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National's got it wrong on prisons - again

National's got it wrong on prisons - again

The National Party has in its usual manner missed out some important facts in comparing public and privately run prisons, Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor said today.


The National Party has in its usual manner missed out some important facts in comparing public and privately run prisons, Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor said today.

"What it's law and order spokesman Simon Power has neglected to say is that the private company running Auckland Central Remand Prison five years ago was not able to do it any cheaper than the Corrections Department. The taxpayer saw no real benefits at all."

It is also true that the number of prisoner escapes, attacks on guards, prisoner suicides, and staff turnover at the remand centre during that time were no better than for the public prison system, Mr O'Connor said. Neither were the methods or results of the private company's high-risk assessment, or health and education delivery.

"And we should bear in mind that this was a new purpose-built facility for remand prisoners only. The private company did not have to bear the costs associated with managing the more difficult, hard-core prisoners that Corrections routinely looks after.

"It's a bit rich for National to accuse Labour of being blinded by ideology just because we believe delivering justice is the state's responsibility. That party's philosophy is well understood. It is intent on privatising core government services, and we all saw the effects of that during the 1990s."


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