I am not a game dev, and I will not pretend I am. That being said, I feel like we're losing focus with some alpha updates.
The whole modding thing is great, it's good to see that the devs are actually trying to support the community in many ways. Mods are a great way to get 'band-aids' for the game, fixing graphical bugs or adding new ways for objects to be used that haven't been officially supported.
However, pushing aside the content to support modding to me is not an alpha update, that's a 'tweener' update, or even a Beta update. The game is not finished, and making mods for a game that changes every month isn't the best place to have them. I can understand people wanting mods to fix certain irritating issues, but still, only getting some confidential informants (more on that later) to find the contraband in your prison, when having a proper setup (at least to me) prevents all contraband from being smuggled in, and strong enforcement of the 'no contraband' laws, prevents the inmates from even getting their hands on it in the first place. Some things slip through the cracks, but in general, the only things that make it through are relatively harmless, maybe some cigarettes.
The big problem I still have is that some alpha changes are never mentioned, or seem to be forgotten. How long have the drug rehab and alcoholics anonymous meetings been broken? I used to have 20+ prisoners in drug programs after it was introduced, and the health score skyrocketed, as I was rehabilitating the prisoners to get off their addictions. Now, all I hear are tazers being fired at inmates that are trying to fight because they have no drugs (I catch 95%+ of all drugs entering the prison), and constantly having to send inmates to solitary or to medical because two addicts start fighting. Same with the alcoholics. Nobody is going to the meetings, yet I keep both open just in case some minor patch hits and fixes them. It's a waste of my staff's wages and the extra costs of the programs, as nobody enters them. Apparently guards are supposed to take them to drug rehab if they're drunk or high on narcotics, but none of them are, since they have no drugs or alcohol in the first place. I'm in a very awkward situation. You'd think that the lack of drugs and booze would cause them to quit cold turkey, but in the 'years' that they spend in prison, they're just as bad as when they walk in, if not worse.
These alpha updates are great to get new content in the game, and I look forward to them each month, but the lack of fixing current issues is worrying. Alpha 22 was great to get a lot of the bugs out of the way that impeded smooth operation of the prison, and I don't mind having no new content, but there seems to be a greater need for additional content for a skipped month with bug fixes. Perhaps a combination of both would be the best plan. One or two new pieces of content, and some larger fixes for bigger issues would be good. Hotfixes like that 24C to fix the save issue was great. I was going to stop playing for the month until it was fixed, but thankfully you guys fixed it quickly.
Tl;Dr: Combination of content/fixes in each alpha would be fantastic, less focus on 'end game' additions like modding, and more time focused on treating the prisons like how they would be run IRL. (More security, less 'free roam' for prisoners, etc)