Wellington and New Plymouth prisons to be closed over the next year, as well as several units at Arohata, Rolleston, Rangipo and Waikeria prisons.
Corrections’ department chief executive Ray Smith says the changes will raise the overall standards of the prisons, improve staff working conditions, increase public safety and give "a strong platform" to target re-offending rates.
Auckland Prison’s east division and Invercargill Prison’s west wing will be upgraded.
Staff will be relocated to alternative prisons with Wellington staff and some Arohata staff offered jobs in Upper Hutt's Rimutaka Prison.
Attempts will be made to keep as many relocated prisoners in prisons in their current regions.