Lock out Serco | The Jackal

6 Jul 2012

Lock out Serco

Today, Voxy News reported:

Alarm bells should be ringing about the future of private prisons in New Zealand following yet more performance failures by private prison operator Serco, according to the Public Service Association.

The latest quarterly performance report shows Serco continues to fail to meet key performance targets since taking over the running of Auckland's Mt Eden Corrections Facility nine months ago. Those failures include escapes, wrongful releases and wrongful detention of inmates.

Serco has been given the green light to run a new privately-run 960-bed prison in Wiri in south Auckland which will cost $900 million and is due to open in 2015.

"The public should now rightly be asking whether Serco is up to the job and question why the government is so wedded to a privatisation prison agenda when there is enough capacity in our public prisons," says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

"Crime rates are down, there is much lower prison muster forecast, the public prison service has just been restructured, and there are spare beds in the system. Coupled with that the Minister has recently announced ambitious targets to reduce reoffending by 25% by 2017 which will further reduce inmate numbers."

This just goes to show how ideologically blind National is... Being that there's already enough capacity and unless the government mothballs nearly all the state run prisons, there will be empty cells at Wiri. What is the point of building empty cells at nearly a million bucks a pop?

There is no evidence that privately run prisons in New Zealand are more cost effective or deliver better rehabilitation services, which makes National utilizing the huge British based multinational Serco to run much of our prison system highly questionable.

It's not just in New Zealand where Serco has been underperforming either... They were fined $15 million in Australia for failing to care for asylum seekers properly. In fact there are numerous reports on how Serco is sub-standard, lacks transparency, is high-cost and operates without proper accountability... So why on earth have they got their foot in the door at all?