Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Private prisons overseas – a failed experiment

Hon Matt Robson
Minister of Corrections, for Courts
Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control
Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

News release

Private prisons overseas – a failed experiment

17th January 20 Immediate release

“There has been an experiment overseas - driven by ideology - to introduce private prisons and it hasn’t worked, Minister of Corrections Matt Robson says.

“The ideology-driven belief that just because its private its better is not suited to our prisons, and this government won’t let New Zealanders become guinea pigs for an experiment here.

“Every good news story about a private prison has its bad news counter-part.
In too many cases running prisons for profits overseas has meant an increase in prison violence, re-offending, and cuts in wages for staff.

Corrections USA, a coalition of prison officers compiled statistics recently, comparing private prisons with public prisons.

These show a worse staff to inmate ratio, a staff turnover rate 26% higher and an assault rate ten times higher in prisons for profit.

The group has also collated newspaper reports which shows scores of improper incidents at private prisons; more than 20 escapes, half a dozen murders, three riots, at least 16 stabbings, dozen of assaults and drug incidents, at least 20 sexual assaults and one bomb.

“Private prisons are rather like hotels, but with a guaranteed occupancy, and you get to discipline the guests if they behave badly. There is no incentive to re-habilitate inmates and return them one day as safe members of the community.

“On the contrary, increased numbers in prisons benefit private companies, and high re-offending rates are good for business.

“The Group 4 Securitas run private prison in Port Phillip Prison in Melbourne has also been plagued with scandal since it opened in 1998.

“Within the first few months seven inmates had died and at least another ten had attempted suicide, and there were more than 100 self-harm incidents. Prison management was clearly falling apart. Under-staffing and inadequate training by Group 4 were targeted as the reasons.

“Also the troubled private prison at Youngstown Ohio run by America’s biggest private company, Corrections Corporation of US, has been plagued by increases in violence, prisons escapes and inmate deaths.

“Nick Smith is correct when he points out that the present public prison system, through no fault of its own, is failing the community. The legacy his government has left behind, particularly in the area of re-offending rates, is dismal. But the solution is not private: its resourcing our New Zealand system to do its job properly.

“At the end of the day we don’t want prisons to be a growth industry. We want the need for prisons in decrease, by putting resources into crime prevention,” says Matt Robson.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Malaysia Exposing Our Dodgy Policies On China

Last week, we all owed a vote of thanks to Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad for breaking with protocol during his bilateral meeting in Singapore with New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern. Reportedly, Mahathir used the photo opportunity phase of the meeting – which usually involves just an exchange of smiles and pleasantries before the media is sent out of the room – to launch into matters of genuine substance.

By doing so, Mahathir usefully exposed how New Zealand is trying to make a virtue out of sitting on the fence over the South China Sea dispute. More>>


Health: Changes To Drinking Water Standards

David Clark said many of the changes he is making, which will take effect on 1 March 2019, are clarifications or corrections, “but there are two changes which will significantly improve the ability to test and respond to the presence of harmful bacteria such as E.coli”. More>>


IPCA: Police Detention "Unlawful But Reasonable"

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that while Police acted unlawfully in October 2017 when they detained a Queenstown man for a mental health assessment, their actions were reasonable in the circumstances. More>>


Joint Statement: Chile President's NZ Visit

At the invitation of the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, undertook a State Visit to New Zealand on 19 November 2018... More>>


Climate Change: Top Academics Call On Government To Take Action

One hundred and fifty academics and researchers from around Aotearoa, including Dame Anne Salmond, Emeriti Professors and several Fellows of the Royal Society, have signed a strongly-worded open letter to the Government demanding bold and urgent action to tackle climate change. More>>


Teacher Qualifications, Class Sizes: Ten Year Plan For Early Learning

“Moving towards 100 percent qualified teachers in early childhood education centres and improving adult:child ratios are among some of the key proposals for change put forward by the sector and experts in the new draft ten year strategic plan for early learning,” Chris Hipkins said. More>>


Teacher Strikes: Meeting, March And Rally In Wellington

Throughout the Wellington region the NZEI rolling strikes entered their final day Friday. Thousands of teachers met in Wellington, Kapiti, Porirua and the Wairarapa. More>>


14/11: Two Years’ Progress Since The Kaikoura Earthquake

Mayor John Leggett said it was a day for reflection, but also a time to recognise the work by many people to support progress towards recovery made across Marlborough since November 2016. More>>


Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little. More>>





InfoPages News Channels