(Editor's note: As we know season three of everyone's favorite show "The Walking Dead" is going to be taking Rick and crew to the prison. As such the "SURVIVE THIS!" girls decided give their input on the prison scenario. This article is part of a two part limited series. Today we will hear A.K. Abby's side of the argument. If you missed it you can find Dr. Dee Kay's side of the discussion here. Enjoy!)
The questions recently arose whether a prison after the zombie apocalypse would be a super beneficial fortress or an all you can eat buffet for the undead. Both sides of this raging debate have valid points for their beliefs on the subject. Dr. Dee Kay recently espoused her theories for why retaking and fortifying a prison would be a good idea. I'm afraid I have to disagree with her.
Imagine for a moment that you're living after the rise of the not-so-living dead. You're a survivor, a tough guy (or girl), ready to stand against the undead hordes and carve out a piece of the world to re-civilize. You come upon an old prison, high concrete walls, razor wire posted along the top of each. It looks like a medieval fortress, protected, strong, able to withstand a siege by a horde of the undead for years. You might be right....up to that point. But there are a number of hurdles ahead of you and none of them are by any means easy to handle. First how many others do you have to help you secure this would be safe haven? If you have at least a small group of other well armed survivors with you then let's consider the next step. If you're alone....forget it. Alone you won't be able to survive what you'd need to do next.
But we'll assume you have a small group of others with you. Let's consider how you get into the prison first. Since we've already established what a fortified building this is you'll no doubt have noticed that it's not exactly open to guests. It's a prison, not a Motel 6.
Head to the gates, if you're lucky the guards left it unlocked when they took off for the hills. If you're that lucky I think you won't be much surprised when you find the wandering dead inside the prison walls, after all they go anywhere there's fresh brains as long as they can get inside. And even though prisoners aren't always the brightest creatures they do possess enough brains for a zombie to snack on.
So, once within the walls you'll find a big open courtyard and a tiny guardhouse. The guardhouse won't have electricity, even if the prison had a generator it isn't likely to be turned on or have any fuel, so the gates won't close at the push of a button. You'll have to close them manually behind you to prevent any other deadies from following you inside. Now, lest we find ourselves not paying attention, you're TRAPPED INSIDE! But seriously, now you can kill any zeds hanging around the interior walls and venture further inside.
Further within you'll start to encounter the real problems. This prison is likely to already be inhabited by one of three groups. These groups will either be well armed prison guards intent on protecting their safe haven, dangerous prisoners left to fend for themselves, or guards and prisoners turned into Zombies. Let's consider each group, shall we?
If you encounter a group of guards that's your best bet for survival. They might not kill you. Then again you never can tell. For certain you and your group will be press ganged into their service and if you're allowed to stay then you will most certainly not be in charge. If they decide you can't stay, and you're still a lucky ducky (the non-zombie type), then the nice guards will simply usher you back outside, and in a firm tone of voice backed by a pistol pointed to your head tell you to be on your way. If you're not lucky and they're in a bad mood...who knows?
If you're not dealing with former guards then you may be in for worse luck. The prison may still be inhabited by it's former inmates. If they've gotten loose and reached the weapons then you're in for a hell of a fight. Most of these prisoners are likely dangerous and violent and won't be kindly inclined towards you. At best they'll kill you outright. At worst you'll be forced into servitude, beaten, raped, have everything taken from you and thrown into the cells to be used or beaten at will.
The loose prisoners would be bad enough but what if they're still in their cells? Locked up prisoners would likely be half starved and desperate. They would threaten and cajole you to let them loose, to arm them and feed them. But let's not forget these are dangerous folks. You're now faced with two choices, release them and hope they feel some kindness towards you or at least that they're willing to leave peacefully. (Doubtful.) Your other option....shoot them like the caged animals they are. A dreadful waste of ammunition but possibly a necessary evil. You cannot afford even one more liability when you're already surrounded by hordes of hungry flesh eaters.
The last option is you might find a prison populated entirely by the undead. There would be the guards, loose and infected, seeking your brains, the undead prisoners in their cells (a dangerous prospect to clear out), and possibly chain gangs full of the shambling dead. Naturally you'll want to take out these flesh eating menaces as quickly as possible and as safely. But keep in mind that there will likely be legless zombies slithering about, torso zombies chewed up and laying about in closets, and other such dangers. Until you've checked and rechecked every tiny corner of the entire complex you can't be sure you've cleared the whole thing of every danger.
If you somehow manage to find a prison that's completely empty or one you can clear out with as little danger to yourself and your group as possible then there's still the issue or refortifying it and making it a secure base of operations. To secure such a large structure wouldn't be easy and let's not forget that prisons were designed to keep people in, not out. Prisons are usually built far from towns so getting supplies in won't be easy. Food stores that remain there will likely be spoiled and what has managed to survive won't keep you and your group for very long.
Maintaining such a large area won't be easy either. You will keep your group busy manning the walls, securing the gates, checking the sewer run offs, and other important tasks. And if your luck runs out, which eventually it will, dropping the soap will be the least of your worries.
There will be the ever present threat of the zombie hoards outside your walls and even if they don't get inside their constant moaning (which will attract other zombies who'll moan louder, etc) is often considered a form of torture and has been known to drive strong men insane. You'll also have to deal with other survivors who think your safe haven would be a good place for them to stay safe. You might get lucky (there's that word again) and they'll be peaceful and want to share with you. But don't count on it. At least some of the other survivors will want to take your fortress from you to use as their own without your meddling interference. (What are you, Scooby and the gang?)
And if any of your crew inside gets infected you’re screwed. You have a million places to run and they have a million places to hide. And worse yet, you have no way out. While you’ve been holding up here inside your secure fortress the undead have been building up outside your walls. Best to just lean over, put your head between your legs, and kiss your butt goodbye!
Since the prison isn't the great option you hoped it would be you might consider something smaller, something more easily cleared and protected, something close to a shopping center so you'll have a ready supply of food and materials. Also a place you can send those annoying girly girls who want you to look for abandoned Manolo Blahniks while you're on a food run. (Yum, fashionistas.) Check back here in the near future for an article that will help you clear a small residence and secure it against the rampaging hordes.
Remember you heard it here first, now....Survive This!
Editors Note: If you have any questions or comments about this article, or you have a suggestion for subject matter that you'd like to see the Twins write about, please use the comment section below