Hotel? Try the Milton Hilton

A double-bunk cell at Otago Corrections Facility. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
A double-bunk cell at Otago Corrections Facility. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery

A list of the world's most ''luxurious'' prisons which is doing the rounds has a surprise inclusion - the Otago Corrections Facility (OCF), known to locals as ''the Milton Hilton''.

The list appears to have circulated among Asian websites in various guises recently alongside a photo of a single-person cell.

The room features a television, a pin board bearing photos of cars and a scantily clad model, and what appears to be a selection of Harry Potter books.

''The situation in the Otago prison is not inferior to a good hotel,'' one Singaporean website opined.

''The inmates of this correctional institution move through the floors with underfloor heating, use of gym, library and rehabilitation services. In addition, they all live in single rooms with comfortable beds and desks.''

OCF's supposed opulence has caused some head-scratching at the Corrections Department.

''The cells at OCF include the same bedding as other prisons, and the desks and storage facilities are the same as those used in New Zealand prisons built at around the same time,'' acting prison director Mike Howson said.

The OCF low security unit, where prisoners play table tennis. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
The OCF low security unit, where prisoners play table tennis. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery

The prison, which opened in 2007, was equipped with underfloor heating, he said, but it was driven by cost rather than the desire to keep inmates' toes toasty.

Mr Howson also pointed out there was double-bunking at OCF, contrary to the one-man grandeur suggested by some of the overseas websites.

Accuracy, it seems, was not paramount when the list of the world's poshest prisons was put together.

Some said OCF was located in ''Milburne'', while others believed it was nicknamed ''the Milton Hotel''.

One site marvelled that among the prison's ''unbelievable perks'' was the opportunity to learn employment skills.

That was one thing Mr Howson agreed with. There was a wide range of education programmes available to prisoners, he said, including farm work, drama classes and drug and alcohol therapy.

''All of these activities contribute to our goal to help prisoners live crime-free on release from prison.''

The world’s most luxurious prisons, apparently

Otago Corrections Facility, NZ: The Milton Hilton.

Bastoy Prison, Norway: Prisoners enjoy pursuits such as tennis, horseback-riding, fishing and sunbathing.

Justice Centre Leoben, Austria: Boasts a fully equipped gym, basketball court and outdoor recreation area.

San Pedro Prison, Bolivia: Features self­appointed leaders, and entire neighbourhoods, homes and families, with businesses and cafes.

Sollentuna Prison, Sweden: Inmates live in private cells with comfortable beds and attached bathrooms.

Champ-Dollon Prison, Switzerland: Had a multimillion-dollar facelift in 2011, now has spacious, modern rooms.

Aranjuez Prison, Spain: Equipped with cribs, Disney characters on the walls, and a play area; children can live here with incarcerated parents.

Cebu Prison, Philippines: Prisoners are famed for their singing and dancing and gained notoriety for their mass Gangnam Styleperformances.

Pondok Bambu Prison, Indonesia: An all­women’s facility equipped with air­conditioners, refrigerators, karaoke machines and nail salons.

Halden Prison, Norway: Has a musical recording studio in its grounds.

SOURCE: Various overseas websites



It might be my eyes but the top bunk looks decidedly empty as in no mattress or sign of a prisoner,and they go on about overcrowded prisons.

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