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Government Needs To Halt Drive To Private Prisons

Government Needs To Halt Dangerous Drive To Privatise Prisons

The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi (PSA) says a damning report that condemns one of the firms that wants to run Auckland Prison is an opportunity for the government to halt its dangerous drive to privatise our prisons.

A report by Britain's chief inspector of prisons severely criticises G4S over its running of a deportation centre at London’s Gatwick Airport. The same company is bidding to run the joint Mt Eden-Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP).

“G4S has been criticised for operating an unsafe, violent centre where drugs are a serious problem and staff feel embattled and unsupported by managers. It’s absolutely crazy to even contemplate that New Zealand tax payers should pay for such a dangerously poor level of prison management,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

“The last time the ACRP was privatised it cost the government more than it did when it was publicly run. Between 2000 and 2005 it cost the Australian company managing the remand prison $43,000 per inmate to run it. During the same period Corrections’ operating costs per remand prisoner were $36,000.

“Private prisons don’t work; they are unsafe and cost more. It’s imperative that the government do a u-turn on its flawed private prison policy before a fatal move results in serious problems being imported into our prison system,” says Brenda Pilott.

“The Corrections Minister Judith Collins has spoken of private management allowing new ideas and innovations into the corrections sector. There’s nothing innovative about a more costly, unsafe prison service.

“Private prison companies exist to make profits from prisoners and profit from prisoners comes from cutting corners or lifting costs, either way is a no win situation for the public,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

ENDS

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