[Suggestion] Prison Commissary and Economy

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[Suggestion] Prison Commissary and Economy

Postby TheTwelfthDoctor » Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:45 pm

I'm back with another suggestion that I haven't seen brought up before.

In most prisons, there's a commissary where prisoners can buy sundries like candy, chips, soap, pens, and such. I'm thinking a commissary room type should be added that would require a shelf and checkout counter, and that would need to be staffed by a cook or a prisoner with a good track record that you would select. Prisoners would be able to go there during free time or yard time. A visit to the commissary would satisfy food and freedom needs, but would allow a prisoner to gain contraband. As a result, it would be another element of the game that would combine risk and reward.

In tandem with that, prisons with commissaries also will have an underlying inmate economy where items from the commissary are used as a sort of currency to pay for weapons, drugs, and so on.

So, what does everyone think?
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Postby Piemanno » Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:02 pm

I do like the commissary idea, but I feel as if there is still something missing.
Possibly an aspect of either cash back or another incentive to build it.
One could compare it to objects that are placed in the yard which the player only puts so that the inmates won't be bored.
And yet I still feel wrong about it...

Maybe someone else can pinpoint what I feel is missing.

Got any other ideas that you want feedback for?

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Postby LennyLeak » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:38 am

I agree that there should be some sort of shop for the inmates. I dont think they should get contraband there though. It is manned by staff and they dont sell contraband in there. IMO contraband should get in through visitation, the mail and (corrupt) guards. I dont think that a big tradeoff is needed to justify this comissary. It could work much like the day room and still be a cool addition imo. Or maybe having it would let prisoners get less bored while in their cells (because they have some basic stuff to entertain them). The tradeooff could just be the cost of the building and staff to man it.
Last edited by LennyLeak on Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby tertaim » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:51 am

great idea, needs some more details tho!
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Re: [Suggestion] Prison Commissary and Economy

Postby SonofSuperJoe » Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:56 am

Since everyone would prefer to add to existing threads rather than creating new ones on old suggestions, I figured I'd pull this one up out of the depths, since it seems to be the original on Commissary suggestions! :D

The Commissary is not a only a great idea, but it would fulfill several needed aspects of the game!

First, there's always more need for rooms where Prisoners can work, as far as I'm concerned, and as seen in Orange is the New Black, a prison Commissary is one such place.

Next, Commissaries, from what I've been able to research online, often serve a dual purpose in a prison. They're not only a way for prisoners to get little niceties and fringe benefits, they often double as a mail room, since it's a place where prisoners check to see if anyone's sent them a letter, and it's where they buy postage to send mail out. According to the wikipedia page on the subject - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_commissary - stamps purchased in Commissaries are often used as a currency source in modern prisons where smoking is banned.

Which leads to the next most important function in relation to commissaries - the Prisoner Economy. This is something that all prisons actually have, and would tie directly into the supply/demand system for contraband. Commissaries provide the niceties that prisoners generally exchange in order to acquire contraband and/or favors from other other prisoners, so it seems like if the Prisoner Economy aspect of the game was ever to be further elaborated upon, a Commissary would be a necessary first step to making it more functional. Another aspect of this is in relation to work programs. Currently, the prisoners get nothing for working in a workshop or laundry or the like, but if they earned credits or some small amount of pay from working in these rooms, and it was used in the commissary to buy their Non-Contraband luxuries, then there's a distinct reason for them to actually work. Something that you can control the leniency/harshness on by both setting the general wages for work in your work programs, and setting the general costs for commissary items. All of this is another layer of prisoner management that's not only true to life, but works well with the systems already in place in the game.

Really, an expansion of the Prisoner Economy seems like the main benefit of the Commissary. You can't go about creating advanced, unique behaviors such as prisoners buying protection or buying a hit on another prisoners unless they have a medium of exchange, which can only really be done via a commissary.

Finally, a Commissary would function another needed role in terms of prisoner behavior management. Not only would revoking commissary privileges be another form of punishment for more minor offenses, better in line with something like being found intoxicated or having some luxury contraband like alcohol, but having commissary privileges itself would work as a possible carrot, rather than a stick. For example, perhaps commissary privileges are only granted to Medium and Minimum security prisoners. Then, there's a reason for Max sec prisoners to try and behave themselves. They can get commissary privileges if they behave well, or turn CI and get downgraded to Medium security. This gives the player a few more points of leverage on prisoner behavior control that help complete the system.

Of course a commissary is also another potential access path for Contraband, so it adds more added risk to that system, which would help make it more interesting as a room too. Then there's the potential it has for prisoner cell customization. If a prisoners get decorative items at the commissary, it would help to make them make their cells more unique over time, which would add tons of flavor to the game.

So, yeah, there are like, a thousand reasons for the Commissary as a room, and I'd highly recommend the devs put it into the game.

Some possible room features could include:

- Exchange Window [Object] - Where the Prisoners line up to make their trades at the commissary, and/or receive incoming mail.
- Mail Slot [Object] - Where Prisoners go to send out outgoing mail.
- Table [Requirement] - Where Incoming mail is sorted before being given to prisoners (in bags).
- Product Racks [Object] - Where Sellable products are stored (or stolen) before being exhanged at the Window.
- Girly Poster [Cell Decoration] - Bought at commissary, lowers the needs growth rate for recreation and freedom by a prisoner a little bit when in cell.
- Potted Plant [Cell Decoration] - Bought at commissary, lowers the needs growth rate for Environment or Comfort a little bit when in cell.
- Toilet Brush [Cell Item/Contraband] - When prisoner uses their toilet in their cell, lowers their hygiene growth rate a little tiny bit too. Can be toggled as contraband or not.
- Spice Packet [Allowed Luxury] - When Prisoner eats at canteen, their Food need fills at a higher rate.
- Private Letters [Allowed Luxury] - Upon recieving, Prisoner lowers their Freedom or Family need a little bit. Stored on a Bookshelf, removing these during a search raises these needs by a bit.
- Radio [Cell Decoration] - Lowers the Freedom need growth rate when in their cell by a little bit.
- Stamps [Currency] - The amount of currency the prisoner has to exchange with other prisoners. Stored on their person. Lost in a search.
- Credits [Currency] - The currency the prison pays a prisoner for working in work programs that's exchanged AT the Commissary. The payment rate directly correlates to the value that stamps/cigs have amongst prisoners. Not removed if a prisoner is searched, as the prison itself keeps track of this account.
- Cigarettes [Currency/Contraband] - Can be toggled as contraband or not. If not, these are higher value currency objects amongst prisoners.
- Snacks (Candy Bar, bag of Chips/Crisps) - Can be purchased at Commissary if prisoner food need is still high during their free time. Releases a bit of food need (if you see these selling a lot, you're managing your kitchens poorly).
- Drugs [Contraband Source] - Mail is one more way that drugs can get into your prison.
- Soap [Allowed Luxury] - Speeds the hygiene replenishment rate when prisoner showers.
- New Uniform [Sellable Object] - If Prisoners are buying a lot of these, it's a good indication that your laundry system isn't working properly.

And so on.

The Commissary has so much potential as a gameplay device. Not only as a method of prisoner control or as a way to introduce advanced AI behaviors (prisoners might rob each other for luxury items and such) but also as a way of notifying the player where there are problems in their other systems for food, laundry and work programs.

It seems like it would be an essential room to have in the completed game, and I for one, +1 the concept.

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