In my world there two kinds of prisons:

  1. Nearly all of the prisons follows the same rules, which are quite similar to nowadays Earth prisons. Run by a government's agency, where prisoners are fed, can read, walk around designated area, can be visited from time to time, can receive packs and send letters, some of them even have access to a computer and the Internet etc.

  2. There is one, very specific prison. Run by a private company, not working or even existing legally (run thanks to a lot of money sent to a lot of people in form of bribes), not widely known (actually, you can't find virtually any information about it, neither in the Internet nor in the news, if you don't know for what and in where to look for -- hidden by a facade of nursing home) where prisoners are kept under very strict rules that summarizes to "no contact with outer world" or even actually disappears (can't send or receive any kind of communication, can't be visited by anyone, neither from the family or government and can't be released -- getting there is a one-way ticket).

Now, I have a prisoner (one or more), a very bad personae (series killer or similar sort, sentenced to life-sentence etc.) that is now in the "regular" prison and I want him/her to be moved to that "special" prison. But, due to above-described conditions and circumstances, I want to do this:

  • the way, no one would object or ask questions -- neither "roommates". nor family, any "regular" prison employee, some newsagent, member of the government or some organization... no one,
  • the way that brings the least attention that it is possible to bring,
  • the way, it is kept in maximum possible secret.

For the sake of the story and question, we may assume that transferred suspect:

  • can be both conscious and fully aware of the fact that he/she is being transferred to another prison or
  • can be completely unconscious, falling asleep in prison A and waking in prison B.

Once prisoner is transferred to the destination ("special" prison), it will be rendered completely powerless, helpless and even unconscious. It will be connected to a device / system that will lure him into another reality. For this reason, he/she will never seek any way of freedom or escape or even any attempt of contacting "the outer world". Because it will be kept till the end of his/her life lured that there is no outer world.

For these reasons this "special" prison does not need anything special for preventing prisoners from escaping, like heavy guarding etc. They will be kept in secret (i.e. in basement, underground) only to hide them from possible visitors from the outer world, not to prevent prisoners from escaping. Because they will not be willing to escape (and not be even aware that any kind of escape is possible).

What options do I have? How to prepare my world and the organization that runs this special kind of prison. Whom should I pay (if anyone) and how much? What other preparations I must do in order to be able to keep such "transferring" process to run as smudge as possible and keep it in the deepest secret in the same time?

This isn't a one-time operation, but a regular process that will involve some plans / plots, ideas, devices etc., and will be repeated many times, in many countries -- that's why I am asking here (i.e. how to prepare my world for such process, especially that it must be kept in a maximum secret) and not in story building (where I could ask about one, single occurrence of such transfer).

For the simplicity of possible answers, let's assume that the entire world is democratic, like the USA and other really democratic countries in our world.

A fellow-question to this one.

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  • $\begingroup$ What your world look like? Is it democratic, like USA, or autocratic, like North Korea? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jul 9 '18 at 23:53
  • $\begingroup$ First option. Sorry, for not clarifying this in first place. Added clarification to the question. $\endgroup$ – trejder Jul 9 '18 at 23:56
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    $\begingroup$ Having this place hidden as a nursing home...I assume there's an actual nursing home on the first floor and the prisoners are in the basement or something? Because most nursing homes just don't look like a maximum security prison... $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby Jul 10 '18 at 2:05
  • $\begingroup$ related $\endgroup$ – Kepotx Jul 10 '18 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ @ErinThursby No, there will be no heavy guarding and actual nursing home can take as much space as needed. Please, see the edited questions. It seems that (due to a very late night hour) I missed some important key. Sorry. $\endgroup$ – trejder Jul 10 '18 at 9:20

You have one or more agents in the medical ward of the legal prison. He drugs and knocks out the target. His medical records are altered to show that he died, and an urn is returned to his family, officially containing his ashes. In reality, the target never even made it to the morgue, and instead was taken to the secret prison. If the rest of the world thinks he's dead, no one will come looking for him.

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  • $\begingroup$ How do you justify an unreasonable amount of death in the same prison? As per the OP specifications this is something that should occurs quite often. $\endgroup$ – theGarz Jul 10 '18 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ By not using the same legal prison each time. There's no reason to suspect all of these targets will come from the same facility. $\endgroup$ – Ryan_L Jul 10 '18 at 16:07

Come up with a pretext for transferring the prisoner to a different facility. Make sure your process for doing so involves a lot of complicated procedures. Then just "lose" them in the system. With the right setup - e.g., staff at the transferring prison can postpone the transfer if there's a problem, so staff at the receiving prison aren't too surprised if someone doesn't show up on time - you could end up in a situation where all the regular employees think the prisoner is some other group's problem.

Then you just need to make it very difficult for those pesky journalists and bureaucrats to come up with any hard evidence that the prisoner is supposed to be at a given facility and isn't.

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    $\begingroup$ This was going to be my answer too. Bureaucratic shell game. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jul 10 '18 at 0:00
  • $\begingroup$ All hail the power of bureaucracy. $\endgroup$ – ironduke97 Jul 10 '18 at 4:02
  • $\begingroup$ In a democratic state, where every person should be granted a lawyer and a fair trial, you can barely gain some time before the laws -not only some interested person- really start to push against you. A prisoner should have the basic right to meet with his defender once in a while, or to have some medical chek-ups or to receive visits. Since the plan is to make the prisoner literally vanished from our society this plan simply and definitely can't work. $\endgroup$ – theGarz Jul 10 '18 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ @theGarz I'm talking about prisoners who have already been fairly tried, fairly sentenced, and fairly imprisoned before getting "lost". At that point, especially for general offenders, they don't have regular contact with counsel because - except for the parole board or when planning an appeal - there's no point to it. $\endgroup$ – Cadence Jul 10 '18 at 18:33

It's quite impossible to meet your secret specifications since prisons are actually responsible for their inmates, they can't just lose them. Moreover, a couple of missing prisoner could be justified as prison break, but if a lot of people were "escaping" regularly the prison and its staff would have been under major investigation. Not to mention that, sooner or later, the escaped people should try to have some contacts with their relatives or friends. If none of the escaped has been heard it will be suspicious.

The only way to permanently move one prisoner in another place is to fake his own death otherwise, sooner or later, someone will ask something.

Prisons are not a good place to do make people disappear (as long as the "democratic government" and overall civily guard behavior hypotesis remain): there are prisoners' list, scheduled medical checks, morning and evening rolling calls, plenty of safety cameras, and -as written before- people can't just walk away by their own will since it's the main purpose of the prison to avoid that.

If you can fake someone's death, and cover his trip to another place in a prison, and if this is not something that happens once but it's rather a regular event, it means that most part of the staff has been corrupted and it's an active part of your evil plan. This couln't work with the previous hypotesis, especially if you need to collect people from a lot of different prisons (otherwise some statistical check would lead to investigation due to unreasonable amount of deaths). Either the prisons are democratically controlled or it is a country level conspiracy, you can't have it both ways.

It's up to you to decide, if it's a huge conspiracy you can justify pretty much everything: a lot of "escaped" people, fake deaths, doppleganger replacement...

You'll have better odds if you simulate (actually not necessary to simulate) a severe disease that must be cured in a hospital, in which you'll temporary move the designed person, and in which your covert agents could move way more freely, since an hospital is way more a "public place" respect to a prison. Since different hospitals are specilized in different illnesses you can spread your activity, keeping a low profile. Using a lot of different hospitals could justify a lot of escapes and also a lot of deaths (with the disadvantage that there are a lot of medics that can sniff something around).

One possible way to minimize the staff involvement is to pay some prisoners to start fights with the designed ones, to provoke them, so they should be punished and sentenced to be held in solitary confinement. With just one or two bribed guards you can contaminate the isolation cell or, better, directly the prisoner by infecing his specific food (which is doable since the prisoner will eat inside the cell and not in the common canteen).

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I have a prisoner (one or more), a very bad personae (series killer or similar sort, sentenced to life-sentence etc.) that is now in the "regular" prison and I want him/her to be moved to that "special" prison.

And you want to keep it a secret without anyone noticing.

First, target people with little or no family, or if they do have family, their family isn't interested in them.

Second, give them a series of transfers through more than one facility--so the first transfer, if they have made any friends, they can verify that they got there and there are records. Then you move them again, before they have time to connect with anyone, and then one more time to the actual facility. Make sure other prisoners are transferred with them (but to different cell blocks so they have no contact) on the first transfer to cover it, and maybe even on the second one (these would be different prisoners, strangers to them).

You might not have to play such an elaborate shell game with every prisoner (some will be less social and/or memorable) and you really shouldn't--you don't want there to be a pattern. With every prisoner there should be an assessment, a score on the likelihood that anyone is going to come looking for them.

If someone does, have a death certificate cover story ready.

Something else you can do--declare 3 prisoners dead to their families, offer incineration with ashes sent home at no cost to the family or they can pick up/pay to collect the body.

You pick prisoners that have been abandoned by their families, or that have families in bad financial situations who live far away (so the cost of having the body shipped and the funeral is prohibitive for them). Tell them that you have to have payment upfront by the next day, or you'll incinerate.

If they manage the payment, kill the prisoner and send the body. If they don't send some ashes, and put the prisoner in your secret facility. However if you have profiled the family correctly, this likely won't happen often.

Recordswise, they'd be dead. You can even stage something where they are found, covered in blood and taken to the infirmary. In fact, if a prisoner does happen to get attacked and is already on the list, you can let the other prisoners know that they "died."

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice idea the short term payment, but how do you justify an unreasonable amount of death in the same prison? As per the OP specifications this is something that should occurs quite often. $\endgroup$ – theGarz Jul 10 '18 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ @theGarz I'd use more than one prison as the supply point if possible. But if you pick people nobody cares about, it might not matter. If someone looks into the number of deaths, which would be on record, you simply stop and give them a story about shoddy prison conditions. You can even pretend to "hide" those conditions, so that they can be discovered by a nosy reporter or somesuch. $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby Jul 11 '18 at 6:05

Infect him with a "very fatal disease", which is incidentally also highly contagious, declare that he is to be transferred immediately to a "hospital specialised to cure it". Done. Even the prisoner himself won't object to a possibility of being cured. The symptoms of the disease may be faked with drugs.

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  • $\begingroup$ This ties quite nicely into a Ryan_L's answer: "Unfortunately, the experimental cure did not work, and <prisoner> died. To prevent spread of disease, we have been forced to cremate his body." $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Jul 10 '18 at 9:44


You transfer the prisoner. The person who arrives at the new site, putatively the prisoner, is actually a different individual who somewhat resembles the abductee. This substitute is uncommunicative and mentally deficient - possibly from pre-existing disease / dementia or (in a darker scenario) rendered that way. He / she does not communicate well. Perfunctory attentions are rendered by the prison medical staff, and the substitute is evaluated appropriately and (ineffective) treatment rendered. Family and friends of the prisoner lament his decline and how it seems to have changed him into a different person.

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  • $\begingroup$ Halo's flash clones used in the Spartan 2 project might be useful here. $\endgroup$ – ironduke97 Jul 10 '18 at 5:55
  • $\begingroup$ in this case you also need (at least) to modify the DNA records of the prisoner (records that have to be present since he was already arrested, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment), also hoping that another random law enforcement public agency didn't keep the same DNA sample because even marginally involved in the crimes the prisoner committed. $\endgroup$ – theGarz Jul 10 '18 at 12:12

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