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"There is something more powerful than each of us, a combination of our efforts, a Great Chain of industry that unites us. But it is only when we struggle in our own interest that the chain pulls society in the right direction..."Andrew Ryan

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GUL Persephony diffuse
Technically, Utopia shouldn't have much use for a detention facility… but if you do business as long as I have… well, you learn to pick a brand name from the writin' on the wall.
― Augustus Sinclair[src]

The entrance to Persephone.

The Persephone Penal Colony is host to the Persephone Correctional Facility. The hidden gulag of Rapture, this prison was run by Augustus Sinclair for Andrew Ryan to house exiled people who had endangered Rapture, the dangerously insane, and common criminals. It spans over two levels in BioShock 2, Outer Persephone and Inner Persephone. The prison is suspended in an immense cavern over a deep trench on the outskirts of the city, beneath nearby Fontaine Futuristics. Here, a number of inmates served in a think tank for Sinclair Solutions.


In the early days of Rapture's construction, when "The Sinker" platform was moored on the ocean floor, the men working on the foundations discovered an enormous cavern in the bedrock. Sinclair saw the possibilities in such a discovery and purchased the rights to the space. Through further exploration Sinclair discovered that the cave system extended out into a cliff at the edge of an oceanic trench. Eventually, the facility at Persephone was built in this cavern to lie beneath Fontaine Futuristics, a convenient location close to Sinclair Solutions' largest client.[1]

Before the Rapture Civil War, the Persephone facility hosted many dangerous people that Ryan thought threatened Rapture's society. One such troublemaker, the social psychiatrist Sofia Lamb, had been imprisoned in Persephone when her altruistic/collectivist philosophies began gaining too much influence among the rich and poor populations of Rapture. Augustus Sinclair, ever the opportunist, took advantage of Lamb's psychiatric expertise in the Prison and began employing her as a therapist for the other inmates, hoping to make them more docile.[2] This plan would eventually backfire on him, as Lamb used this extra freedom to gain considerable influence with the inmate population.[3]

With the birth of the Plasmid industry, Augustus Sinclair began renting out inmates as test subjects in the experiments conducted by Fontaine Futuristics,[4] and later by Ryan Industries. Many prisoners were subjected to these experiments.[2] One notable inmate (who would later be known only by the designation, "Subject Delta") was both a product tester at the "Plasmid Theater" in Fontaine Futuristics' headquarters, and the first successful Alpha Series candidate in the Big Daddy program. Sofia Lamb objected to this treatment of her potential supporters as it removed them from her control, but she coerced sacrifices from among her own people to retain her influence with Prison officials.[3]

This situation underwent a drastic change just before the events of the 1958 New Year's Eve Riots that sparked the open Civil War in the rest of Rapture. Sofia Lamb's followers among the inmate population managed to overthrow their captors, gaining complete control of the facility and ousting Augustus Sinclair in the process. The remaining guards and prison employees, such as Warden Nigel Weir, were left with the choice to either join Lamb's supporters or face the same fate as Sinclair,[5] or worse. After this, Sofia Lamb was free to come and go from the prison as she pleased, and it became her base of operations as she waited for the chaos of the Civil War to end, and afterward as the Rapture Family took control.[6]

Several years later, Sofia Lamb converted several wings of the prison into housing and caretaking for a new batch of Little Sisters kidnapped from the surface. Dr. Edward Grimes and other staff (who had previously been employees of the prison) were commissioned to care for the girls and perform the needed operations on them. Lamb also brought her daughter Eleanor to stay in Persephone after her condition as a Little Sister was cured. Eleanor was soon confined within the prison as her mother began using her in the experiment to create a "perfect Utopian." For this purpose Eleanor was eventually confined in a comfortably arranged quarantine chamber in the upper level of Persephone.[7] It is here that Subject Delta found her during the events of BioShock 2.

Operation of the FacilityEdit

Manacles spec

Fail-Safe Industries made a profit out of selling luxuries to inmates.

BioShock 2-Inner Persephone - Fail-Safe Industries advertising bed f0357

The advertising for better beds…

GUL AD PreferredPatient

… and other privileges by Fail-Safe.

Augustus Sinclair ran Persephone like many of his other business endeavors, trying to extract as much profit from it as he could. A significant way Sinclair Solutions profited was by renting out inmates to be test subjects to other firms. Sinclair also turned a profit in other ways, when inmates were given the option to purchase special treatment or more comfortable accommodations. Advertisements for comfier beds and other products of "Fail-Safe Industries" were plastered on the prison walls, enticing inmates to purchase "premium accommodations available from your Sinclair Solutions Catalog." The advertisements also may imply inmates profiting by volunteering for experiments.


A "No Talking" sign.

Sinclair also employed the skills and expertise of various inmates to develop products for his companies in his Think Tank.[8] Employees of Persephone seemed at least partially concerned with "rehabilitation" of the inmates. However, this interest was mostly inspired by the desire to make them more docile. An entire ward of the prison was devoted to inmate therapy. There, Dr. Grimes and other staff supervised patients in simple activities like creating paintings. Other forms of "therapy" included electroshock treatments, and a special room designed to condition patients against feeling carnal urges. While walking around as a Little Sister, the player hears what is likely an electric drill or bone saw usually employed to cut into patients' skulls.


Known EmployeesEdit

Known InmatesEdit


Behind the ScenesEdit

  • Persephone was named after the daughter of Demeter, Greek goddess of the corn, who was kidnapped by Hades, lord of the underworld, to be his queen. To prevent Demeter's search for her daughter from driving humanity to starvation, Hades agreed to let Persephone visit with her mother eight months out of the year, in spring, summer and autumn, while ruling with him the rest of the year, in winter. Similarly, Sofia Lamb took Eleanor from Subject Delta, and he rescued her to prevent Rapture from ultimately collapsing.[9]
  • If the player looks down through any window in either Outer or Inner Persephone, an enormous glowing orb can be seen, bigger than Persephone itself. It can also be (partially) seen radiating light around the Fontaine Futuristics level. The light seen in the Futuristics is reminiscent of the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights. No explanation is given in any part of the game for what exactly it is, but one of the game's developers, Steve Gaynor, revealed what it was meant to be. It is a "luminescent biomass, which is what originally mutated the sea slugs to produce ADAM."[10]

Persephone concept art seen in Deco Devolution.

  • In one of the Little Sisters' songs, Persephone is called "the House of Upside Down".
    • Persephone was originally designed to be a literal upside down Art Deco building built in a cavern built as a part of Rapture's foundation anchor.[11] Early iterations of getting to Persephone from Fontaine Futuristics involved coming up to a trench and jumping into the abyss to the hidden correctional facility.[12]
  • The wall map of Inner Persephone indicates it originally had a Metro station/link, which would make sense as a way to transport inmates, staff and supplies into the facilities. It is not clear if the Metro link is Bathysphere or an Atlantic Express connection.
  • In an earlier version of BioShock 2's plot, Persephone was called "Rapture's madhouse" instead of being a secret prison for hindrances to Ryan's politics.[13]
    • People were detained because they didn't fit into Rapture and were informed that they were being sent back to the surface. However, Andrew Ryan did not want anyone to reveal Rapture's location. Thus they were kept in this prison while also being sold to Ryan Industries to do Plasmid experiments.[14]


  1. Post by Jordan Thomas in "The Sinker" thread on the 2K BioShock 2 Forums
  2. 2.0 2.1 Andrew Ryan's Audio Diary: A Stratagem for Sinclair
  3. 3.0 3.1 Augustus Sinclair's Audio Diary: Sacrifices
  4. Gilbert Alexander's Audio Diary: Source of Volunteers
  5. Nigel Weir's Audio Diary: Out With the Old...
  6. Post by Jordan Thomas in the "When was Sofia Lamb imprisoned? *SPOILERS*" thread on the 2K Forums
  7. Eleanor Lamb's Audio Diary: Destructive Learning
  8. Augustus Sinclair's Audio Diary: Selling Ryan Short
  9. Persephone on Wikipedia.
  10. Post by Steve Gaynor on the topic "Introduction time! Steve Gaynor, writer/Lead Designer of Minerva's Den" in the 2K BioShock 2 Forums
  11. Deco Devolution - Environments p.78, p.109, p.111
  12. Deco Devolution - Environments p.98
  13. Unused radio message "Too Quiet"
  14. Deco Devolution - Environments p.104