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Alexander: prison union monopoly crushes options

Monday, 27 September 2004

Alexander: prison union monopoly crushes options

United Future law & order spokesman Marc Alexander says the current debacle over housing convicts in overcrowded prisons shows how urgent the need is to introduce competition into the Corrections Service.

“We have an increase of around 200 inmates – representing just 2.8% of the total prison population - and the prison officers’ union has decided not to deal with them sensibly. It’s not that they can’t, but that they won’t,” he says.

“We have the beds to double bunk prisoners, as they do overseas…the General Manager Phil McCarthy has asked for it…they’ve offered the staff a premium of $26 per shift to do it…but in the absence of any competition, the union has issued a big ‘nyet comrade’!”

“That’s the problem when you only have one provider of services to our prison system and underscores why we need a countervailing private management of prisons.

“The union has an effective monopoly and can get away with acting like a prima donna at the expense of commonsense and sound judgement.

“What constructive choices does the prison officers’ union suggest? Those criminals who shouldn’t be let out, let out to ease the artificially created overcrowding? That police prison cells be filled to hamper ongoing police work? Or that we just stop catching new offenders?” asked Mr Alexander.


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