Camilla thrills prison inmates with visit

  • 07/11/2015
The Duchess of Cornwall  (AAP)
The Duchess of Cornwall (AAP)

The Duchess of Cornwall has made a special visit to a Wellington women's prison - much to the delight of its inmates.

Arohata Prison inmates welcomed Camilla with a kapa haka performance before she was led through the long prison hall past the holding cells to be shown some of the prison's rehabilitation initiatives.

Camilla is no stranger to life behind prison walls.

She is the Royal Patron for The Friends of Erlestoke Prison in Britain, which promotes and supports the rehabilitation of prisoners.

She has met prisoners taking part in literacy schemes and has inspected prison grounds and programmes.

At Arohata she was shown the prison's literacy programme and new online learning facilities. Students told the duchess they wanted to finish high school and go to university.

Camilla's love of literature was evident as several prisoners from the creative writing course shared their work.

"I didn't bring my specs so you will have to read it for me," she said.

She then met with prisoners undertaking the drug and alcohol treatment programme - the only one for women prisoners in the country.

The Duchess showed genuine interest in how the programme was helping the women.

"How long have you been in the programme? What are your ambitions after leaving prison?" she asked prisoners.

"I want to return home a great mother to my kids," was one response.

Camilla was presented with a framed quilt handmade by prisoners and decorated with Kiwiana icons.

She was also piled high with handmade animal blankets to take with her to her next stop at the SPCA.

Department of Corrections deputy chief executive Christine Stevenson said it was an honour to have the Duchess pay a visit to Arohata Prison.

"The Duchess is a supporter of literature programmes within prisons and was very interested to see the programme in Arohata," Ms Stevenson said.

The women on the drug treatment programme shared their journey with the duchess, she said, and they were "beyond excited" to have a royal visitor.

NZN