Starfield jail system explained & how to avoid it

Rajarshi Acharya
character pointing a gun in starfield

Starfield features a comprehensive jail system, which means players can’t get off the hook easily when they commit crimes. Here’s a rundown of how the jail system works in Starfield and how you can avoid it.

The jail system in Bethesda’s Starfield closely mirrors that of the renowned Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, in which, committing a crime could lead to your arrest and imprisonment.

Borrowing from the Elder Scrolls series, this feature undoubtedly enhances the immersive experience of Starfield. Actions such as stealing or harming NPCs and factions in Skyrim would alter their attitude towards you and the sci-fi RPG incorporates a similar system which adds depth to the gameplay and makes player choices, such as smuggling Contraband, more consequential.

On that note, let’s take a look at Starfield’s jail system.

How do jails work in Starfield?

starfield characters on a spaceship
Unlike in The Commonwealth, crime does not go unpunished in the Settled Systems.

Here’s how the jail system in Starfield works:

  • Starfield’s jail system is similar to Skyrim’s, allowing you to surrender, pay fines, or resist arrest and flee.
  • You can join multiple factions in the game, which eventually forces you to choose between loyalty and betrayal. A Contraband system in the game allows you to smuggle illegal goods for these factions using special ship modules.

During an AMA on the official Starfield Discord channel, developers Will Shen and Emil Pagliarulo confirmed the core mechanics of the jail system: “The Settled Systems is more like Skyrim than Fallout 4’s Commonwealth in that regard,” said Emil Pagliarulo.

“There’s civilization, there’s government, and there are laws. And in a couple of cases, we actually explore the themes of crime and punishment in our futuristic universe,” he added.

What happens when you go to jail in Starfield?

If you get sent to Jail in Starfield, you will lose all the items that you stole and some XP based on how long you stay in prison. The higher your bounty is, the longer your prison sentence will be. For example, a bounty of 500 Credit will cost you 5 days and the XP you would have earned in those days. However, you won’t go below zero XP or lose any levels.

How to avoid going to jail in Starfield

You can avoid going to jail by escaping to another system. This is because a bounty in one region doesn’t affect you in other regions. There are also some other ways to avoid prison in Starfield:

  • Fight Security Guards – You can choose to fight the Security Guards, but this is not a good idea in some regions like Neon or New Atlantis, where there are many security forces that will keep coming.
  • Bribe officers – Trying to Bribe the officers in some regions like Neon, where this option is available, can help you avoid going to jail. This is costly, but you can keep the stolen goods. So make sure you have enough Credits with you.
  • Use the Persuasion trait – You can use the Persuasion trait to convince the security guards to accept a bribe even if the system does not allow it. But this is not very likely to work, so you might want to use the other options.
  • Get Shielded Cargo – You can use a Shielded Cargo to hide your Contraband from the scans. This is useful if you don’t have a bounty yet but you have stolen goods with you.
  • Pay the bounty – This is the last resort. If nothing works, you can just give up the stolen goods, pay the fine (your bounty), and leave.

So that covers everything about how jails work and how to avoid them in Starfield. To know more about the game, check these out:

Best PC settings for Starfield | Can you visit Earth in Starfield | Best places to sell items in Starfield | Starfield ending explained | Starfield romance explained | Starfield money glitch | Starfield plants explained | How many planets are in Starfield | Is Starfield coming to PlayStation?

About The Author

Rajarshi is a Writer at CharlieIntel who loves RPGs, racing games, FPS titles, and unique indie games that grab his attention. With a degree in English literature from Rabindra Bharati University, Rajarshi worked for Sportskeeda and KeenGamer before joining CharlieIntel in 2023. You can reach him at [email protected].