I can't seem to work out the difference between high-, medium- and low-risk prisoners. I can see that high-risk prisoners are more likely to be violent, but do I get more money for taking them in? Or is there no benefit at all to accepting them?

  • 3
    Give high-risk prisoners a chance, they're people too!
    – kotekzot
    May 1, 2013 at 17:15
  • 9
    My prison is solely a profit-making enterprise! :)
    – victoriah
    May 1, 2013 at 17:17
  • I'm also 100% high risk prisoners because you get $1000 each
    – BlueWizard
    Jul 8, 2015 at 20:30

5 Answers 5


At present I would argue that there are no long term benefits to accepting higher risk inmates, although there is a small short-term benefit.

Alpha 30 changed the way you get paid for your prisoners. You now get a fixed $150 per day for each prisoner regardless of their security level. You get a larger one time payment for higher-level prisoners but after that you receive the same $150 you would receive for a minimum security prisoner. Because of this there is not really a risk/reward trade off like there used to be when you got paid more for higher levels of prisoners, just more risk.

I usually start by only accepting minimum security prisoners. Once you have things set up medium security prisoners usually are not too much trouble as long as you keep their needs satisfied and any prisoners with a "Snitch" or "Ex law enforcement" reputation in protective custody away from them in. Maximum security prisoners on the other had can be a big headache. Especially if you get a "Legendary" prisoner in, they will cause problems; you will most likely have deaths, eventually your guards will kill him and/or he will kill some of them.

If you need some quick cash you might want to accept some maximum security prisoners since you get $1000 each for them (as opposed to $300/$500 for minimum/medium) but long-term I would avoid them unless you want to increase the challenge of running your prison.


As of Alpha 15

You now receive a varying amount of money per prisoner, depending on their risk level.

  • A low risk prisoner yields only $50 per day.
  • A medium risk prisoner yields $100 per day.
  • A high risk prisoner yields $150 per day.

Do note that this is subject to change, as this is a key factor in balancing - higher risk prisoners inevitably cause more destruction and as such also cost more in maintenance.

Alpha <= 14

There is no financial benefit. Currently, the different prisoner risk levels only affect your difficulty, and thus your bragging rights if you get a working prison going. If you can get a good prison for high risk prisoners working, you're pretty much good to go for the next updates!

Do note that this is still an early Alpha. This needs a lot of balancing to get just right (because the more violent prisoners naturally cost more), and an arbitrary amount right now would be prone to abuse by, say, parking prisoners in the delivery area to get easy money.

For now, all prisoners result in the same amount of money, and cause varying amounts of mayhem.

  • 1
    Thinking this further, there currently is indeed a financial benefit to low risk prisoners, thanks to their lower destruction, lower needs and being simply less prone to attacking left and right.
    – user98085
    May 1, 2013 at 17:37
  • 1
    Implied or Implicit benefit/cost would be a more appropriate term but agree
    – BlueTrin
    May 2, 2013 at 9:08
  • As of Alpha 15, you now get different grants based on risk levels.
    – user9983
    Dec 7, 2013 at 4:14
  • Do you get a daily grant for death row inmates?
    – AaronLS
    Oct 12, 2015 at 8:02

From Alpha 15, there are different financial rewards for the three classes of prisoner:

  • Minimum Security (Grey jumpsuits) $50 per prisoner per day
  • Medium Security (Orange jumpsuits) $100 per prisoner per day
  • Maximum Security (Red jumpsuits) $150 per prisoner per day

Currently, it is possible to exploit the ability to change prisoner security levels to profit:

This is achieved by accepting low risk, minimum security prisoners less likely to trash the place and then upgrading them to high security manually. This results in the higher reward being given for the low risk prisoners.


Maximum security prisoners tend to have longer sentences, so your prison will stay fuller longer.


I wouldn't worry about taking on low risk prisoners to avoid the fights, riots and damage to the prison you built in the first 24 hours. They may all hold hands, sing and support each other in their day to day struggles in prison, but they are usually gone quicker than you can put the budget they provide to good use.

If you do end up taking on a mix of high-risk prisoners, I would suggest keeping them separate by using deployment to mark certain areas as low, medium and high risk to separate the men from the boys. Failing that, just put metal detectors in any place a weapon could be found and a guard nearby to confiscate any goodies that bleep.


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