Security Sectors are graded on facility quality and inmate privileges, on a scale from 0-250
All Sectors and are graded on the quality of accessible facilities and inmate privileges as set via Regime or Policy, on a scale from 0 to 250 (shown in Logistics -> Min/Med/Max/SuperMax Sec Grading). In the Cleared for Transfer DLC, prisoners will consider the sector grading during the decision tree for applying to a lower security sector.
Since good behavior is required to meet the criteria for moving to a lower security sector, it is recommended that higher security sectors are built with an increasingly lower grading. Minimum security should have the highest sector grade with each subsequent security sector decreasing progressively with SuperMax having the lowest grading. This doesn't mean needs should be ignored, simply that the quality of the facilities should be lower and inmate privileges more restrictive.
Note that the sector grading of the Protective Custody, Death Row, and Insane (only withPsych Ward: Warden's Edition DLC) sectors has no functional value since these prisoners are not eligible for transfer.
The following inmate privileges contribute to the sector grading. The Policy reports UI will allow disabling access to most privileges and visitation access, however access to other facilities (yards, common rooms, etc.) must be done through zoning. Restricting access by zoning off pathways will not effect the grading. If the facility itself is marked as shared, it will contribute to the grading regardless of whether prisoners can actually walk to the facility or not. In order to restrict a facility contributing to a grading, it must be zoned to a specific security sector. This can create issues for shops (see below in #Strategy).
- (+20) Access to Visitation (controlled via Policy reports)
- (+10) Mail delivery (controlled via Policy reports)
- (+10) Work access (controlled via Policy reports)
- (+15) Education / Programs Access (controlled via Policy reports)
- (+20) 2 or more meals a day
- (+5) Ample free time (20%). At least 5 hours of the day must be set to Free Time or Work/Free Time in Regime
- (+10) Extra free time (30%). At least 8 hours of the day must be set to Free Time or Work/Free Time in Regime. This stacks with Ample Free Time 20%, so having 8 hours of free time provides a total bonus of (+15).
- (+15) Yard access
- (+10) Gym access (must be controlled via zoning)
- (+10) Shop access (must be controlled via zoning)
- (+10) Common Room access (must be controlled via zoning)
- (+10) Hot showers. Applies to any shower head in a security zone. A single hot water shower head will apply this grade increase. Note that cold showers increase suppression and this should be considered in sector design.
- (+10) 10 hours or more of sleep
The following facilities are considered in a sector's grade: Yard, Common Room, Canteen, Classroom, Gymnasium, Cell, Dormitory. The quality measure for a particular facility is the average quality (rounded down) of all of that type of facility accessible to the security sector. For example, consider 3 common rooms that are graded at 9, 6, and 8 all of which are accessible to MinSec. The sector grading for MinSec common room quality would be 7. A quality tier will also be shown for each facility (Very Low, Low, Average, High, Very High, Supreme), however this appears to be a purely cosmetic feature and only the overall grade score of the sector influences a prisoner's decision to apply for transfers to lower sectors.
Dormitories always count towards grade. If a sector does not have dormitories it will forfeit the potential 10 points in grading. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since dormitories work best in lower security sectors (see #Strategy).
- 0-15 Cell quality
- 0-10 Dormitory quality
- 0-10 Yard quality
- 0-10 Gymnasium quality
- 0-10 Common Room quality
- 0-10 Canteen quality
- 0-10 Classroom quality
The following conditions will reduce the sector grading.
- (-10/-20) High risk (death and injuries). This applies to prisoners for the given sector. It does not matter which the zone the event occurred in, only if the prisoner injured/killed was of the given sector. The threshold for -10 vs -20 appears to be less than 10 injuries/deaths in 24 hours. That is to say any injury or death will trigger the -10 grade and only after 10 or more injures or deaths will the grade be decreased by another 10 (to -20).
When trying to increase a sector grading, the strategy is fairly straightforward. Simply improve existing facilities or build ones that are lacking.
If, however, the goal is to encourage good behavior by making transfers to lower security more tempting, a more nuanced approach is required. In this scenario, higher security sectors will need to be designed with lower quality facilities. This creates a conundrum since the prisoners in higher security sectors are more likely to become aggressive when denied needs. Thus a good strategy is to provide the appropriate equipment to these prisoners without providing the appropriate facilities.
For example, when discussing a possibly strategy for a MaxSec wing, a standard 2x3 cell will accommodate a bed, toilet, weights bench, and a radio. This provides an overall cell grading of 2 (very low) while satisfying both the exercise and entertainment needs without building a yard or high-rated common room. A common room might still be needed if if Well-Being Programs are allowed (for the Alcoholics Group Therapy program), but should only include chairs to keep the grading low.
Dormitories are always counted towards grading, whether any have been zoned in a sector or not. This is an easy way to reduce 10 points on grading in higher sectors since they are generally less tolerant to dormitories anyway.
A shared facility contributes it's grading to every sector regardless of whether prisoners can access the facility or not. The only way to restrict a facility is to zone it to a specific sector. Thus shared facilities should be avoided (with the exception of visitation) since zoning is the only way to control access. Common Rooms can be placed inside cell blocks. Yards can be placed in the center of multiple blocks or built so that they are only accessible through gated hallways (to allow for zoning). As mentioned, visitation can be a shared zone (along with the library and mail room) since visitation and prison labour can be disabled through the Policy Reports UI on a per sector basis. Canteens should also be shared since they tend to be space inefficient due to their size and limited usage throughout the day. When restricting the shop, you must ensure at least 2 sectors are zoned on two separate shops. Since the workers of the shop still need time to buy from the shop (which they cannot do when they are working), you need to make sure another shop is open for them to fulfill this need. A good approach, for example with Min and MedSec, is to stagger the regime so that MinSec has some Freetime (with no work) while MedSec is working and also vice-versa. This way MinSec can buy from the MedSec shop.
A Phone Booth will fulfill the Family need when access to visitation is revoked. When aiming to keep a sector grading low, the phone booth should be placed in a yard (if one is provided) or just randomly in hallways or canteens. When placed in a cell or in a common room, it will increase the grade. This approach applies to just about all equipment. Prisoners will use equipment wherever they find it, so put it in places where it doesn't increase the grade of the room (ex. put radios in the yard, put weights benches in the common room, etc.). Wide-spaced hallways (especially when weather is enabled) are a perfect place for equipment.
Despite providing a +10 grade increase to the sector, work access should always be allocated for Cleaning Cupboard and Laundry (with the exception of SuperMax and perhaps MaxSec) since this reduces the cost overhead of hiring extra Janitors.
When looking to reduce/increase a sector grading, facility access always trumps facility quality. For example, one gymnasium with full quality rewards a +20 sector grading (+10 for access to the gym and another +10 for the quality of the gym). Building a gym with minimum requirements would grant a +10. Compare the cost of a basic 7x7 gym with building a full quality gym and the cost-benefit becomes apparent. From a grading perspective, controlling access is always cheaper than controlling quality.
SuperMax tends to be the real challenge. There are several common approaches to designing SuperMax. Some prefer a SuperMax wing that kills prisoners with impunity via freefire from armed guards, permanent lockdown, or literally boxing in prisoners inside four walls and no doors until they starve. Others prefer a more lax approach and accept guards will need to be restaffed regularly as SuperMax prisoners kill them. A well-designed SuperMax wing that doesn't involve the regular death of either prisoners or guards while still fulfilling prisoner needs is arguably one of the hardest challenges in the game. Since sector design is outside the scope of sector grading, it will be ignored here. A good strategy for sector grading SuperMax is to ensure the MaxSec is not a bare bones almost 0-grade sector so that SuperMax has an incentive to transfer down. If MinSec is a 220-250 sector, MedSec might be 150-170, MaxSec 90-120, and SuperMax can be designed to be a 40-60.