NewPlymouth Prison.

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NewPlymouth Prison..


New Plymouth Prison, dating from the 1870s, is the country's oldest operational prison and has special heritage significance as an artefact of the development of New Zealand's penal system. Sketched 1/09/2012.

The structure evolved from an 1850s building, a wooden military hospital built on the former Maori stronghold of Pukaka Pa, now also known as Marsland Hill, in central New Plymouth. Constructed in the late 1850s to serve the adjacent military barracks, the hospital building provided care to Imperial troops injured in the conflicts of the Taranaki Wars of the 1860s. After the last regiments had been withdrawn it was decided to reuse the building to meet a pressing need within the community, as the new district jail.

Today it is used as a minimum to high-medium security facility for 112 prisoners, plus offenders on remand. It is due to be decommisioned on the 1st March 2013. It is listed as a Category I historic place by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. It currently has 80 prisoners and that number is gradually being wound down.

It is now deemed an earthquake risk and unsuited to modern standards of justice, its doors will clang shut for the last time when most current prisoners will have finished their terms.

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