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Howard League calls for an end to private prisons in NZ

Howard League calls for an end to private prisons in New Zealand

The damning report into the Serco run Mt Eden private prison fiasco released last week is evidence that private prisons do not have a place in New Zealand says the Howard League spokesperson Jane Maltby.

It is concerning, although not surprising, that Serco had tried through the Courts to prevent the release of the report. This was ultimately unsuccessful and the report was released last week.

The Howard League believes that it is wrong to profit from the removal of people’s liberty and that there must be an end to the privatisation of New Zealand’s prisons. Profits are reached by cutting back on essential services and duties, and within Serco’s Mt Eden staffing is the service that has been cut back, compromising the safety of prisoners.

In addition, private prisons are even less transparent than state run prisons, and we are reliant on Corrections to monitor private prisons and hold them to account – something which Corrections failed to do adequately in this case.

The Howard League is not surprised by the results of the report on Mt Eden prison. The League receives numerous letters from prisoners about violence inflicted on them while in prison in New Zealand. It knows that there are not enough officers employed at Mt Eden and there are frequent 23 hour lockdowns.

The League is concerned that Corrections did not follow up or complete their investigation into the fight clubs when it was first notified, instead choosing to abandon the investigation. It is also disappointed by the Government’s announcement that it will not be ending the privatisation of New Zealand prisons.

ENDS

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