I have some recurrent issues with protective custody prisoners; I built a dedicated wing (marked as protective custody only) but nevertheless:

  • when I "promote" a prisoner to protective custody, I have to manually assign him to a cell - otherwise he keeps his old cell.
  • if a protective-custody prisoner ends up in solitary, at the end of the punishment he is relocated to the "normal" wing instead of protective custody.

Does this issue arise from the fact that I have some cell blocks marked as shared, and maybe shared areas are viable for PC prisoners?

  • Sounds like a bug. Protected prisoners should automatically go to areas designated for them. Do you get this on multiple maps?
    – rivermont
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 12:00
  • I have tried only on one map up to now.
    – dipanda
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 12:39
  • Try some other maps. If it's a bug, it should only appear on the one map.
    – rivermont
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 15:20
  • I have also noticed this in the latest version too, temporary workaround is to include a couple of PC only solitary cells
    – Rory
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 19:08
  • I've had problems with this, to the point that I've turned off failure conditions, I'd manually assign prisoners to a protective custody area (which is then surrounded by staff only paths) yet the second they want to work elsewhere, decide that the canteen isn't as good as a normal one, etc they end up back with the general population. Then get killed. The only thing I've found to keep them in the area is to create a solitary room large than I normally would (one square) and give them a permanent punishment.
    – MattR
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 7:53

2 Answers 2


Remember that room quality is generally considered more important in the game than assigning a prisoner to a specific wing instead of a shared wing. In other words: Your protective custody cells are too nice, and your prisoner does not yet "deserve" this quality of cell.

Ways to "fix" this is by creating assigning a security level to each of your cell blocks, including holding cells. This way a prisoner will get assigned to a qualitative better cell in the correct wing. Creating a holding cell for Protective Custody only, while there are no holding cells for "shared" will work too.

Keep in mind that a prisoner will only be more content if a cell is "better than average". If you let all your prisoners live in quality "10" cells, this is the average, and they will not be more content than living all in quality "4" cells.


This was a newly introduced bug (#0010827), which appeared in version 6 and was resolved in version 7. As speculated it was related to prisoners being assigned cells by quality then by deployment category.

Developers advised that in order to workaround in update six without upgrading:

... you can reduce (or add more variety in) the quality of your cells in protected custody and death row zones.

Suggesting that as long as some cells have more quality improving items (TVs, external windows, bookcases etc.) than others distribution should work more effectively.

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