10 Prison Architect Beginner Tips
Prison Architect was an adventure for me, and for my guards, and lastly for my prisoners. I cannot count how many riots I had to suppress, how difficult it was for me to manage even a small prison, and during some games how to make a profit. All of that is behind me, especially since I had to do a bit of troubleshooting of my own, when I was faced with a number of unknown or strange problems. This short Tips List aims at providing answers to many different questions regarding Prison Architect, and I hope that in the process you will have a much easier time playing this game.
Prison Architect: 10 Tips
1. I do not have the time to build my prison/I am overflowing with prisoners!
Building a prison takes times. One day (24 hours) is barely enough to build your structures and your prisoners arrive at the very moment you might still be laying out the cable work, pipes or bringing in the furniture. In short, it is a complete mess, but there is one simple way of solving this problem, turning off Continuous Intake.
You might had noticed that your prisoners are STILL arriving, even though you turned off Continuous Intake at the start of the game. Why is that? The answer is rather simple, enter your prisoner tab and close the intake on all prisoner categories. That will disable any incoming “waves” of prisoners, and you can enable or disable them at any time. Just remember, prisoners arrive at 8 AM, every day, so if you are unsure whether your prison will have the space for new prisoners you can close the intake of prisoners at 7:59 AM and you will still be fine.
Turning off Prisoner Intake lets you handle a specific number of prisoners (so you do not go over capacity) and you get to build your starting prison in complete peace. During one game I had to wait 4 whole days to finishing building my small prison complex before I could let in any prisoners.
How much staff you can hire is connected to how much income you produce. In other words, it may be impossible to have enough guards when you first open your prison, HOWEVER as soon as more prisoners arrive you will be free to hire many more guards/staff/administrators, in an instant.
2. I do not have any money!
There are a few ways of approaching this problem. Firstly, money is generated through your prisoner numbers. Depending on the Security level of your prisoners (low, medium, high) each prisoner will give you a specific amount of cash at midnight ($50, $100, $150). Of course, that means that having only high security prisoners should be the most profitable option, but if you do not run a tight ship, and you lack in actual security, then do not try your luck with high security prisoners. Medium security prisoners are “just right”, if you plan on running a pretty standard prison.
If you are still building your prison and you run out of money order your workers to cut down all the local trees and sell the lumber. This is a way of getting a bit of extra cash quickly, not the most efficient method by any means.
Lastly, a workshop. You will have to research prison labor before you can build a workshop, and then you will still have to place plenty of machines to make your business venture worthwhile. After you build your workshop you still need to add “Work” hours on the schedule for your prisoners, and select which jobs can your prisoners perform (through deployment). Produced goods in a workshop may be sold manually or they will be sold automatically during the night (Midnight for License Plates, 1 AM for Wooden Planks).
The only other way to earn money is to take on Grants. Grants (especially in the Alpha) can give you a lot of extra cash that will allow you to construct a small yet functioning prison. Some Grants will give you an additional reward once you complete their associated objectives (usually completing these objectives is like a checklist of having a basic prison).