2 Jun 2010

Media experience one way of containing prisoners

8:00 pm on 2 June 2010

New Zealand's first prison wing made entirely from converted shipping containers has had its first overnight guests.

The Corrections Department undertook the project almost exactly a year ago as one way of accommodating the expanding prison muster.

Official figures show that about 8700 prisoners are currently in custody - and that's forecast to rise to more than 10,300 by 2017.

It took about five months and $5.5 million to construct the 23-container unit, which will house 60 inmates at Rimutaka Prison, north of Wellington.

Four journalists last night slept over in the facility, which will be formally opened tomorrow by Corrections Minister Judith Collins.

Prisoners will take up residence from 10 June.