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Department of Correctional Services Museum
South Africa

Visit the Department of Correctional Services Museum and gaze at life inside the walls of Pretoria Prison. The images below give a glimpse of life in those days.

The first prison building in Pretoria was built by Alexander Anderson at the corner of the present Pretorius- and Paul Kruger streets, behind the previous Raadsaal on Church Square. He was sentenced to 12 months hard labour and the bargain was, if he built this prison he would be pardoned. He built it in record time and as such was not very strong and safe.

The second prison was built in 1873, at the corner of the present Bosman and Visagie streets. The western wall was next to Potgieter street. Houses were built for the wardens. The gallows were in the garden and open to the public. Executions were done on Saturdays for everyone to see. The prison building was not strong enough and several escapes happened.

The Commissioner of the Prison Services asked for a better prison building. The Anglo Boer War, 1899-1902, put a stop to the start of this project by the South African Government.The Director of Prisons, British Government, pleaded for the necessity of a prison building far from Pretoria and in the veld. The site was decided on and after a few false starts the present Central Prison was built by the firm Prentice and Mackey in December 1904 and finished in 1907.

The museum building was at first the house of the Manager of Prison Services in the early 1900s.Later on it was used as offices, then it was the pub for all the members. In 1992 the museum was officially opened by the then Minister of Correctional Services, Mr. A Vlok.

The Correctional Services Museum portrays the history of the Department of Correctional Services.

Interesting historical articles show the development of the penal system in South Africa from the most barbaric methods to the modern penological system of today.

The pursuit of hobbies by prisoners is portrayed by matchstick work, art objects, wood and stone carvings.

Objects illegally made by prisoners and which are consequently confiscated, are displayed. These are objects such as dagga pipes, forged keys and money, tattooing machines, and stabbing and cutting weapons.

Where: Cnr Bosman and Visagie Street Pretoria

Address: Private Bag X45

Telephone: (012) 314-1766
Fax: (012) 323-4441

Visiting hours: Tuesday – Friday (09:00 – 15:00)

Correctional Services Museum
South Africa

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