One of New Zealand's most infamous and longest-serving prisoners will be staying behind bars after the Parole Board today refused him an early release.

Arthur William Taylor appeared before the Parole Board at Auckland Prison at Paremoremo where he is serving a sentence of 17 years and six months for serious violent and drug-related offending.

Taylor, who turned 60 recently, has spent almost 40 years of his life behind bars.

Today was his 18th appearance before the board.

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Taylor became infamous in 1998 after he escaped from the maximum security prison at Paremoremo north of Auckland with three others, including double murderer Graeme Burton.

The group made their way to the Coromandel, where they hunkered down in luxury holiday homes and the bush to evade authorities.

In recent years he has been in the headlines for his role as a "jailhouse lawyer", taking a number of legal actions against the Department of Corrections, including challenging the legality of the prison smoking ban and inmates' voting rights.