Inmates celebrate with a hot lunch
Christmas lunch in prison this year promises to be nothing flashy.
Prisoners spending the day behind bars this year will be served a traditional roast for lunch to the tune of $4 a head.
Department of Corrections services manager Dr Brendan Anstiss said the meal - a lunch of roast chicken, roast potatoes, carrots and peas with apple pie and custard for dessert - would be the same for each of New Zealand's 8500 prisoners across all 18 Corrections-managed prisons.
While the fare is finer than usual for a Tuesday, the lunch would still be designed to meet "basic nutritional requirements".
"It will resemble a day much like any other," he said.
The meal will be cooked by prisoners working in the facilities' kitchens, overseen by catering instructors.
Prisoners will be able to purchase canteen items such as chocolates, Christmas mince pies, a small fruit pudding and Christmas cake from the prison canteen.
For dinner, they will have the sandwiches they would normally have for lunch.
While visits from family are out for the statutory holidays, prisoners who wish to attend church on Christmas Day can attend multi-denominational services inside the wire.
Depending on their security classifications and behaviour, some may be allowed to engage in recreational activities such as sport and music, Anstiss said.
All incoming gifts would be subject to normal security processes to prevent contraband entering prisons, he said.
"Corrections appreciates that Christmas can be a trying time for prisoners' families and friends and we are committed to ensuring the day will be marked in an appropriate way," he said.
Pillars, a charity for children of prisoners, will be running its activity centre in the visiting facilities, complete with Santa and presents so that the children of prisoners can experience some form of Christmas with their parents.
Pillars has also arranged for its clients to receive hampers and gifts in the holiday period.