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Private Prisons cost more

11 May 2010

Private Prisons cost more

Privatising Auckland prison is a dangerous precedent that will increase costs and compromise New Zealand’s justice system, said the Green Party today.

John Key’s Government announced yesterday the joint Mt Eden-Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP) will be run privately. The corporation to run the prison will be announced by the end of the year.

“The last privatisation experiment with the ACRP increased costs by $7000 per prisoner,” said Green Party Corrections Spokesperson David Clendon.

“The international experience shows private prisons create perverse incentives that can compromise prisoner safety.

“The safety of prison officers in private prisons is also an issue, as there are likely to be fewer staff, more work, and more tension.”

Evidence from the US and Australia shows that private prisons do not reduce costs for the Government. Research from New South Wales suggests prisoner safety is compromised because of the focus on profit.

“The community and public sector have good, innovative ideas about how the prison system can be improved. The Government should be listening to them rather than flogging off prison management to corporations.

“The focus in prisons’ should be on rehabilitation not profit.

“If John Key’s Government really wants to reduce prison costs, they need to get serious about addressing the causes of crime – especially inequality which they seem to be hell bent on making worse,” said Mr Clendon.

For more information:

Privatisation and New South Wales Prisons,

Emerging Issues on Privatised Prisons, US Department of Justice http://blog.greens.org.nz/wp-content/doj_emerging-issues-2.pdf


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