A new prison in Prison Architect starts on a mostly empty slab of land. (Depending on the selected options, it can have derelict buildings, water (puddles and lakes), and trees.)

If a new prison is started from the main menu, the prison will start with:

Therefore, the total prison starting value is roughly $45.000

It is also possible to start a new prison by selling an old prison.(from the valuation tab of reports) In this case; the new prison will start with all of the above and an additional amount of cash based on the sale of the previous prison. New prisons started after a sale have the same options (size, trees, etc.) as starting a new prison from the main menu. The only difference being the amount of starting cash.

Options available when starting a new prison:

  • Size (drop down menu of small, medium and large)
  • Fog of War (on by default)
  • Continuous intake
  • Generate forests (on by default)
  • Generate Lakes
  • Generate buildings
  • Failure conditions (on by default)
  • Gangs
  • Events
  • Weather

The size of the prison changes the starting size of the map but does not change the amount of potential land that can be purchased after the game starts. Choosing a larger land size can potentially save you large amounts of money that would have been used to purchase increased land if you start with a small prison. Therefore, small maps are actually "harder" in the sense that it will take you longer in-game to expand your prison.

Starting map sizes width and height:

  • Small 100W by 80H
  • Medium 150W by 120H
  • Large 200W by 160H

All maps have a road down the right side. The road extends from the top of the map to the bottom. All new maps will have 5 dirt tiles to the right of the road and the road will be 7 tiles wide. You cannot build anything on the outermost edge, 1 tile thick, of the map. Purchasing more land will unlock that edge for building.

Fog of War makes portions of the map shaded and hides prisoner activity. The presence of workers, guards or actively monitored CCTV cameras will dispel the fog of war around them.

Continuous intake (off by default) keeps a continuous stream of inmates coming into the prison. By leaving it off you have control of the type of prisoners coming into the prison and may turn off intake if you have run out of room. (this is done from the prisoners tab of the report menu by toggling closed/open for the prisoner types)

Generate forests leaves random trees and clumps of trees all over the map. While it may take slightly more time to setup your prison if you need to clear large patches of trees; this really gives you some free money. By cutting down the trees (disassemble object), the logs can be sold for profit.

Generate Lakes (off by default) causes there to be random patches of water. This increases the difficulty due to the land not being usable. There is no way to clear the water or to build on it. It's simply in the way.

Generate buildings (off by default); really only generates random pieces of walls and foundations. While these can be used to save money if you use them as the start of your own buildings, the savings is typically minuscule and often you will spend more time bulldozing them out of the way than actually finding a use for them. It's fairly random if any of it will be useful.

Failure conditions (on by default); allows you to "lose the game". This happens if too many prisoners are killed (you are convicted of negligent homicide); too many prisoners escape during a riot (the national guard is called in and takes over your prison) and any other failure conditions which will be added to the game. Turning this off basically lets you test the game without running into failure conditions that you would encounter from normal play.

Gangs when on, some max prisoners (when first come To the prison via prisoner intake) will be accorded to different types of gangs, also coming with a facial tattoo .Can see number of gangs via researching the intelligence menu via bureaucracy, then going into the intelligence tab below,clicking on gangs and see the amounts of gangs in it. Gang members will be highlighted by there color of there gang. Gang members will not do reform programs. Gang members will be in ranks to, leaders will have six spikes and lieutenant will have four spikes. (leaders are almost always legendary and if the leader dies the lieutenant will take his place as most likely a legendary.

Strategy: Selling old prisons to start new ones can be used to scale up into larger prisons without spending the time to tear down an old one and remodel it. It also resets all of your debt and regardless of previous shares sold it gives you 100% ownership of the new prison. (note: nothing else carries over aside from some of money from the sale, no staff or prisoners will be brought from the old prison to the new one)

Warning: If you are only using auto-save, your old prison will be over written by the new one. To keep a copy of your old prison be sure to make a new save file and name it something memorable. (this is an issue whether you are starting a new prison from the main menu or through selling your old one)

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