The concept of escaping a prison is in itself a seemingly impossible task, by design. That’s because the act of getting out is going directly against the whole design of a prison, which is to keep you in.
You’re in a system where the entirety of its existence and purpose is to make it as difficult for you to leave as possible. Even a lower security prison’s system is so intricately secured and redundantly resistant that it makes you think escape is impossible, again by design.
A combination of highly effective crude and sophisticated systems managed by humans and artificial intelligence. But a system nonetheless.
However, any system can be hacked, bypassed, manipulated, repurposed or broken in one way or another. Escaping prison is gaming that system.
Operation: Prison Escape
Escaping a prison is no easy feat but it’s far from impossible, and there are basic principles and guidelines that must be followed to make sure the endeavor is successful – like any other operation.
Firstly, you need to develop an escape plan and gain access to resources such as tools, weapons, sustenance, human assets and transportation.
Second, procuring intel on the prison layout and any weakpoints that can be exploited for an escape route.
Next, having a trusted ally or confidant on the outside who can aid you before, during and after the escape.
Lastly, timing is of utmost importance – you must pick the most strategic moment to enact the escape.
Escaping a prison should be perceived as if it’s just another covert operation. The planning and research it takes to execute a secret mission successfully.
Prison Escape Obstacles
Prisons are designed to prevent escape through a combination of physical security measures and staffing. Some general factors that make prisons difficult to escape from include the following:
• High walls or fences with barbed wire or razor wire, monitored by guards and surveillance cameras.
• Controlled access points with metal detectors, security checks, and searches of visitors and incoming goods.
• Secure cells with locking doors, and often with a cellmate(s).
• Restrictions on inmate movement, with limited time outside of cells and strict supervision during activities.
• Regular patrols by guards, both on foot and in vehicles. As well as AI sub measures.
• A culture of security and discipline, reinforced through staff training, policies, and procedures.
• Consequences for attempting escape, including increased security, extended sentence, and criminal charges.
Prison Escape Obstacles
In addition to physical security measures, prisons also employ non-physical security measures to prevent escape and maintain order within the facility:
• Classification and risk assessment of inmates to determine their security level and housing placement.
• Inmate accountability systems, such as head counts and roll calls, to ensure all inmates are accounted for at all times.
• Rules and regulations that govern inmate behavior, such as restrictions on communication, movement, and activities.
• Incentives for good behavior, such as earned privileges and reduced restrictions.
• Consequences for violating rules, such as loss of privileges, disciplinary segregation, or increased security level.
• Staff training programs to ensure that employees understand and adhere to policies and procedures.
• Internal investigations and intelligence gathering to identify and prevent escape plots.
• Collaboration with law enforcement agencies to monitor and track escaped inmates.
These non-physical security measures play a crucial role in creating a secure and orderly environment within the prison and reducing the risk of escape.
While prisons are designed to be secure and prevent escape, there are still some weaknesses and vulnerabilities that can be used / exploited:
• Human error or negligence on the part of staff, such as failing to lock doors or perform security checks.
• Insider collusion between staff and inmates, which can facilitate escape or introduce contraband into the facility.
• Overcrowding or understaffing, which can reduce the effectiveness of security measures and increase the risk of escape.
• Physical weaknesses in the prison infrastructure, such as faulty locks, unsecured perimeter walls, or poor lighting.
• Insufficient funding, which can limit the ability of prisons to implement and maintain effective security measures.
• Inmate manipulation of staff or other inmates, which can create opportunities for escape or other criminal activity.
• Technological failures or weaknesses, such as power outages or breaches in electronic security systems.
• Inadequate intelligence and risk assessment systems, which can fail to identify and prevent escape attempts.
It’s important for you to identify and address these weaknesses and others in order to game the security and order of the facility to plan the escape.
The trick to executing a prison escape is by breaking it down to what it is in raw terms – in this case, it’s effectively just a logistics problem. Getting a person from point A to point B, with obstacles in between.
Or again a logistics problem; point A to point B.
Preparation Is Key
The first and every step in escaping any prison is preparation. You need to thoroughly research the facility and its layout before attempting an escape.
Knowing the ins and outs of the facility ahead of time is paramount to plan a viable / working escape route.
This means understanding how many guards there are, where they patrol, when they patrol, what type of security systems are in place, and which areas of the prison are most heavily / lightly guarded.
You will also want to plan for contingencies such as alarm systems or lock-down procedures that could prevent you from escaping successfully.
Carefully collect the necessary items for the plan. Resources can be acquired through the commissary, swiped from prison jobs or as “contraband” through smuggling, bribing guards or from other inmates.
Operate Like an Opponent
The prison is an adversary of which its only purpose is to work against you in every way to keep you in, and so you must approach it as such to get you out.
In order to successfully complete an escape mission, it helps to think like your opponents, the guards — and anticipate their moves before they make them.
How to engage with them long before the escape as well as how to respond (combatives and conversation) if you’re confronted by a guard(s) during the escape.
Take note of any weaknesses in their human security procedures that could be exploited during your attempt at escape; this could include anything from inadequate staffing levels or staff with poor work ethics that could give you an edge.
Identify patterns and memorize their movements so that you can get around them without being seen or heard, developing the most viable routes, alternate routes and for evasive backtracking.
This intel guide is a simplification of how to escape a prison and will be further detailed in part 2 and 3.