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Address: Private Bag X45

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

Visiting Hours: Tuesday-Friday (09:00-15:00)

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.

Historical Background

The first prison building in Pretoria was built by Alexander Anderson at the corner of the present Pretorius- and Paul Kruger streets. He was sentenced to 12 months hard labour and the bargain was, that if he built this prison, he would be pardoned.

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 occurred.

The then Commissioner of 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.

Between 1912- 1938 the communal cells were changed into single cells. In the 1930s electricity was installed but the wiring was on the outside of the walls. Further upgrading was done in 2001.

Today there is the Central Correctional Centre, as well as a Female-, Maximum- and Local Correctional Centres. There are houses for the Correctional officers, sport facilities, a mess, and a shop.

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

Prison in Visagie street, the side wall and the watch- tower.

Front entrance of prison in Visagie street.

The first mess building in Pretoria.

The men’s single quarters, opposite the old mess building, in Pretoria.

Members’ houses next to the Central Prison.

Front entrance of Central Prison, still under British rule.

Aerial photo pf swimming pool and the Central Prison