A glimpse inside Mt Crawford Prison

04:18, Nov 22 2012
Mt Crawford Prison
The entrance to Mt Crawford Prison.
Mt Crawford Prison
The hallway of the prison's Unit One, where high-risk prisoners were kept.
Mt Crawford Prison
A typical cell in Mt Crawford's Unit One.
Mt Crawford Prison
Mt Crawford Prison's Unit Two South.
Mt Crawford Prison
The prison's chapel.
Mt Crawford Prison
The spot where executions took place in the 1930s. Bodies were taken through the small door.
Mt Crawford Prison
The prison kitchen.
Mt Crawford Prison
The covered exercise yard at the prison. The murals were painted by the prisoners themselves.
Mt Crawford Prison
Mt Crawford Prison movement co-ordinator Philip Lester at the prison.
David Blake
BEHIND BARS: David Blake working in Wellington Prison's printing room where, brochures for public and private companies are printed using prison labour.

Wellington's Mt Crawford Prison will be open to the public on Saturday so people can explore the high-security grounds before it is closed permanently.

The jail on Miramar Peninsula was built by prisoners themselves in 1927, using concrete blocks made with sand from Wellington's South Coast.

After 85 years in operation, the now-outdated facilities at Mt Crawford have been decommissioned and all prisoners have been transferred to Rimutaka.

"New Zealand has moved on considerably since then and today the prison is not up to the standard of a modern Corrections facility and no longer meets our needs. We're committed to reducing re-offending by 25 per cent by 2017, and to do so, we need facilities that will help us meet that target," Corrections Services' Lower North regional manager Karen Petrie said.

At the open day, public will be able to see where executions took place in the 1930s including small door where bodies were removed and the Separates Room used for isolation punishment.

The prison's exercise yard was covered in 1959 so prisoners could use the area in all weather. Its walls are decorated with artwork by offenders.

Home to 120 prisoners at a time, the prison had a ward of higher security cells where offenders were held in rooms with bunk beds for two.

Entry will be between 10am and 3pm on Saturday 24 November by gold coin donation, with proceeds going to Women's Refuge, Victim Support, the Salvation Army and the Night Shelter. The prison is located at Main Rd, Maupuia.

Contact Jazial Crossley
Wellington business reporter
Email: jazial.crossley@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @msbananapeel


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