Just over thirty days after Introversion Software released the eleventh version of the Prison Architect alpha, Chris Delay, Mark Morris and the rest of the Introversion team are back with Prison Architect Update 12, the latest alpha build of the prison management simulator that remains one of the most popular offerings from the Steam Early Access program.

Released late last year, Prison Architect continues to win over new fans as part of the Steam Early Access program, with Introversion Software delivering new Prison Architect alpha builds approximately once a month as the team trudges its way towards Prison Architect v1.0.

Coming off a successful stint in the Steam Summer Getaway Sale, along with the game's recently introduced Steam Trading Cards and Workshop support, Prison Architect Update 12 pays special attention to the inmate desires and contraband game mechanics, giving players a slew of new reasons to pay extra special attention to the security systems and processes currently instituted in their prison(s).

Metal detectors will play a much larger role in Prison Architect Update 12 than they have in previous alpha builds of the game, with virtually every nook and cranny of your prison becoming home to contraband and/or a variety of items that can make it quite difficult to keep your prison running like a well-oiled machine. Drugs will now be found in your infirmary, abusable by staff and inmates alike, and everyone with a desk job will have made a trip to the liquor store since you last played the game.

Prisoners will also be just as aware of the current danger level in your prison as your security chief now, and will spend more time looking to acquire and stash weapons as they feel increasingly unsafe within the confines of your correctional facility. Contraband will now be a much bigger issue with visitors as well, though keeping your prisoners happy should keep all of these new dangers from becoming major threats to your staff and prison population.

Check out the full Prison Architect Update 12 trailer for more on the latest round of changes introduced to the Prison Architect alpha:

Here's the full Prison Architect Update 12 change log:

Theft and Contraband

  • - Many rooms around a prison are now a source of dangerous contraband
  • - Prisoners will sometimes steal contraband and try to smuggle it back to their cell for safe keeping
  • - Prisoners are less likely to steal metal items if they know they have to pass through a metal detector on their way back
  • - Prisoners carrying metal items will avoid Metal Detectors as best they can

There are four categories of contraband:

  • - Weapons: Used during fights. A high "Danger Level" within your prison will drive a high demand for weapons
  • - Tools: (Eventually) Used by prisoners to assist escaping
  • - Narcotics: (Eventually) Used by prisoners who are bored or uncomfortable, or dealing with addiction
  • - Luxuries: Items that make prison life a bit more bearable, such as mobile phones, alchohol etc.

Note: Prisoners currently only make use of Weapons, but they will still steal the other types of contraband

Contraband overlay

  • - There is a new Contraband overlay in the main toolbar, unlocked by the Chief in Bureaucracy
  • - Shows all potential sources of contraband within your prison, and also all recently found contraband
  • - You can select any recently found item to see a trail of where it was stolen from, where it was hidden etc

Contraband Supply and Demand

  • - You can see the market demand for any item in the new Contraband Report. High demand means many prisoners want this item
  • - This screen also shows the supply of these items, representing how many of those items are owned by the prisoners
  • - Prisoners who want something they can't get will steal an item with high market value instead, so they can trade for it later

Searching powers

  • - You can now order a search of a prisoner or his entire cell, from his Rap Sheet
  • - There is a new emergency button on the toolbar: Shakedown, which searches every cell and prisoner in your jail

Note: Searching prisoners really pisses them off, raising the danger level of your prison. Metal Detectors automatically trigger a search of a prisoner when they detect something Metal Detectors now fall out of action for 3 seconds after detecting something They also incorrectly detect something a small percentage of the time, resulting in unnecessary searches.

Status Effects

  • - All prisoners can now be affected by Status Effects, which change their behavior for a fixed period of time
  • - You can see status effects on a prisoner by highlighting him.
  • - Current status effects:

- Suppressed: Prisoners locked in Solitary Confinement will become suppressed and compliant due to their harsh treatment.

  • - These suppressed prisoners are much less likely to cause trouble.

- Well Fed: Prisoners who eat well will become "well fed", contributing to the good feeling in the prison.

  • - Well fed prisoners are much less likely to cause trouble.

Needs System

  • - Extensive performance improvements
  • - The needs system was one of the slowest and most laggy parts of the game
  • - Fixed: Prisoners sometimes can't find any need providers if the framerate is too low, and just stand around instead

[Other Fixes]

  • - Prisoners due for release within the next six hours are now listed on your todo list
  • - New audio work for the Bureaucracy screen and the Reports windows, and new searching powers
  • - Changed the way Guards follow patrols, so they should no longer clump together
  • - Contraband found by guards is still dropped on the floor, but will now auto-vanish after 10 seconds
  • - Fixed: Released prisoners are now permitted to route through Staff-Only zones on their way out
  • - Fixed: Sometimes garbage would never be collected
  • - Fixed: Callout units will now show their assigned route even when off screen
  • - Fixed: Drains will no longer block doors from closing
  • - Fixed: The time buttons on the clock will now highlight the currently selected speed correctly

Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes.com and follow Scott on Twitter for all the latest on Prison Architect as we continue to follow the development of Introversion Software's latest project in the weeks and months following the debut of Prison Architect Update 12.

What do you think of all the changes introduced in Prison Architect Update 12? Have you been as addicted to Prison Architect as we have since the day you bought into the Prison Architect alpha? Have an idea for a feature or change you'd like to see in the next Prison Architect update?

Let us know in the comments section!