Labour’s Kelvin Davis is a hell of a writer and he unleashes on iwi corporates looking to profit off running prisons:
So a private prison is going to be built at Wiri.
I see some iwi are rubbing their hands together in glee at the prospect of being able to get rich by locking their own up.
It goes to show how high the aspirations of some of our Maori leaders are. We now aspire to bung the bros in the hinaki and watch the dollars roll in. The longer and more often we can put them away, the sooner we will be able to afford to expand the prison and lock even more away.
With the soaring crime rate and high Maori unemployment everything is coming together nicely for iwi to become extremely wealthy. The last thing these iwi will want is for the country to emerge from the recession or for our kids to do well at school. Every Maori child born is a potential source of income not as a leader, businessman or entrepreneur but as a Beagle Boy.
What the heck, if profits start to dip or costs need to be cut, these iwi can just pay the other rellies who guard the bros a little less, or sack a couple of them purely in the best interests of the iwi of course.
Running a prison means imprisonment of Maori becomes financially necessary for iwi.
Making money by locking the bros up is culturally abhorrent and if this is one of the Treaty rights that we’re after, they can stick it. I’d rather have my integrity.
By all means infuse kaupapa Maori throughout the prison system surely Pita Sharples can wield his considerable influence as Associate Minister of Corrections to make this happen? Just don’t ever pretend it is okay for iwi to lock the whanau up and make money from it.
Personally I’d prefer iwi put their energies into supporting their local schools and building universities, but maybe I’m just old fashioned. That would take a bit of effort and why would iwi bother going down that old path when there’s a quick buck to be made by locking the bros up? Besides, preventing Maori from getting to prison in the first place will cut into profits.
This is one of the many problems with private prisons. You turn locking people up into a desirable, in fact necessary, activity from the perspective of the private owners, whether they be an iwi or an Aussie or US outfit. It becomes an economic imperative for these organisations for people to keeping on getting locked up, preferably more people and for longer.
We’ve seen the economically rational behaviour of private prison owners in the US that result: low rehabilition rates, lobbying for longer sentences, bribery and corruption of judges.