Hello Studiot !
Sorry I did not read all the spinoff Qs
I am sure you had derived the same Solution & Congrats !
I had solved this puzzle years back when a contemporary proposed this when we were all competing to get selected into the Air Force.
He said 3 White Caps & 2 Reds & it doesn't matter as it has to be 3 of one Color and 2 of the other.
The one answering third need not be Blind if the three are made to stand in a file and in any case he can not see anyone's hat/cap and that is the point.
He has to derive his answer only from what he hears & he can always decide on his own hat color whether the First and Second responders can decide or not.
If the First says Yes he knows then third has a Red Hat & if the Second says he knows then too the third has a Red hat or else he has a Black Hat.
To escape Prison for sure the third has to jump in and interject that he has such and such Hat as soon as the First or Second Prisoner mentions Yes & before telling the Color.
That is possible as nowadays it is Common on TV Debates never to allow anyone else to complete a Sentence !