It could safely hold upwards of 100,000 people, and was manned by a crew routinely consisting of corrections officers, torturers, and other various staff.
Dak Ralter and Breg used a stolen prison barge to escape from the labor colony on Kalist VI shortly before the Battle of Yavin. With assistance from a mortally wounded Breg, Ralter managed to single-handedly pilot the ship off of Kalist VI, enter hyperspace, and reach sanctuary at the Rebel base on the planet Tierfon, where he miraculously landed the vessel.
The barges were often used to ferry suspected Rebel sympathizers to penal colonies during the reign of the Empire. One such vessel was the Purge, which broke down in deep space and subsequently was contaminated with a deadly virus from a derelict Star Destroyer. They were also known to transport prisoners to Kessel, Quirt's prison ship was one such ship that transported prisoners to Kessel.
A number of these ships were docked at the Wheel when Han Solo fought in The Big Game. Those who were unable to pay their debts at the station's casinos could choose to go to the prison ships or fight in the Big Game.
Shortly after the Subjugation of Bespin, the bounty hunter Dengar and Manaroo, with assistance from the Alliance to Restore the Republic, used a stolen prison barge while masquerading as COMPNOR officers to evacuate thousands of Aruzans from the planet Aruza, saving them from COMPNOR's Redesign policies.
- Way of the Wookiee
- Death Troopers
- Star Wars 19: The Ultimate Gamble (First appearance)
- Star Wars 21: Shadow of a Dark Lord (Mentioned only)
- Payback: The Tale of Dengar
- Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back
- Death Troopers: Recovered Messages from Purge
- "Evil Empire!"—Star Wars Insider 149