if Escape Plans are enabled, can also climb fences without the use of ropes)
  • Tough / Extremely Tough - Can withstand a lot more punishment in a fight. He can also sometimes withstand being hit by a tazer.
  • Volatile / Extremely Volatile - Liable to kick off without warning and for no reason
  • Stoical - Will not become suppressed when locked in Solitary
  • Snitch - A known informant, and as such his life may be in danger. Don't leave him alone with other prisoners for too long.
  • Deadly / Extremely Deadly - A master in lethal combat moves, and can sometimes kill with a single hit
  • Ex Law Enforcement / Ex Prison Guard - Was once a Police Officer, or some other law enforcement profession. His life may be in danger, especially if he used to be a prison guard.
  • Cop Killer - Guilty of murdering a Police Officer. Your prison guards may be unable to restrain themselves when subduing him.
  • Fearless - Not intimidated by the sight of Armed Guards, and is less likely to surrender during a fight
  • Quick / Extremely Quick - An unusually fast runner (normal walking movement will not be affected)
  • Instigator - Sows seeds of discontent in all those nearby. When he causes trouble, nearby prisoners will feel compelled to do the same.
  • Skilled Fighter / Expert Fighter - Can sometimes disarm an opponent during a fight (expert fighters may then take that weapon during the fight)
  • Gang Member - Is an active member of a gang. He will defend his fellow gang members and will harbor hatred towards rival gangs.
  • Preacher - This prisoner is extremely charismatic and is able to convert others to their religion, giving them the Spirituality need.
  • Supplier - This prisoner has a history with Narcotics, they're able to produce narcotics much easier than other inmates.
  • Dealer - This prisoner has a history with Narcotics, they're always able to get the best deal from any contraband trading.
  • Green Thumb - This prisoner is particularly good with plants, they require no training to support Farm Workers and can increase the yield of crops.
  • Foodie - This prisoner prefers to eat interesting and organic meals, they will receive comfort from eating prison-grown produce.

In some cases, the prisoner will have a higher degree of a reputation, e.g. "Extremely Strong" or "Extremely Volatile". In a very small number of cases, you will receive a Legendary Prisoner. These prisoners have several traits (including higher-level ones), making them highly dangerous. Legendary Prisoners will always arrive as Maximum Security, Supermax or Death Row prisoners, and only they may be Gang leaders.

The reputation of a prisoner may be known to you from when he arrives, or it may have to be learned through Confidential Informants or Phone Taps. Except for gang allegiances and the snitch reputation, the reputations of a prisoner will not change throughout the game, unless the "Dynamic Reputations" mutator is enabled.

Choosing The Lobbyist as a warden halves the chance of prisoners coming to your prison being volatile, deadly or fighters. Choosing Rita as a warden halves the likelihood of them being stoical or fearless and doubles the effectiveness of punishments.

Female prisoners generally are less tough and strong than male ones, meaning that their chances to win a fight against a (male) guard will be lower.

Experience[edit | edit source]


The profile also includes an Experience tab showing which programs a prisoner has completed and what kind of activities the prisoner has been doing.

Recent Misconduct[edit | edit source]

A list of the most recent infractions committed by this prisoner, followed by their total time spent in your prison.

Activity[edit | edit source]

This bar comparatively shows what your prisoner has been doing during their stay. Eventually, when the prisoner has been active in your prison for several days, the activity shown should normalize to reflect your Regime settings if the prisoner has been behaving. Apart from the regime activities, "Misconduct" and "Exercise" are possible options displayed here.

Mood[edit | edit source]

The proportion of time your inmate has been either a Good, Bad, or Normal mood. This bar can serve as an indication of Need frequently going unfulfilled.

Condition[edit | edit source]

In this bar, the Status Effects and their distribution are displayed as follows:

  • None
  • Injured
  • Intoxicated
  • KO'd
  • Suppressed
  • Well Fed
  • Tazed
  • Starving

Program[edit | edit source]

If the inmate is currently enrolled in a Reform Program, the status of their progress will be displayed here. The top bar represents the time spent in the Program, while the bottom bar represents the prisoner's chance to pass the course. When the top bar is completely filled, the prisoner will either fail or pass the course.

Reform Program History[edit | edit source]

If the prisoner has attempted to pass Reform Program courses before, a list of them along with the inmate's pass/fail status will be provided.

Time Served[edit | edit source]

The final bar at the bottom of the sheet displays the inmate's sentence time. The total sentence time is shown on the far right, whereas the red bar represents time served. The lighter red and blue bars filling the bottom half of the bar represent when the prisoner will be eligible for Parole.

If the prisoner's remaining sentence reaches 0, he will be released from your prison.

The sentences use a time concept different from the usual game time. A one-year sentence equals 120 game hours (5 game days).

Grading[edit | edit source]


The last sheet shows a listing of the contributions to the Re-offending Chance of this prisoner, along with explanations for the numbers when hovered-over.

Prisoner 'boiling point' factors in punishment/reform/health/security, so prisoners become less likely to misbehave over time, if you successfully punish/reform them, and take care of their health and security. Prisoners with long sentences ahead of them are more likely to cause trouble.

The gradings for all your released prisoners are combined together and shown in the "Prison Grading" view in the upper-left corner of the UI, next to the Bureaucracy button. This screen shows what type of prison you have produced, and how successful you have been. It's only available if at least 10 prisoners have been released.

Punishment[edit | edit source]

A representation of how much restriction was placed on the prisoner during their stay in your prison. Among other factors, how much time they spent in Lockdown or Solitary Confinement plays a role in calculating this number.

Reform[edit | edit source]

If the inmate participated and passed a Reform Program, then this rating is increased.

Security[edit | edit source]

A rating representing how controlled the inmates' movements were, and whether security risks were present. Fights and escapes detract from this, armed lockdown counts towards it.

Health[edit | edit source]

This rating defaults to 0 and moves negative with debilitating effects such as addictions and injury, while it moves right when the inmate is well fed, or exercises.

Estimated Re-Offending Chance[edit | edit source]

This percentage represents the likelihood that when released, the prisoner will commit another crime. This score is affected by all of the above statistics (together with their age, number of prior convictions, etc.) both positively and negatively (with addictions having a particular negative effect). Depending on your Policy settings, this number determines if the prisoner is able to be Paroled early.

Despite the name, the number shown here is the actual re-offending chance as used by the game. E.g. a prisoner being released early due to Parole and has a displayed re-offending chance of 10 % will actually re-offend in 1 of 10 cases.

Abilities & Activities[edit | edit source]

  • Prisoners can attack and fight other prisoners and guards. More violent prisoners may even try to kill people.
  • Prisoners can attack, vandalize and destroy prison property.
  • Prisoners will attempt to escape if there is an open path to the edge of the map.
  • Prisoners may attempt to dig Escape Tunnels to create an open path to the end of the map if they have the 'Clever' trait. Simply using one fence will not stop them so use multiple fences of {{Perimeter Wall]]s.
  • Prisoners will have a decoy set in their bed while digging during the night. Prisoner's dummies will still display the typical 'ZZZZ' to indicate they are sleeping. Possible to find during a shakedown at this time.
  • Prisoners will attempt to steal, use and trade contraband whenever possible.
  • Prisoners will fulfill their needs if the rooms and equipment are available and if they are allowed into the appropriate areas that contain them.
  • Prisoners will heal overnight for minor injuries
  • Prisoners will have their sentence count down at an accelerated rate (five game-days being worth one year of a sentence). When served; the prisoner's nameplate will flash RELEASED and they will exit the prison if there is a clear path.
    • Released prisoners will not trespass anywhere and can thus leave through any available path, including through restricted areas.
    • While you can punish them (solitary or lock down) manually, they will not be affected by it and will exit the prison.
  • Prisoners can participate in reform programs.
  • Prisoners will have reputation, some of which directly influence their behavior and/or combat prowess.
  • Prisoners can join and/or form a gang

Gallery[edit | edit source]