In a landmark deal with the US Navy and the New Hampshire and Maine Departments of Correction, the team at Pickwick’s Mercantile are now the proud proprietors of their own private prison. Pickwick’s announced the signature of the historic contract turning over operation of the formerly shuttered Portsmouth Naval Prison in a press release sent by owl this Sunday.

The contract gives full discretion to the Pickwick’s team to oversee renovations and operation of the prison, tentatively named The Hulks, which could begin accepting prisoners as early as June 2017.

“We’re going for a balance between Medium Security and High Security,” said Thistle Jones, whimsically tapping out a few notes on her office harpsichord. “The experience we’re crafting for our guests will probably result in a few attempted escapes while we get everyone on-brand. We think the fast current in the Piscataqua will cover a lot of errors while we get our ducks in a row.”

Prisoners will dress in mid-Victorian prison garb while dining on hartack, salt-pork, salted caramels and brackish water, and will be given a “prison name” more suitable to the Pickwick’s theme, melding the soft whimsey of a Victorian mercantile with the hard reality of hard time.

“Role-play is extremely important to the Pickwick’s experience,” said Knewton Deadwick, confirmed haunted person and proprietor of Deadwicks Etherial Emporium. “We’ve been looking up traditional English prison tattoos and swear words to really help our guests get into it.”

Knewton also emphasized that there would be ghosts there, just not any new ones for a while.

“Executions are something we’re working on with the Departments of Justice, but it’s just a really taboo topic right now. We could always get lucky with a murder or two, but nothing makes a ghost stick like a good electrocution.”

Pickwick’s Owner Rita Fabbriciatore could not be reached for comment and may or may not be real.