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Taxpayers pick up tab while private prison cuts corners


Corrections Spokesperson

Taxpayers pick up tab while private prison cuts corners

Despite claims by Anne Tolley that an incident at the privately run Mt Eden prison last week was not significant, details of the event suggest otherwise, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“The Minister confirmed at select committee today that a standoff at Mt Eden last week lasted at least six hours and reportedly involved eight to 10 prisoners who barricaded themselves into a unit after one was told they were being transferred.

“Staff from three other facilities, including Spring Hill, Auckland Prison and Auckland Women’s Prison, were called in to assist.

“Mt Eden, run by Serco, came under the spotlight last year after reports new recruits were leaving after just months in the job because of safety fears.

“It has been suggested this latest incident occurred due to a lack of staff. If this is the case then it appears that New Zealand’s public corrections service is having to pick up the pieces for a private company which has cut corners to ensure its shareholders benefit.

“If staffing levels at Mt Eden are deficient, then that is Serco’s problem and it must be rectified. It should contribute to the cost of managing any disturbances it needs taxpayer-funded help in resolving.”

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