The penal facilitiesAfter the internment camp closed, the city of Hamburg took over the grounds of the former concentration camp and used them as a prison. The wooden huts were demolished and replaced by a large new building in 1950, but nearly all of the stone buildings built during the Nazi period continued to be used as detention facilities, administrative buildings or workshops. Parts of the SS barracks and the commandant's house were used to house people working at the prison. At the end of the 1960s, the justice authority erected another prison building on the site of the former clay pits.
After much public debate, the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg decided in 1989 to move the prison set up in Neuengamme in 1948 in order to prevent the "dignity of this site" from being "overshadowed" by the site's continued use as a penal institution. The first prison closed in June 2003, and the second prison established at the end of the 1960s closed in February 2006.