I've been following your work on Prison Architect since 2012. It's going to be a great game. However, there are a few things that bug me and my friends. There are a lot of comments on that on Steam as well.
So please consider this post as a request for important features
This is the summary ( I know you are a busy guy):
1) I think you need to fix the current problems with working prisoners (outlined after the summary) and bring more fun into the game.
Namely, please create an 'application for employment" for prisoners. So prisoners can actually apply to work in a prison and you can deny their application. I don't think it's that hard to implement.
If the application is approved then you can separate them into a dedicated security classification with their own color, regime and access/(deployment).
This way you can deny prisoners you don't trust to work in kitchen (yet they can work in laundry). Moreover, now you are in control of who is employed in your prison!
2) Please allow multi-level deployment. The current restriction one area / one level of access doesn't reflect the real life and creates unnecessary problems.
3) The application for work can be also extended to programs. In real life prisoners can't take just any program they want. They need to be approved first. So you have somebody who wants to get into a program that you pay for? Then you need to approve it first!.
The application process won't overload the game but will bring more functionality and more fun and make you feel like you are actually in control of prisoners.
Now please allow me to explain the reasons behind this request
Everything works fine so far except for working prisoners. The game assumes that prisoners who don't work have 'free time'. It's not the case in real prison and also the cause of many problems.
In real prison working prisoners have their own schedule, their own working clothes and their own access to different areas.
It'd be great to have a dedicated class (see below), or regime for working prisoners, or have a separate setting for non-working prisoners (i.e. you set 8am-9am working regime / lockdown for the rest, 9am-10am worknig regime / yard for the rest)
This way you don't give most of the prisoners too much free time while only handful of them are working
2) Working prisoners.
In a real prison they are a separate class. Right now I don't know which prisoners are working (main complaint). I can't prohibit some prisoners from working except for making the prisoner a high-risk and remove working regime from them, but this doesn't solve other problems (see below about Deployment).
You can argue that I can assign a low-security level to working prisoner. However, I don't know which ones are working. Also, I still have to maintain "working regime" for other security levels to actually get the working prisoners.
The biggest issue though is that any prisoner can work - this is never the case in real life! That's why I recommend to have a special application for prisoners to work in the prison. In the application prisoners tell you where they want to work and you can deny them (either permanently or .. other conditions).
Restricting access to some areas to one class only really limits the game functionality, esp for working prisoners. In real life working prisoners do have access to secure areas where you don't want other prisoners to go.
If I have working prisoners that I want to clean some areas, but don't want others to access that area what should I do? I don't have a dedicated 'working class' of prisoners.
Moreover, separation of protective custody and high security prisoners is problematic if you still want protective custody guys to get education or other programs. Right now one of the recommended way to have a 'staff only' in some areas, but then working prisoners won't be able to access it.
Another problem: If I want to dedicate a cell block no med-security prisoners, then min-security or high-security working prisoners can't access. This problem, however, also affects protective custody prisoners that go into "shared access" areas and get killed there. Because of these problems I think that deployment should be multi-level. I.e. some areas can be min and med only.
Example: I don't want protective or high security prisoners to be in some areas.
Yes, you can argue that I can tweak regime/security level, but regime has problems with working prisoners/free time for others as I mentioned before.
That's why I think you can fix a lot of issues with a separate access or regime to working prisoners
Suggestions below are not important, but I hope you can take a look at them
4) Working prisoners should be paid. It's easy to make money in the current state of the game ( I made 1 Mil doing minimum work).
I think it'd be good to attract prisoners to work with money (in US prisoners make 49 cents / hour for instance)
5) Door placement.. After a few rotations you don't know which way the door is going to be opened. This is a bit annoying esp if opened door looks like it's blocking the passage .
6) Selection of objects. IF you have a light automatically installed where the door is, the light gets selects instead of a door. So you can't open the door manually. Same thing with drain. So it'd be good to actually rotate selection on multiple clicks