Friday, April 27, 2012

The failure of private prisons

When national introduced the Corrections (Contract Management of Prisons) Bill back in 2009, it claimed that contracting out prison management to foreign multinationals would improve performance. The reality is a little different:

The private company running Mount Eden Prison has been found to have fallen short in several areas during its first eight months of management.

A Corrections Department report on Serco says two prisoners were wrongfully released and the company was fined $150,000 after a prisoner escaped.

Targets for random drug testing and prisoner management plans were not reached.

Serco achieved 30% for prisoner management plans when the target was 90%. However, random drug testing which returned a positive result, was only 3%.

Corrections blames "teething problems". The reality is that these areas cost money, and are therefore simply not a priority for a prison operator intent on maximising profit. The result is that we're paying top dollar for a worse prison service than we had previously.

But hey, some of National's cronies are getting rich as a result. I'm sure that's got to count for something, right?