Christmas in prison

Christmas can be a hard time for prisoners who are away from their friends and family.

We try to mark Christmas day in an appropriate manner for prisoners.

Christmas day menu

The Christmas day menu is the same across all 17 prisons and the menu for the day costs about $5.30 per prisoner – this is the same menu cost as any other day. While it meets basic nutritional requirements, it is not lavish

Lunch, the main meal of the day, will usually consist of a serving of vegetables, meat and a dessert. Dinner is cold meats and salads. A vegetarian option is also available.

The day’s meals, around 24,000 of them, are prepared and cooked by the prisoners who work in prison kitchens who learn valuable skills while cooking the meals.

Christmas day in prison

Typically, prisoners spend the day engaged in recreational activities such as sports. Participation in these events depends on a prisoner’s security classification and behaviour.

People in prison can attend church services within the prison on Christmas day. The services are multi-denominational and are led by the prison chaplain.

Christmas gifts

Prisoners are allowed to spend up to $70 a week on items from a local shop that sells Christmas cards or gifts.

PARS, the Prisoners’ Aid and Rehabilitation Society, may also shop on behalf of prisoners who want to buy gifts for their families and friends.

Prisoners can receive approved gifts from friends and family, however all items are subject to normal security processes to prevent contraband entering the prison.

Prisoners’ children may receive presents through the Angel Tree Programme operated at most prisons by Prison Fellowship New Zealand.