Staff at the only prison in the Cook Islands say a new rehabilitation and education centre will help inmates gain employment when they are released.
The former superintendent's resident on the prison site in Rarotonga is being renovated into a facility to rehabilitate inmates and educate them.
The Prison Superintendent Metuatini Tangaroa says the inmates, many of whom are teenagers, will undertake courses including literacy, numeracy, computer skills and architectural design.
"We have to look beyond the cell and the key. There's no point in bringing these guys up here and penalising them, to just chuck them in, nothing to help them, to equip them, train them, give them the tools to prepare them so when they leave and integrate back into the community, they have something better to help them out, even in the workforce out there."
Metuatini Tangaroa says much of the renovation project is being carried out by inmates themselves, including re-roofing, painting and landscaping.