Build and Manage A Maximum Security Prison.
User reviews:
Very Positive (1,201 reviews) - 91% of the 1,201 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (20,502 reviews) - 94% of the 20,502 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 6, 2015

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Recent updates View all (39)

April 29

Update 6 released - and brand new games from us

Prison Architect Update 6 has been released! And we have brand new game prototypes to show you.

Introducing 'Scanner Sombre' and 'Wrong Wire'

Skip forward to 22 minutes into the video, to see us demonstrate two of our (potentially) upcoming games. These are prototypes we have been developing in secret until now, and will form the basis of whatever comes next after Prison Architect. Please keep in mind that whilst we intend to continue supporting Prison Architect with updates for a very long time, we also intend to make new games, just as we have always done.

We are interested in your thoughts on the new games. Please go here to vote on your favourite:


= Seasons and Weather
- The game will now move through the seasons, with the outdoor temperature varying based on the time of year.
- Various weather patterns can occur during the game, varying based on the current season.
- Overcast
- Rain
- Torrential rain (Special event, rare)
- Snow and frost
- Heatwave (special event, rare)

- Prisoners needs will be affected by the weather when they are outdoors. Getting rained on will spike their
comfort, clothing and warmth needs.

- Prisoners left outside in extremely cold conditions (for example in an outdoor solitary confinement cage)
can now die of exposure.

- Weather is DISABLED by default in all prisons, and can be enabled when creating a new map.
Alternatively, use the new "Map Settings" screen in the Extras menu.

= Map Settings
You can now adjust the settings of your prison from a new screen called "Map Settings", found in the Extras menu.
This screen lets you enable certain options that may not have been enabled (or even available) when you first created the map.
Nb. You can enable these options, but you cannot disable them once enabled.

Available options:
- Enable Gangs
- Enable Events
- Enable Weather

= Job Prioritisation
- You can now mark any job as a high priority. Simple hold control and either
left click or left drag a selection to mark jobs. Available workers (who aren't
already on a high priority job) will stop what they are doing and be assigned
to the high priority job.

- If no workers are available, high priority jobs will take precedence when the
workers become available. A small icon in the lower right of a visible job shows
if it is marked as a high priority job.

- You can remove the high priority marking on jobs by holding control and either
right clicking or dragging a selection.

- Hovering over an in progress job will now highlight the entity working on it,
showing a red line leading to the worker responsible for the job.

- Pressing F while highlighting an in progress job will cause the camera to follow
the working entity and keep the highlight active.

= Performance Work (continued)
Further performance gains were made this month through several different approaches to optimisation.

- More systems moved to overlap with Render().
- Optimisations to the visible object list builder.
- Singly linked lists mostly replaced with arrays (FastList).
- Avoid copying of containers where possible.
- NeedSystem optimised.

= Bug Fixes
Temperature and lightmap system corruption bug fixed.

- 0010618: [Gameplay] Temperature next to fire is in the negatives
- 0010625: [Gameplay] Temperature drops instantly even in areas that should be producing heat

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109 comments Read more

March 30

Update 5c - Hot water pipe tweaks

Having read the feedback, we think that we made the hot water pipes too fiddly for many players by requiring every shower head to be wired up to warm water to avert a riot of frigid prisoners.

We've now changed the system so that a hot shower is an optional luxury and gives a benefit to prisoners' well-being if you feel generous enough to provide it.

- If a shower head is connected to hot water, this will benefit prisoner's warmth and comfort needs. Cold showers no longer cause frigid effect.
- Hot water range increased.
- Hot water makes sinks work faster.

68 comments Read more


“Prison Architect chills me to the bone. If played haphazardly it can be a wonderful farce rich with hilarious anecdotes, but played patiently and carefully it’s a horror game, a top-down voyage into the heart of darkness, an eternal raging fire I forever try but can only fail to douse.” RPS

"Prison Architect, to be sure, is an excellent game, worthy of comparison to its canonical inspirations, Dwarf Fortress and Bullfrog Productions’ 1990 construct-and-manage simulations. Few games can hope to match Prison Architect’s emergent storytelling, and fewer still can balance brutality and poignancy like it does." KILLSCREEN

About This Game

Build and Manage A Maximum Security Prison.

Build and manage a Maximum Security Prison. As the sun casts it’s early morning rays on a beautiful patch of countryside the clock starts ticking. You’ve got to crack on and build a holding cell to detain the job­ lot of maximum security prisoners that are trundling to your future prison on their yellow bus. As your workmen lay the last brick you don’t have a moment to let them rest as they need to get started on the first proper cell block so you can make room for the next prisoner intake. Once they’ve all got a place to lay their weary heads the fun can really start.

You’ll need a canteen, infirmary and a guard room, oh, and don’t forget to plumb in a toilet, or things will get messy, but what about a workout area? Or solitary confinement cells? Or an execution chamber?

Inspired by Dungeon Keeper, Dwarf Fortress and Theme Hospital and with over 1 million players having spent time inside, Prison Architect is the world’s best lock-­em-­up.

Story Mode

Prison Architect opens with the story of Edward, a man facing the electric chair for committing a crime of passion. This is followed by four additional chapters focusing on different characters and aspects of prison life. From Mafia Dons to power-crazed senators, Prison Architect has them all! To bring these characters to life, Introversion teamed up with award winning professional writer Chris Hastings, producing an enthralling tale of corruption and human misery set against the background of the modern prison industrial complex.

Escape Mode

Finished your supermax? Got guard dogs roving every corridor and prisoners eating out of your hand? Now you can live the horror by firing up escape mode and play as a prisoner hell-bent on getting the hell out of dodge.

Dig a tunnel, go for the armoury or start a riot and slip out in the chaos, it’s entirely up to you! Figure out how to escape from your own creation, or hit the random button and load one of the 12,000 prisons created by the steam co

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS:XP
    • Processor:Intel Core2 Duo 2.4Ghz or Higher / AMD 3Ghz or Higher
    • Memory:4 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Nvidia 8600 / Radeon equivalent (2009 era)
    • Hard Drive:300 MB HD space
    • Processor:2009 era Macbook Pro, Core2 Duo processor
    • Memory:4 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive:300 MB HD space
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or later
    • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo 2.4Ghz or Higher / AMD 3Ghz or Higher
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia 8600 / Radeon equivalent (2009 era)
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB HD space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Very Positive (1,201 reviews)
Very Positive (20,502 reviews)
Recently Posted
( 64.8 hrs on record )
Posted: July 24
This game is Fantastic you can make your own prison and shere it in the work shop so other people can use them and then people can bild of them or be in them.

Escape mode is amazing because you can make your own gang and take gards wepons and start a RIOTS

Only one problem if you get too meny staff at all thay wont take your prisoners to there cells

Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 12.5 hrs on record )
Posted: July 24
Well, the first thing i did was build a huge canteen then continued the game bout 2 hours later i cause a riot on purpose.

Morale of the story: VIOLENCE IS THE BEST ANSWER
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 27.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 24
Really fun game! maybe abit hard in the beginning so you may read some of the guides here on steam, but it´s woth it! :)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 65.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 24
This game is a sort of prison tycoon combined with Sims plus micromanagement of the layout, schedule, development and control of the whole environment and population within your map. Is a long-term discovery and joy for someone who likes to be in charge with all the above.

- I really like the "needs" bars of the inmates, brings back the Sims feeling;
- The daily schedule can be set according to your desire;
- You can set patrooling paths wherever you want and restrict access to areas according to your needs;
- You can perform research of additional features or helpful financial treats (the research tree is not very complex BTW, it should provide more);
- You can have many different buildings for the needs of the inmates or for your employees;
- Is up to you to decide how to arrange everything and how to balance everything in your prison, without being forced to adopt only one style or layout;
- Training & programs for the inmates. (Employees should also make more courses & activities);
- Micromanagement;
- Intelligence;
- Huge replayability and attractive sandbox mode, where you have complete freedom to decide everything, even without financial restrictions
- Campaign mode quite interesting, even if was very short :(

- Bug: The workers, sometimes, when installing utilities, don't install all of the tasked items, you must verify and redo what's missing.
- Dynamic of people (inmates+employees) sometimes annoying because of the bouncing effect (when entering a door, they are bouncing and missing the door, until its speed will reduce.
- Power grid capacity - this is actually a huge minus. If you want to expand your prison and the upgraded electric system is almost at its limit, you will not be able to connect another power generator to the same grid, you MUST make a completelly different path for your cables, which cannot intersect with your other power system, otherwise you will have a blackout.
- Too little information on the object you place in rooms and the effect they have.
- The time frame of the whole day is too fast! Actually, the inmates and the staff are losing a quarter of the time going from one thing to another or waiting for the guard to come and open the gates. If the time would pass half the speed, it would be much better.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 36.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 24
love the game has cute graphics and very in depth logistics thanks for making the game and i would reccomend making a game where its about cops or the city PD fighting crime. 10/10 goood game -me
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[DFS] spookyspokes
( 74.7 hrs on record )
Posted: July 24
Started program for workshop safety.

Only one prisoner came.

The foreman did such a poor job that right after the program was done, the prisoner comitted suicide with drugs.

10/10 foreman
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 37.3 hrs on record )
Posted: July 24
After 37 hours, I'm still coming back to this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 45.5 hrs on record )
Posted: July 24
It's a fun game, you build a prison, you can even try to break out of the prison you built. I recommend it, its fun when you try to escape, you can build your character up where he/she can one shot people, basically... you murder everyone.. Fun though!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 76.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 23
77 Hours on record. Prison Architect had me questioning wether I had liked it or not at first. After maybe ten hours put into it is when I decided that I had liked it. The game will keep you on your toes to watch for escaping prisoners, while you are also keeping an eye on your minimum security prisoners. If you are okay with the whole 2D perspective then it is a good game to pass the time with.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Spike Spiegel
( 14.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 23
I stayed up till 2am for nights in a row till I had 14 hours in this game, but having spent all that time I don't feel like I acomplished anything.

Similar building games like Sim City 4 or Cities Skylines also manage to suck up so much time but whenever I stop playing SC4 I lookback on the city that I've expanded and feel proud of however many new citizens I have or how slightly closer I may be to one day getting skyscrapers; but in Prison Architect I just do not ever get that feeling.

And I think that's caused by a number of reasons: first and formost is the ugly pixel graphics or poorly implimented menu UI, this is just not a pretty game to look at, so I can never really enjoy looking back on what I've just built. All of the joys of building come from your imagination of what you want a prison to look like.

This needs a bit of explaining: I don't just mean that the way you design the prison looks prettier in your head because the graphics look bad, though that is certainly true. The problem comes that way you arrange ammenities is almost completely arbitrary; while other building games require some logical design in where you place objects prison arcitects ammenities act as a checklist. You could give an office a desk with a chair behind it and a filing cabinet in close range, or you can push the desk innaccesably up against a wall, block the door with the chair, and put the filing cabinet in the center of the room and the game will say thats just as good. To keep up with how many prisoners the game was giving me at one point I simply made a set of large rooms with 50 bunk beds and a few toilets and the prison was functioning just as well as it ever had.

The second big reason that this game lacks the satisfaction that building sims need is that the inflow of prisoners always specific and timed. In a city building game the joy comes from having successfully pulled in more citizens by building more blocks or bigger buildings. In prison architect you know that in 24 hours you are going to get X number of prisoners, and so you build to fit more, not to bring in more. This is just stressful, real prisons don't constantly build new wings, that would be absurd, but this game expects a constant and ever increasing prison and forces you to do this or else.

Every part of the design in this game works to successfully suck hours out of you; and if all you are looking for is something to make you forget what time it is and ignore the depressing realities of life then fine, it does its job well enough. But if you want something a little more then that, where you can feel like those hours were well spent then look elsewhere.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
61 of 64 people (95%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
8.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
I don't think anyone wakes up in the morning and goes "I want to build a prison today." Penitentiaries just don't have the same feel-good appeal as cultivating a city or a business, really. I think the developers behind Prison Architect had this in mind the whole way through development, because it never really dwells on the darker elements of incarceration. What it does do is give you a wealth of building options, so many that you won't even have time to question the ethics of your creations.

Prison Architect drops you off on a flat piece of land with a road running through it, and expects you to build a house of corrections. You're given an initial grant of money and some builders, and from that humble beginning you build cells, showers, kitchens, offices, power plants, laundry rooms, exercise yards, chapels, armories, morgues, classrooms... Honestly I don't have enough space to list out all the facilities you can place. The big selling point behind PA that will become immediately obvious is that you can build EVERYTHING. No detail is spared in how the prison is simulated, and every phone booth and ironing board must be accounted for.

This incredible level of detail extends to your prisoners and the handling of them, as well. Each of your little ne'er-do-wells has a detailed rap sheet and biography, specific incarceration needs including security level, moods and interests, and a laundry list of stats that can be tracked. Of course, you can't just throw such complex sims in a hole and call it a day (okay you can but it won't end well). Your prisoners have a schedule to stick to that includes eating, showering, working, playing, and sleeping. You can edit this schedule to your heart's content, even setting different schedules for different security levels.

There's still a boatload of systems I haven't even touched on like advanced security and visitation and work programs and research, but surely you get the point by now. Understand that while all this may sound daunting, Prison Architect handles it in a very gentle way. Early on, prisons don't need hardly any of the complex amenities, giving you time to unlock and familiarize yourself with them. You also have a huge list of options for customizing your difficulty, allowing you to even disable certain systems if you feel they make the game too complex. It's a consideration that more in-depth sims should adopt, because it means casual players and experienced managers can all find a pace they enjoy.

It's rare to find such a deep and detailed simulation that also allows you to dive just as far as you want, and at your own pace. You can tool along with a mostly functional prison just with the basic food and shelter services, explore additional systems at your pace, or go whole-hog in an attempt to build the perfect penitentiary. The 2D vector graphics might not be the most attractive but their simple lines and animations help keep the detailed interactions of your prison clear. Sound design is admittedly minimal, but it's not much of a drawback when there's so much more offered. No matter your skill or interest level, Prison Architect will find a way to capture your attention.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
33 of 36 people (92%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
39.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 4
" Inspired by Dungeon Keeper, Dwarf Fortress and Theme Hospital and with over 1 million players having spent time inside, Prison Architect is the world’s best lock-­em-­up. "

Prison Architect is a sandbox game where you're building and managing your own Maximum Security Prison. That's the whole point of the game, actually.


  • Build your own Prison - Is it gonna be male, female specific? Strict Punishing or completely peaceful prison? Up to you!

  • Endless Replayability - Get creative! With lots of features implemented in that game, you can create hundreds of different prisons. No matter how ridiculous they look!

  • Story Mode - A Huge in-game tutorial where you meet yourself with various objectives. From building the rooms, to choking the riots. You will be facing with the emotional cutscenes at some time, too.

  • Simulation - Your prisoners can be either happy, supressed, addictive (to common additions), or even suicidal depending on your Policy, Regime and many other actions.

  • Escape Mode - An intense gamemode if the prison meets the criterias of High Security. Have you got what it takes to escape your own prison?

  • Workshop - Try out other player's creations. Not just prisons, by the way!

  • Name In Game [DLC] - With additional content, you could, for example, add your family members, friends, or even your enemies in your prison,


  • Lots of Minor, yet noticable Bugs - During it's 2 year Early Access, the Prison Architect was in unstable shape. Even out of the beta state, the game still has some major bugs to fix.

  • The Collectibles - It's not a major thing, but the game features the collection of Polaroids and Bible Pages that are somewhat rare thing to find. It can become stressful for Collectors to find every single rare piece of Bible Page.

I, honestly, never thought that I would find this sandbox game that entertaining.
Recommending this game to anyone! Even with low creativity.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
24 of 25 people (96%) found this review helpful
39 people found this review funny
13.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 6
When I first started playing I only did sandbox. I had no idea you could adjust when you wanted your prisoners to start arriving so they all automaticly came on the second day, so the game went like this.

-The prisoners have arrived: QUICK BUILD SOME CELLS
-The prisoners need food: HURRY BUILD A CANTEEN
-The prisoners are escaping; HIRE SOME GUARDS!!!

It took me 20 tries before I learned you were meant to build a prison then add prisoners.

That made the game slightly more easy.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
18 of 20 people (90%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
16.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 12
what a game!! well this game in a 3d model ... jesus christ my dream, nice gameplay, have a few bugs but in overall is just amazing
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
15 people found this review funny
46.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 3
I bought this game blind hoping to find a sim game where I can shut off my brain and maybe torture some inmates for ♥♥♥♥ and giggles.
No, you had to put in a storyline. You had to make the inmates have their own stories and life and I just wanted to see them get out a reformed man.


Good game, I imprisoned myself just by buying this.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
22 people found this review funny
36.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 3
I accidentally clicked "FreeFire" and now all that is left is ashes.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
33.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 20
I had to keep Activision's and EA's CEOs along with Gabe in protective custody because all other prisoners wanted to ♥♥♥♥ and kill them but a good game Though
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
70.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 11
I played lots of indie games but this one is the best.
This game endless,all you need is creativity.
Game also has workshop which has tons of mods.
And yes you have purpose like being warden,collecting photos,saving money,getting bigger,protecting your staff,obeying government's rules and bla bla a lot of things like that.
This game gives you free,chill game when you have to wait your friend or listening music middle of night open this play ½ or 1 hour save and close.This game won't end because concept is endless but most important is developers are keeping game updated so that doesn't feel you threw your money away don't wait buy this game and support developers...

!!! 9/10 !!!
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
106.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
Amazing, spent hours on this game and I didn't even notice the time go, so entertaining and lots to do.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
23.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
Prison Architect is something of a tycoon game that requires the player to build and manage their own security facility.

The player is focused on creating a healthy environment for both prisoners and staff. Hiring management staff unlocks new programs through the bureaucracy menu that promote business, health, and security inside your facility. I would compare this game to something like Zoo Tycoon where you're essentially caring for profitable pets.

The true beauty of this game, in my opinion, is the vast amount of options and room for creativity. Build a supermax hellhole or build a Scandanavian resort prison. Punish your prisoners relentlessly or spoil them like children. Crowd them into packed cells or build them modular apartments. On and on and on.

Included in the game is "Escape Mode." In Escape Mode, players take the role of single inmates and must work toward gaining a reputation by starting fights or destroying equipment to recruit team members. Steal tools and supplies to help you escape. Hatch elaborate plans with your recruits and make a break for it.

The Workshop content means the game never ends. Escape from your friends' prisons or take on a challenge from the community. Workshop is also endlessly great for use in management mode.

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