In Prison Architect, there is a particular nasty combination of traits that can make a prisoner essentially impossible to jail conventionally. It's a combination of the following:

  • Fearless making suppression using Armed guards or Snipers not work to control their violence.
  • Stoic making punishment (such as permanent lockdown or solitary) not work to suppress them either, or, alternatively, Gang Leader making permanent punishment a poor decision due to the rather large amount of tension this causes, leading to riots.
  • Volatile leading to violence even if all a prisoner's needs are met perfectly, and there are no targets for violence inciting them (e.g. Ex-cops and the like).
  • Deadly making any contact with guards, other prisoners, or other personnel when they decide to act up turn into murders with surprising regularity.
  • Bonus points for Tough which can cause Tasers to fail, making it more likely the prisoner gets in a few punches to abuse Deadly.

It is not that rare for a prisoner with a bad combo like this to show up. Special Legendary prisoners quite often tick all the boxes.

Each year in prison architect is, I believe, 5 days. Murder is punished with a 25-year sentence extension. AFAIK, prisoners cannot die (from old age, that is). This means a deadly prisoner should have, at most, a tantrum near any other human being and a successful crit roll once every 125 days, or they will rack up murders faster than they can serve time on them, never actually getting released.

Of course, it's trivial to engineer a situation where eventually the prisoner ends up killed. Walling them in or having them get repeatedly shot by freefire snipers or armed guards are both ways to achieve this. That's how I've been doing it lately, but it seems a bit off. I'm supposed to be running a prison, not a firing squad.

The real, proper solution to dealing with these murdermachines would be to somehow construct a situation where they get the minimum possible contact with other human beings. That is, give them their own personal canteen, yard, and cell, their personal cell block or PCB, and use remote doors to control their movement. Basically, handle them as you would handle a Velociraptor: Use only remotely controlled devices to dictate their movement, having supporting staff like janitors only enter their rooms when the prisoner is not present. Unfortunately, to handle the endless property destruction, the prison manager can't just setup the cell to gas the prisoner with tranquilizer or anything that convenient: they have to use these little AI units called 'guards'.

Said guards haven't got the memo that going anywhere near a dangerous inmate is a suicidal life choice. Instead of firing their tasers through the cell door at the inmate, guards often want to open said door (or, if it's a remote door, wait at the door for it to open or get smashed by the prisoner, who can, for some reason, punch out a thick solid metal door). Worse, after missing or getting their taser resisted, guards foolishly attempt to engage the deadly prisoner in melee.

Worse, staff won't consider closed remote doors as pathable, or realize that a remote door is about to be closed. Meaning that loads of expensive staff members get stuck at the door. Pressure sensors canont distinguish between staff and prisoners, so it's not like I can build them an emergency exit that doesn't also serve as an entrance. Nor is there a way to schedule the janitors, cooks, and repairmen to only enter the various rooms of the PCB at specific times so they don't get themselves trapped in there with the madperson. Nor is there any type of device that sends an ON/OFF signal when there is/isn't a prisoner in the room so that when the prisoner fails to obey the schedule, even if the staff would work, they can still end up trapped.

I've tried automated remote doors. Either I'm 'doing-it-wrong', but they just seem to cause more pain than they prevent without door control systems, which defeats the point.

Anyone ever got one of these prisoners to actually serve their sentence? Got any tips?

  • 1
    I wonder if you could use automated doors and logic circuits to put the prisoner in some kind of infinite loop where they constantly switch between two routes.until they pass out.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 9:44
  • @Philipp I think you unfortunately cannot do such a thing. The routes are pre-computed: upon encountering a locked (remote) door, any person in the game will wait at the door until it is opened by a guard or door servo. An encounter with a wall will re-path them, not a door. In fact, you can run your prison "peacefully" like that by having hundreds of people stuck behind doors. Until there's one deadly prisoner, that is.
    – aphid
    Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


The solution5 to a proper supermax involves barred walls and armed guard patrols. In a regular setup, the following staff can get into contact with legendary prisoners:

  • Guards: When attempting to quell their random raging rampages.
  • Cooks: When delivering meals to their canteen.
  • Janitors: When cleaning their cells.
  • Workmen: When repairing the stuff these prisoners destroy1.

An example design for a single cell is below to illustrate the point.

x    Secure door
d    Remote door 
=    Wall 
+    Barred wall
c    Canteen
l    Cell
a    (Armed) guard patrol
f FAST flooring

Gang leader // unpunished version


Permanent lockdown version 


Our crazy fruitcake prisoner has to be in vision of a guard. Usually, these prisoners are 'tough/extremely tough' making them resist tasers, in which case a freefire armed guard is necessary. Otherwise, a pair of regular guards get the job done.

If we're not dealing with a gang leader, it's possible to use permanent punishments to put the prisoner on permanent lockdown. Thus, the large construction for the gang leader is only needed 3 times3.

The cell and canteen4 should contain all the necessary items to take care of (most of) the prisoner's needs.

When a legendary prisoner invariably acts up, instead of a guard response team needing to get to them, they're always already in vision of an armed guard, and promptly shot. A single shot typically does not kill these prisoners. Non-tough specimens can be tazed instead.

Alternatively, a yard can be placed in between the two rooms, and a sniper tower can handle multiple of these 'single-prisoner-prison-within-a-prison' constructions.

The remote door in the center can be attached to a door timer, freeing up some guard time. Pressure plates can be installed in front of the remote doors to get deeper into the mini-complex for some more savings (though obviously not for the way out).

A proper regime is necessary to make these things work. For the gang leader version: Typically the regime would consist of 8 hours of sleep, 1 hour of shower or lockdown, 3 hours of eat, 5 hours of lockdown, another 3 hours of eat, and 4 more hours of lockdown.

Then, during the 'eat' time, you can instruct janitors to clean the cells using the new 'janitor deployment' feature from the Bucket update. By assigning a janitor to each cell during the 2nd and 3rd hour of eating time, the cells are cleaned while the prisoner is in the canteen, and the janitor won't step into the cell while the prisoner is in there, at least in theory2. If you use the permanent punishment version; janitors can clean during 'sleep' time as well.

As a failsafe against escape attempts, the access roads to the complex should be covered by sniper towers. A couple towers can cover many complexes if built correctly.

As a failsafe against (armed) guard foolishness or bravery, whatever you want to call it, it's important to make sure there's no fast route from the behind-barred-wall guard patrol to the prisoner.

If you want to give the prisoner visitation rights, it is possible to attach a visitation booth to the bottom of the cell in its own little 2x4 visitation room.

Another alternative to attach is a 3x3 cleaning cupboard to the bottom (with no exit), for a combination of cupboard, cell, and canteen. By using work/lockup and adding a single prisoner employee to the cupboard, perhaps the prisoner can clean their own cell, as the janitor is really the hardest employee to work around not having. Of course, this version won't work for gang members/leaders, who refuse to work. It also leads to unavoidable overdose, for bleach is a prisoner's favourite drink. Trying to prevent thievery via adding a dog handler to sniff the inmate of doom periodically is animal abuse, or, if you're lucky and the prisoner butchers the handler, a bit of canine revenge carnage.

  1. Workmen are at less of a risk as the prisoner tends to be cuffed while they work, as long as you don't queue up too much stuff for them to build at once, or prioritize/micromanage the supermax wing. If it takes too long for a workman to arrive, the taser or unconsciousness may have ended and they are vulnerable.
  2. However, pathing is kind of stupid, and doesn't consider closed remote doors as obstacles, so it's important that any path into the cell, even from the front door of the canteen, never goes through the canteen. This can be engineered by adding a little path to the left of the cell made from a fast material such as racing track or concrete, and filling the cell and canteen with slow material such as padded flooring. You may find janitors still 'sometimes' doing the dumb thing, but not always.
  3. However, any single-room construction will mean janitors can only clean during 'sleep' time.
  4. The 'room of choice' for a two-room setup is the canteen, since it's necessary for any multi-room setup: only punished prisoners are fed in their cells.
  5. Financially, this solution isn't very workable long-term if all your prisoners are like this. Fortunately, legendary prisoners pay enough at takein that this is doable.
  • 1
    Your diagrams aren't very clear, as every square can have multiple things on it. Screenshots would be better.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 11:33

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