Since Alpha 20, Prison Architect includes a lose condition in which you are sentenced to serve jail time in your own jail. In this mode you lose control over your prison and instead gain direct control of a single inmate.

How is this event triggered, and what's an easy strategy to trigger it intentionally, preferably in a way which keeps the prison functional so you can experience prison-life authentically?

  • If you haven't been able to trigger it manually there is a save in this state in Steam Workshop
    – Rory
    Aug 31, 2014 at 23:39

4 Answers 4


The Introversion video blog says a warning will be issued if "...you have 20 deaths occur..." but they don't say how many escapes will trigger it.

You then get a number of hours to rectify the situation, if you have more deaths/escapes in that warning time then you are fired and put in your own prison.

Triggering the failure condition is going to be harder than it sounds. If your guards have tasers then tend to stop escapes quite quickly, if you try just leaving the front door open. An alternative would be to have your Yard next to an outer wall and then, during yard time, have a workman install a normal door in the outside wall. Lock open the door and see how many make a break for it. At least by using a door you can then lock it shut again.

Another suggestion would be to start a riot and then let armed guards go "weapons free", that should cause the body count to rise.

  • This answer is not really helpful. Could you please be more specific? How many deaths is a "significant" number? When it isn't a constant, what influences it? Also, please answer the second part of my question "what's an easy strategy to trigger it intentionally". By the way: the video you posted is the same I posted in the original question.
    – Philipp
    Jun 6, 2014 at 14:27
  • @Philipp - I've updated my answer with some suggestions. I have to admit I've not tried triggering the failure condition myself but I think I'll give it a go to see how hard it is to do.
    – Tony
    Jun 6, 2014 at 14:42
  • I would recommend you delete your answer for now (which actually just hides it), try it out yourself and then edit and un-delete your answer.
    – Philipp
    Jun 6, 2014 at 14:49
  • @Tony Please post any sources you have including first hand experience where necessary. This way the OP can see where you or somewhere else can verify your answer.
    – Cole Busby
    Jun 17, 2014 at 17:07
  • According to the PA wiki : "Too many deaths in a single day will trigger a warning. If more deaths occur the next day you will be sacked. You will then be convicted of Criminal Negligence, and will spend time within your own jail as a prisoner."
    – Epoc
    Jun 19, 2014 at 6:32

You can edit your savefile to start the prisoner mode:

Open the save file you want to be a prison in (.prison) press ctrl+f for search and type in "conditions" go two down find the line just underneath:

BEGIN TooManyDeaths END

and add the following within it:

BEGIN TooManyDeaths Value 5 State Warning END

Next time you load you join as a prisoner.


Now with v1.0, you can play escape mode, which is exactly this, with the exception of being able to escape, fight, and build up your stats. You have to go into the menu and then choose which prison you want to escape from, you can escape from your own built prison, or you can go onto the steam workshop and choose a prison from there.

Also, if you want to become a criminal due to being charged with "Criminal Negligence", you'd have to obtain 20 deaths in your prison, then the warden calls you and gives you a warning, if you obtain 5 more deaths that day, you're done, you lose control of the prison and you're now a prisoner.

If you want an easy way to do this, you can setup a yard surrounded by fences, have ONE opening and leave it insecure (so they'll try to run out), but when they do, have an armed guard there and have free fire enabled, that'll get you fired fairly easily.


With the 1.0 release you now can play the game in Escape Mode which is exactly this - you play as a prisoner in your own prison (or one from the Steam community).

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