The OLD BELIZE GAOL. 

The old gaol built in 1826, on a site at the corner of Albert and Church Streets, opposite the Court House, was destroyed by fire in 1854.  It was a cumbrous wooden structure surmounted by a clock-tower.  It was replaced by the present substantial two storey brick building built in 1857, situated on Gabourel Lane facing the sea, surrounded by concrete walls enclosing approximately three acres of ground.  It was the only real prison of the Colony and known as Belize Prison.  Prior to 1885, this building had accommodation as follows: 

For 71 male and 6 female making a total of 77, which includes four dark punishment cells.

Between the years 1888 and 1889, a house and office were built on the north side of the prison; the former is the present quaters of the Superintendent and was at one time the Exihibition Hall, it having been removed by prison labour from its site on the old court house square.  A wall was also built to separate these buildings from the main prison grounds.  On the south side of these wall workshopswere built adjoining it. All these additions and alterations were chiefly done by prison labor under the direction of the Colonial Engineer.

About the year 1889 the office was occupied as quarters by the chief warder and in 1916 it was considerrably enlarged by the addition of another storey, making it a comfortable home for a family.

Workshops

During 1904 thew orkshops adjoining the wall were taken down and a new building erected in the centre of the prison ground 50 feet long with  workshops on either side of a central corridor.  Each shop is divided off by wooden partitions about 4 feet high and open on the sides facing the corridor.  In 1910, this building was extended a further 30 feet making a total length of 80 feet, and all windows of the different shops fitted with round irons bars, also each shop divided with bars from floor to roof, with doors fitted opening on the corridor.

A concrete building containing a hospital. and chapel was erected on the east side of the southern wing of the main prison. The former has seating accommodation for about 50 and the latter bed accommodation for about 15.

A substantial concrete female prison was erected m the compound on the north side of the main prison containing 6 cells.  Walls were built enclosing this building and the matron's quarters (built in 1908) from the male prison.  By these additions and the conversion of the northern and southern wings of the main prison the cellular accommodation was increased to 102 cells, which included 1 padded,  4 dark and 3 light punishment cells.

OUTDOOR LABOUR.

Gangs are supplied, each under the supervision of a warder to the following : Government House, Public Works Department and the Central Board of Health.  The prisoners are chiefly employed on the breaking of stones, cutting and digging grass, clearing of crown property grounds and lots and sanitary work, etc.

INDOOR LABOUR.

 The following industries are carried on at which the prisoners are taught trades : bookbinding, printing, cabinetmaking and carpentry, furniture repairs generally, including caning and upholstry, mattress, mat and fender making, tinsmithing and bakery.   Referring to the last item " bakery "   prior to 1908 the prison was supplied by contractors with bread, but in that year a bakehouse and oven were erected and since then the prison has been making its own and supplying all Government institutions, i.e., hospital, asylum and poorhouse. 

During the great war and since, Government officials and territorials were allowed to purchase bread.   This department of the institution is not only a profitable one as regards output of  bread, which is of good quality, but a school of instruction to prisoners who are taught this trade by the master baker.  In 1921 the bakehouse was enlarged by the addition of another oven, and when both ovens are in use each has a capacity of baking approximately 900 loaves at a time.

Owing to this addition to the bakery the general office had to be removed.   It was 
re-erected adjoining the workshops on the south side, and a new office was erected for the Superintendent on the north side just opposite.

STAFF.

One superintendent, one matron, one clerk and storekeeper, one chief warder one senior warder, nine warders, two extra outdoor warders and messengers. 




















    







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Belize Gaol, as a part of re-development project, of the Fort George area, and the construction of The Belize Central Bank headquaters on the property. The Gaol's Cell Block is now turned into a museun as a historical project.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the prison population started to grow rapidly and the Goal Lane Prison was soon housing over 800 prisoners. The location of the Prison also became a security concern and the location itself had become prime real estate (the U.S. Embassy is next door). The Prison building also required major upgrading and restoration. 


Old Gaol built in 1857
Cell Block is now turned into a museun as a historical project.
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