Abstract: Shipping containers are gaining increasing recognition for their apparent durability, adaptability, light weight, ‘low cost ’and ease of stacking, spurring a trend that has resulted in shipping container sculpture, homes, housing, hotels, and museums. The use of prefabricated, pre-manufactured and prototype building methods for prison construction has grown considerably as some jurisdictions attempt to deal with the construction of prisons with speed and economy. In the last three years, shipping containers have been used in the prison sector as a way of managing burgeoning prison populations. Recent prison developments in both Australia and New Zealand where shipping containers have been employed for prisoner housing are of considerable interest. In this article, the financial,functional, structural, technical, environmental and architectonic impacts of this approach are discussed.