Start With Low Security Prisoners
This is probably the most important tip on the list and that is to start off with low security prisoners. Even though you get less money per prisoner for taking them in, it is recommended to start with them so that you can learn how the game works. This is because Prison Architect has many different twists and turns to it, some of which you will still find after playing the game for a couple of hours, so low security prisoners allow you to learn the game whilst there is a low chance of a riot or all of your prisoners escaping. This just allows you to get a feel of the game and see what works and what doesn’t.
Pausing Time And Using The Planning Tool
One of the best features in the game is the pausing time feature. Once you just start to build a new prison, the first thing you should do is pause time. This will allow you to start planning and building your prison without the fear of inmates arriving too quickly before you have things laid out. However building won’t start until you play time again so pausing just allows you to lay out what you want and where you want certain things. Also when you get further into the game and have more prisoners, multiple things can happen at once. For example if a riot started, you could pause time and then this will allow you to plan what you are going to do, like call in the riot police and call a bangup of the prisoners.
A great feature to use with pausing time is the planning tool. This tool allows you to sketch out where you want rooms/areas of the prison to be so you can see what size rooms you need and what it would look like. This is best used to plan how you are going to link certain rooms or how you could squeeze in an extra little cell in a block.
Put A Fence Around The Prison
Prisoners will try to escape so one thing you can do to deter them is to put a fence around the entire prison. This will deter them slightly from tunnelling out from their cell and then under the walls. Fence is okay to be used at the start as it’s the cheapest option, however if you have the money then upgrading to perimeter walls are the best option as they are thicker and more robust than fence. Another thing which is good to do is to extend the fence/perimeter wall to the road and close of the section of road with road gates and fence. This will make your prison completely secure as guards will have to open the road gate to let people in or out, which again stops prisoners from escaping if they have managed to make it that far.
Use The Grants
This feature allows you to get money for completing certain requirements such as building an office or expanding your prisoner count. This feature is useful as it is free money if you meet the requirements and since you need to build these rooms anyway, what is the harm in doing them? However the best thing about these is that if you don’t know what to do or what you should be building, these grants will help you decide on that as they are given a logical order.
Put Metal Detectors Everywhere
Don’t want your guards/staff/prisoners getting shanked? Then place metal detectors everywhere. These will alert guards nearby to prisoners who have contraband on them like scissors or spoons. This is helpful as it means that if there is a riot, less people are likely to have weapons and if people want to escape then they will need to get a spoon past the metal detector. The best place to place these objects are going into or out of the canteen and yard. The metal detectors do need a guard positioned close by so that they can search the prisoners who trigger the machine and take the contraband off of them.
Do A Search “Shakedown” Frequently
Prisoners will try and hide contraband all over the prison (especially if they are normal security or higher) so if your threat level is low then do a search “shakedown” of the whole prison as you are guaranteed to find a whole range of contraband being hidden. You will want to do this every few days so that the contraband problem does not get out of control. However, don’t do a shakedown when your prisoners are already quite angry as doing a shakedown annoys the prisoners quite a lot, so doing a shakedown when they are already mad means that they could be triggered into a riot.
Make Your Guards Work
Your guards are always working, but this will make them be more focused on certain areas. Firstly you will need to research deployment and get it unlocked before you can do this so work on researching deployment first! Now you have it unlocked you will be able to click on the deployment tab. This allows you to set up patrols for your guards and station your guards in certain rooms. You will want to set up patrols in every room of your prison, especially in the cell blocks and canteen and possibly even the perimeter of your prison as these are the most important areas. This will allow guards to always be ready to respond to anything and make sure everything in the prison is in order.
So there you have it, those are my tips for Prison Architect. Now you can go and have fun playing the game like a pro! Fancy something different? Then why not give Jungle Heat a go?