Prisons are an excellent place to barricade yourself into according to Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead. This is also shown in AMC’s The Walking Dead, where a large group of people was capable of staying safe for a longer time. A prison is already built like a fortress, with fences and strong, stone walls around the entire compound. Furthermore it has sniper towers, an infirmary, an armory, a well stocked kitchen meant to feed an entire prison worth of criminals. You can fall back into concrete walls and steel doors in case the zombies manage to get past your defenses. However, stay alert for remaining prisoners in the complex, or other survivors.
There are two problems when you hole up in a prison: First, it will literally become your own prison since you are locked up, and the fact that it may still house criminals when you first barricade yourself in there. It’s not like the government is not going to release the inmates. If this is the case, you have three options: Release them, and have extra defenders under the new threat that they may result to their old ways; keep them in their cells and still feed them, which loses you supplies and only gains you a clear conscious, or kill them by shooting them or just leaving them in their cells and let them starve, which loses you extra defenders, but also the task of disposing their bodies.
The cells pose an interesting line of defense. In case the prison becomes completely overrun, you should have several cells filled with supplies ahead of time, that way you and the survivors can stay away out of the reach of the zombies while shooting or stabbing them through the cell doors. They can also used to store individual zombies to be studied, since knowledge will always be man’s greatest weapon. Or, if any survivors or criminals get out of hand, you can always use the cells for what they were designed for; keeping rampant people who can get others killed where they can’t do harm. Entire cell blocks can be sealed off, and as long as the zombies don’t have multiple entry points around the complex, you can easily quarantine whole sections off. However, make sure you don’t become locked in your own cell, unless you can get it open which is unlikely you will be stuck. Always make sure the first thing you do is find the keys to cell doors.
Older prisons offer better defense than newer ones, due to the fact that more recently built prisons rely mainly on electrified fences, razor wire, and sniper towers to prevent inmates from escaping. While this may work well when only halting a few dozen zombies, a few hundred will easily topple the chain link fences in no time. The solid stone walls of older prisons provide a far better physical barrier against huge swarms of the living dead, provided they have regular maintenance.
Most prisons have rehabilitation programs, and as such most prisons will have libraries full of books on practical and technical skills, such as machining, carpentry and agriculture, which you are going to need for a prolonged siege and in the aftermath.
Morale is a problem that you are going to have to find a creative solution to. While this is the case with most bases, it applies even more so to prisons, since they are depressing environments designed specifically to break a man’s spirit and hopefully deter them from future crimes once their sentence is over. This means you’ll have to find ways to keep yourself and the other survivors entertained and distracted from the fact that they’re essentially in jail. Use movies, books, any entertainment you can find, even organize talent shows if possible, no matter how bad the acts are, anything at all to keep yourselves from going insane.
Prisons nowadays only contain non-lethal equipment and riot gear to prevent convicts from obtaining lethal weapons and to subdue riots without death. Obtaining your own firearms is a must.
This was about all I know about how to survive in prison, but if you get to one in the Apocalypse you should have a fair shot at surviving it! I hope you enjoyed this post and as always: Support me by liking me on Facebook, let me know what you think in the comments & happy surviving!