Prison 8 (19 February 2015, after Alpha 29) - escaping with Sandree

You'll notice I've skipped a few prisons.

Prison 5 was mostly just plans and merely half-built before I moved onto a new plan.

Prison 6 had been saved after a triggered failure condition (criminal negligence) and wasn't loading properly, in Escape Mode or otherwise. A bit of a shame, as it was a big prison with some fun design and might have posed a decent challenge.

And Prison 7 was just plain broken somehow. Loading it in Escape Mode would result in me spawning in the top corner of the map, unable to move. However, the prison itself was small, only 3 days old and with precisely one jail door between the cell block and the outside world. So it probably wouldn't have been an exciting escape anyway.

So, on to Prison 8.

It's never a good sign when you can see dead prisoners from the bus window.

We start with the traditional "putting me into a Maximum security cell block". I land some punches to earn a reputation point, allowing me to skip the 16 hour lockdown for being in the wrong place.

Then I end up in the holding cell. It seems this prison has no cells at all for Medium security. The holding cell is bang in the middle of the prison, too. This could be tricky.

After smashing up the holding cell to earn the reputation "Tough", I go for a walk. There's actually a lot of the prison open to me. The workshop in particular is completely open, and there are no metal detectors at the doors. This would prove extremely useful.

I have a cell mate! Turns out the prison is accepting prisoners of all security levels... and they're all going to end up here. It's going to get cosy, quick. Note also the saw I've stashed in that bench.

The armoury is tantalisingly close. Trying to follow someone inside turns out to be a mistake. I get stopped, punished, and guards search the holding cell and find the saw. No matter, I can get another.

After a stint in solitary, I go to Visitation and steal a lighter - my favourite contraband.

My, my. This library sure looks... flammable.

The guards refuse to come in as I bask in the flames.

Firefighters are called and when the flames are out, I slip through a hole in the wall into the storage room, but get tazed by a guard.

Expecting to come to in a solitary cell, I find myself still in the storage room, lighter in my pocket. I guess the guards must be busy. Well, opportunity beckons. This time I try to destroy that power supply.

I'm tazed again, but still left in the room. When I awake, I try setting fire to every box in the storage room, in a bid to burn through the outside wall. Third time lucky.

And I'm out!

But not out enough. I run into a fence.

A guard gives chase as I follow the fence around the prison, but then I'm tazed through the yard fence by another guard. Looks like I'm going to have to try something else.

I've built something of a reputation by this point, though. Thanks to that little adventure in the library and storage room, I have 8 points to spend, putting them into 'Extremely Tough', 'Strong', 'Quick' and 'Deadly'.

It'll take a while, but digging a tunnel from the holding cell might be my only option. Fortunately I can get an endless supply of tools from the workshop.

While reaching for my trusty makeshift wooden stick, I accidentally start a fight and punch a fellow prisoner to death.

I'm finally considered dangerous enough to be put in Maximum security, and end up in the very same cell I started out in - only now I belong there. I wish I could say it was all to plan.

Loading up with tools from the workshop, I start a tunnel from my new cell. Luckily I can squeeze around the outside of the metal detector at the entrance to the cell block, sneaking tools in without worry.

I'm out in no time and the guards have barely noticed what's happened before I'm running across the road to freedom.

Time in prison: 1 day, 16 hours.

Prison 8 overview

Prison 8 marks the start of a challenge: how long can I go building a prison to keep up with the continuous intake of prisoners?

Prison 8 was consequently the biggest prison yet, and built to an efficient design... more efficient than its predecessors, anyway. Intake control wouldn't appear until Alpha 30, but even then, I would continue to challenge myself by using continuous intake and desperately trying to build the prisons fast enough to cope.

In this and the next few prisons, I would experiment with a variety of designs. The main design principle behind Prison 8 was a "cross" shape formed of two corridors, one extending west from the road (flanked by utility and service rooms) and the other corridor running north to south (containing more service rooms) giving access to the rows of cell blocks on either side. Each cell block is built with (usually) just 16 cells, its own canteen in an open-plan space between the cells, and its own yard. These somewhat self-contained blocks could then be "copied and pasted" as necessary to expand the prison's capacity.

This prison reached 19 blocks and had space for more before I moved on - probably because it just wasn't fast enough to cope with the continuous intake and fell apart in rioting.