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Life of the Prisoners in Victoria Prison

The daily routine for prisoners at Victoria Gaol changed over time. In general the day commenced after the prison muster check and prisoners were unlocked from their cells for washing, breakfast, and work. The midday meals were normally served at their workplaces or dayrooms. They resumed work in the afternoon and will be arranged an hour’s exercise and shower before dinner. All prisoners would be locked up in their cells before 7pm.

Nowadays every fit prisoner is required to work for not more than ten hours a day, except Sunday and public holidays. The type of work assigned to prisoners depends on their individual skills, the security risks involved and the work available within the institution. Types of works availed for prisoners at Victoria Prison differed in times but mainly working in the prison workshops or performing domestic work such as cooking, cleaning and general care and maintenance of the prison. Earning through work enables prisoners and inmates to buy from a list of approved snack and toiletry items through regular canteen purchases.

Before the War, life inside the prison was made as difficult as possible for the sake of deterrence mainly through hard labour and minimal gaol diets. Dietary punishment for prisoners found in breach of prison discipline was still in existence after the War until this punishment was removed from the Prison Rules in 1981. Nowadays prison diets are wholesome and addressing prisoners’ eating habits and religious requirements. The dietary scale is endorsed by the dietician and approved by the central government.

Prisoners are allowed to receive or send out letters and to receive visits. The current arrangements are much more liberal in order to facilitate prisoners’ reintegration with the outside world. Much tougher restrictions were in place before the War on visits and letters.

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