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Get over opposition to private prison

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

24 May 2006

Labour should get over its opposition to private prisons

The Labour Government should pull its head out of the sand and look at the huge benefits from the private running of prisons, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

He is commenting on a Corrections report on the management of Auckland Central Remand Prison, which was returned to public hands last year after a five-year contract by private company GEO.

“The Government's opposition to private running of prisons is pure blind ideology.

“It’s not because they can’t see the benefits – anyone can see the benefits – it’s because they don’t want to see them.

“When Corrections took back the prison they had to add another layer of management, double the staff-inmate ratio to keep the unions happy, cut 24-hour health services, and halve the visits that inmates are allowed.

“Taxpayers are not getting value for money when the Government makes ideological decisions to exclude private management even though they are doing a good job.

“There is no doubt that GEO did a much better job in health, education, physical training, and high-risk assessment, and they were doing it with one less layer of management than in the public system. They were doing so well that Corrections have even adopted some of their practices.

“National will look closely at re-introducing private management into our prisons when we are elected.”


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