10 Prison Architect Beginner Tips
Contraband are items that your prisoners have stolen/smuggled in, and which are considered illegal. There are four categories.
Weapons – Dangerous to all. An armed prisoner who participates in a riot would be a very real danger to your staff and other prisoners.
Drugs – Do not seem to have any visible negative effect (other than being illegal)
Tools – Used for escaping your prison.
Luxury – Not dangerous at all, but it is still contraband.
Contraband is obtained from a number of sources. Family members could smuggle it in during a visit, the prisoner himself might smuggle it in when arriving to your prison, or it was stolen from one of your rooms. For example, a prisoner working in a workshop could obtain heavy-duty tools to escape with, or your canteen’s forks could be stolen for weapons.
You can order a number of possible searches, targeting an individual and his cell, an entire cell block ,or your whole prison. The larger the scale of your search the more unhappy your prisoners could be. Searching a prisoner’s cell is never as bad as searching a prisoner, especially if he is innocent.
Depending on the contraband found during a search a prisoner could be put in Isolation or Lockdown. During a search you may also stumble on tunnels, which gives you a good pretext to search the prisoner who previously lived in the cell.
7. About the Prisoners
There are three types of prisoners. Min, Medium and High Sec. Each Prisoner type offers you different rewards, for every day they stay at your prison. 50$ for MinSec, 100$ for MediumSec and 150$ for HighSec. It’s not just about the money though. MinSec prisoners are normally very calm, and you will have a hard time forcing them into a riot. HighSec are the most dangerous, as they tend to be the most murderous, making them explode will be much easier than with Medium and LowSec.
You can make these three types of prisoners share a Cell Block, and if you keep everything under control you should have no problem with HighSec Prisoners either. However, HighSec prisoners may bring in very dangerous contraband, so you will have to regularly check them for firearms and other dangerous tools, or they might cause a serious problem for your prison.
You can decide what types of prisoners will come in, and while there are different types of prisoners a LowSec prisoner could stay in prison for as long as a HighSec prisoner, simply because he might had committed numerous smaller crimes.
If you managed to build an efficient and secure prison then having HighSec prisoners only, for maximum profit, could be the way to go.
8. Escape 101
Prisoners will build tunnels in an attempt to escape your prison. They will usually try to take the shortest route possible, which means that they could dig their tunnel right next to your patrolling officer, but it is just as likely that they could exploit an area without any guard patrols.
The best way to stop such an escape from happening is to perform prison cell block searches. If you do not want to anger your prisoners start a Cell Block search when all your prisoners are in the yard. This will tag only their cells/toilets, so you won’t have any incidents of unfair searching. If there was a tunnel your guards will find it.
Making periodical searches, ever two or three days, may be a good idea, if you are afraid that your prisoners are up to something.
A good way of delaying an escape attempt it to build a perimeter fence around your prison. Since a prisoner needs to reach the outer wall having a fence will force him to dig for longer, thus giving you more time to discover the tunnel.
Given the opportunity prisoners may also use other methods to escape your prison. They may get a hold on keys, allowing them to leave the prison at an opportune time, or they may use a clog-up in the door system to run through when nobody is watching. It is very important to sort through the different rooms and areas in your prison, and underline which of them prisoners can have access to, and not (this can be done through Deployment Mode). I had two escape attempts once, when my prisoners, working as cleaners, were allowed OUTSIDE the wall, in order to reach the Administrative Offices, in order to clean them up. Of course, as soon as they left the perimeter they made a dash for the map’s edge, but my guards were faster. Pay careful attention to your Deployment map!