When Michael Scofield's (Wentworth Miller) brother, Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) is convicted of murdering the Vice-President's brother and sentenced to death for a murder he didn't commit, he devises an elaborate plan to free his brother -- by taking away his own freedom.
The Plan: Michael spends months preparing a plan to free his brother from execution by breaking him out of prison. Michael is a structural engineer (with an Ivy League education) and happens to have access to the blueprints of the prison, so he has the map tattooed on his entire body (it is disguised as drawings). Next step, getting himself incarcerated at the same prison, which he achieves by committing armed robbery.
Once inside Fox River, Michael manages to not only get in touch with Lincoln, but gets himself involved in a prison work program, which allows him access to the areas he needs to complete his escape plan.
In usual television fashion, all does not go according to plan and before he knows it, other convicts are involved in the escape plan. While this may have been a hindrance at first, Michael soon realizes that each convict offers some sort of tool to assist in the escape plan.
In the season one finale, the group escapes and head toward safety.