For all of you who saw the season 2 finale of “The Walking Dead” you saw a large prison facility. For those of you who’ve read the comic books, you know that they end up in the prison. Now, this begs the question, is a prison a good place to hold out and use as a base after Z-day?
Since I actually work in a Maximum Security Prison, I’m uniquely qualified to weigh the pros and cons of a prison as a fortress/base of operations. Everyone knows that prisons are designed to keep people in, but they also have features to keep people out. Lets examine Prison defenses, starting with the largest, and most notable.
Prisons usually have a few fences, and then inside those, there are even more fences. The chainlink and razor wire would definately keep zombies out. The fence at my prison actually stopped a large box truck full of inmates from escaping once upon a time. All it really takes though, is one person with some wire cutters to throw a serious monkey wrench in your defenses. A constant watch of the fence line 24 hours a day is essential for security.
Modern prisons don’t really rely on bars for doors anymore. They have been replaced by large steel doors with polycarbinate windows that can stop a bullet. Sometimes bars are still used. For instance, inside my prison, the Max units have a gate of steel bars surrounding every door, which has to be opened and then shut behind you before you can open the steel door. These setups are called “trap gates” or “sally ports”. Every entrance to the building has at least one, and once inside that, there are even more doors. Sometimes up to five steel doors stand between you and the inside of the unit. Once inside, you’d stand a very good chance of withstanding an onslaught of zombies. If you want out, then thats another story all together. The unit control center, sits on top of the main unit where you can look out into every pod inside the unit. (there are 4 pods per unit) The Unit Control has its own trap gate, and also contains an escape door so that you can get out onto the roof. This would also be useful for your snipers. Each unit has two enclosed yard areas with 4-8 lockable recreation cages. These are useful for quarantine of new survivors so that you can observe them. After which, you can lock them inside a cell for more observation for as long as necessary. Each unit(in my prison) can house 96 inmates, so you can have a substantial amount of people living in one area.
The Prison Armory isn’t a huge one, but it has lots of ammo. I can’t divulge much more than that, but I can say that people have to qualify with the weapons all the time, so there is enough ammo for that and to stop a full scale riot. There are rifles, pistols, and shotguns for at least 20 people, as well as specialty impact munitions, and smoke/gas grenades.
The Chow Hall
The prison keeps a good amount of food on hand. At least a months worth for the whole prison for inmates as well as officers. When there are only about 100 people, that can translate into close to a year of food in some instances. Water can be gotten through gathering techniques. Other foods can be grown on the exercise yards on the lower security units, because each low security yard is several acres. Just be sure to bring seeds, or gather them up. Make sure they are “legacy” seeds though, these seeds grow plants that also leave seeds. Some of the engineered plant species don’t make seeds.
All in all, a prison can make one hell of a Zombie Fortress. You just have to be sure that you clear it properly, and that you don’t become a victim of the security features and get trapped inside with a horde of zombies.