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Workers paid for private prison profits

13 July 2005

Workers paid for private prison profits

The Public Service Association (PSA) is welcoming the return of the Auckland Central Remand Prison to the public prisons service.

The Public Service Association (PSA) is New Zealand’s largest state sector union, and has a growing membership at the Department of Corrections. The contract between the Department and Australasian Correctional Management Limited to run the remand prison expired overnight. It will now be run by the Department of Corrections.

PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott said workers employed by the private prison operator had, in effect, made the operation profitable since they were employed on poorer terms and conditions than the rest of the nation’s prison staff.

“Imprisoning people for the crimes they have committed is a core role of the state and it should never be hived off to a private operator for profit.

“The ACRP experiment proved that the exercise was a simple cost-cutting exercise of the type imposed across the public sector during the 1990s.

“It employed fewer officers per inmate and paid them less than staff employed by Corrections at all the other prisons across the country.

“At a time when Corrections is finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain quality staff it beggars belief that National would advocate greater use of private prison contracts. More private prisons would inevitably drag down pay and conditions for all prison staff and make recruitment even harder.

“National’s advocacy of tougher, longer sentences for a wider range of offences means it must be planning to employ many more prison staff. We have to ask who they think is going to staff them?,” Brenda Pilott said.

ENDS

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