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Where Is Matt Robson’s ‘Open Mind’ Now?

Correction Minister Matt Robson’s promise that he will resign if privately run prisons are more successful than public prisons shows that he doesn’t understand incentives, said ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks.

Mr Robson announced today that the Government will honour its contract with prison service provider Australian Corrections Management (ACM). The contract will expire in 2005.

“Matt Robson’s promise is fairly hollow given that the current Government will be an unpleasant voter memory by 2005.

“It seems odd that the Minister is pushing forward an internationally unproven corrections scheme (restorative justice), yet chooses to ignore the exciting track record of privately run prisons.

“Prisons have been publicly run for over one hundreds years, surely the progression to a private prison for a five year period, should be considered an exciting and positive step.

“The biggest losers from Mr Robson’s boast though, will be those who would have benefited most. By plainly prejudging the outcome he may produce the result he fears.

“A business that had intended to be there for the long haul but discovers it is now likely to be a short term tenant will no doubt perform to the letter of the contract, but why would it take extra steps for long term investment? A Government really interested in prison policy and reform, should want there ‘tenant’ to be thinking about improvements that would bear fruit long after the end of a five year contract.

“We should be thankful that when our Corrections Minister is an ideological bigot, that he is unlikely to last five years in the job,” said Stephen Franks.

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