Winning and Failure Conditions

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Like most games, there are goals that the player must achieve in order to make progress in the game. However, there are also conditions that the player can meet that will result in them losing the game. Prison Architect is a game that has such goals and failure conditions. In this article, all possible win and fail conditions will be listed, including those from the Campaigns. Additionally, this article will serve as a guide to those who may be stuck at a certain part of a campaign.


At this point, the only campaign made available is the Deathrow campaign. It is only partially finished, but the first chapter of the campaign serves as a short and brief tutorial on how to play the game, while walking the player through the execution of Edward for the murder of his wife Susan and her lover Anthony. To complete the goals in the first chapter, the player must follow the instructions given to them by The CEO. Otherwise, the player will be unable to progress. There are currently no failure conditions that the player can meet while playing through the tutorial.


If the player meets any of the failure conditions listed below, they will no longer have control over their prison. Instead of the game simply ending, the player is still allowed to view their prison in its final moments. This is similar to how Dungeon Keeper operated when the player met with failure; they would become a ghost and could watch their dungeon crumble. If the player fails because of allowing too many deaths, he will even be imprisoned himself and thus being able to walk around in his own prison.

Death and escape counters alert unaware players. These are especially helpful in avoiding a potential failure condition. Additionally, if a player starts getting close to failure, a game over timer will start counting down which further alerts the player that they need to act quickly.

With the Legal Defense research, the Lawyer becomes able to avert the Game Over event once per game.

In sandbox games, enabling these failure conditions is optional, but selected by default.


If you let a riot run for too long, the government will be forced to step in and take over your prison. In this event you will be sacked, and the National Guards will be deployed to retake your prison by force.

This is a very violent end to your prison because every inmate who is acting aggressively while the soldiers are present will be shot and killed. Most prisoners will surrender to the soldiers, but the soldiers do not shout warnings. Prisoners that do not surrender will be killed.

This failure condition is activated after a riot has happened for six in-game hours. Once activated, you will have another six hours to stop the riot.


If you have a negative bank balance and a negative cash-flow, you are bankrupt. You will have 24 hours to put in place a financial rescue package before being sacked.

Once per game, the Government Bailout grant may help you out.


Too many deaths in a single day will trigger a warning. If more deaths occur the next day you will be sacked. You will then be convicted of Criminal Negligence, and will spend time within your own jail as a prisoner.

This results in you, the architect, becoming a prisoner of your own creation while it runs on its own (Prisoner Mode).

This failure condition is triggered if you have 20 deaths in one day. The CEO will call at midnight, informing you that if five more people die the next day, it will be game over.


Too many escapes in a single day is a PR disaster waiting to happen. If more escapes occur the next day you will be sacked.

This failure condition is triggered if you have 20 escapes in one day. The CEO will call at midnight, informing you that if five more people escape the next day, it will be game over.

Warden Deaths

This failure condition is triggered when you get too many Wardens killed. The CEO will give you a call notifying you that it's becoming difficult to find new wardens to hire due to the fear of death while working in your prison. If you get another warden killed after the CEO calls you, you get fired and lose the game.

Re-offending Paroles

This failure condition is met when you give an early release to prisoners who end up re-offending by committing new crimes. If you release too many re-offenders, The CEO will give you a call to notify you that it needs to get fixed quickly. If you continue to release prisoners with a high re-offending rate, you'll get yourself fired and lose the game.

Wrongful Executions

This failure condition is met when you execute prisoners with a clemency chance higher than that of the state tolerance, and the prisoner is found to have been innocent. After the first 2 times, a call comes from the CEO warning you not to do it again. If it happens again, you get fired and lose the game.