Fighting and drug smuggling have led to the confiscation of toys from the main visiting area at Christchurch Men's Prison.
The Corrections Department confirms they were removed in July and have not been replaced.
Southern assistant regional manager Ian Burke says the visiting area was stripped of toys because prisoners had used them in a fight.
He says the department was also told that toys were being used to move drugs from visitors to prisoners and children had been involved.
Mr Burke says the prison will replace the toys - but with a more suitable range.
However, the Howard League for Penal Reform says the blanket removal of the toys is over the top.