I have a cell block with 25 cells but none of my prisoners will move there from the holding cell. I have working power and water beds and toilets they are separate from each other it has all the requirements why wont it work? Any ideas?

4 Answers 4


This behavior is caused by cell quality : some prisoners do not diserve any cell based on cell quality and their behavior.

When you go to "Policy" tab you can choose to enable or disable the cell quality ratings.

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This is the description on hoover :

Use Cell Quality

If enabled, Prisoners will only be assigned to a cell of a quality they deserve, based on their behavior. Poorly behaved prisoners will never be assigned to a high quality cell, even if there are no other cells available.
If disabled, prisoners will be assigned to any cell regardless of quality, but but prisoners in cells of lower quality than average will be more resentful. Prisoners will still be upgraded to higher quality cells if they behave well.

You have a few solutions :

  • Disable the Cells Quality Ratings
  • Build new low quality cells
  • Downgrade you cells quality (remove windows, TV, bookshelves, chairs...)
  • Wait until you prisoners behave better and deserve a better room (bad idea, they will fight a lot if they are unhappy in an holding cell).

If you actually have defined cells, guards will eventually move prisoners into them from the holding cell. If this isn't happening, you may not have enough guards.

If you have free guards and they're still not moving, you can select each prisoner and manually order him into a cell.

  • I don't think you can manually order prisoners to move around, at least I can't :) Selecting a prisoner and right-clicking to move them somewhere else does nothing. How do you manage it?
    – Tony
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 23:32
  • @Tony You can't manually order prisoners around like with staff but ordering them into a different, unocupied, valid cell will assign them that cell instead. Commented May 11, 2014 at 12:21

Cancelling the holding cell room designation will force the prisoners out of the holding cell and allocate them a free cell each.

Once you have more prisoners arriving than you have cells for you can mark the room as a holding cell again.


In newer versions, if the prisoner isn't entitled to a room level close to your available rooms, they won't be transferred.

Basically, if you have all high-level (luxurious) cells, your new transfers won't be allowed into them.

Make sure you have some lower-level cells for your transfers until they've had enough good behavior (days without incident) to be allowed into your nicer cells.

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