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NoRightTurn: Private prisons still failing

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, July 6th, 2012 - 23 comments
Categories: prisons - Tags:

Private prisons still failing

When the government introduced private prisons, they promised us that it would lead to better performance. But six months on, Serco’s Mt Eden Corrections Facility is still failing to meet basic performance targets:

Private prison operator Serco has failed to meet half of its performance targets since taking over Auckland’s Mt Eden Prison.A report card on Serco’s performance released today reveals three inmates were wrongly released, one escaped and there were three wrongful detentions.

The percentage of sentenced prisoners with an appropriate plan in place within required timeframes was only 28 per cent – two thirds lower than the 90 per cent target.

Of 37 targets Serco was to meet in the nine months to April half weren’t met.

Looking at the full data [PDF], they’re also getting worse on prisoner assaults and on adhering to rehabilitation planning. And remember, these are intentionally soft targets, set below Corrections’ performance so National could declare privatisation a success.

So, will Serco be fined? Or will we continue to pay a premium price for this non-performance?


23 comments on “NoRightTurn: Private prisons still failing”

  1. quartz 1

    It’s fined. But only $50k here and there. It’s so minimal they probably build it into their business plan.

  2. Dr Terry 2

    Is anybody really surprised at this outcome? The National Government habitually ignores anything that has been a proven failure in other countries, imagining that “it could not go wrong here”. How often will this error in judgement continue to be repeated?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      As long as we keep voting NACT in to power. National ignores the evidence because their sole purpose is to hand public wealth over to the rich.

  3. Jenny 3

    As a frequent prison visitor. On several occasions on arriving at the prison, I have been met by staff who have apologised to me, citeing, “understaffing” as the reason that I cannot be let in. “We do not have enough guards to take you into the prison today”. This is after Pre-arrangement agreements to enter the prison.

  4. What amazes me is the amount of leeway that the private sector gets when they are struggling to meet minimum standards and yet with the likes of public schools there is no tolerance.

    • Ee 4.1

      Because the public sector is evil bad commusocialism, how dare the peasants band together to overthrow their glorious capitalist masters and the private sector is the infallible will of almighty invisible hand of the market, may it’s golden rain trickle down upon you.

  5. Meh 5

    How well are “public” providers doing? How would you know? How much are their costs relative to Serco? What happens when “public” providers perform poorly?

    • mike e 5.1

      these public private partnerships are going to cost heaps more in the long run .
      Britain is facing a 300 billion pound cost over and above what they were promised by these
      Free market weasels.They are just Nigerian scammers in suits.

      • Meh 5.1.1

        I didn’t ask about Britain but thanks for attempting to answer my questions.

        • mike e

          Meh that was just the health system.
          These High flying high rolling money men are doing the same thing right across the board banking prisons health system govts they have corrupted our democracy.
          Now they are gouging out what’s left.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 5.2

      Let me google that for you. No, wait, why can’t you do that for yourself? Surely you can find the section on “research” on Corrections’ website. Or you could look up NRT’s coverage of the OIA requests that support the statement that Serco were set “soft targets”.

      After all, if I can do that what’s wrong with you that you can’t?

  6. Meh 6

    Nor was I asking about the health system. But thanks again.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 6.1

      Some of the links you need are even contained in the body of the post. You do know how a link works?

    • mike e 6.2

      what i’m saying we are being defrauded by a failed else where policy. and that these conmen should be the ones behind bars.

      • prism 6.2.1

        That’s disgraceful. Is there any body that you can complain to that won’t have any repercussions on the visited?

    • deuto 6.3

      Hi, Meh. It can be tough on here at times, but welcome. In terms of links, the blue text in the actual post will take you to the detail referred to – eg press releases etc referred to in the post. The ones above give some detail as to Serco’s performance against the performance targets/indicators they have been set in their contractual arrangements and their performance (or lack of it) against those targets/indicators to date.

      Currently Serco are only operating in a remand prison environment which is very different to that faced by the Corrections Dept in operating maximum security prisons and other levels of security prisons. Remand prison occupants, being those awaiting trial etc, have a somewhat different mindset, different rights etc to those in prison following having been through the justice system, found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment. For example, those imprisoned on remand are less likely to attempt to escape, assault guards or other prisoners etc as this would have adverse effects on their upcoming trials etc; those who have been through the process and sentence do not have the same contstraints.
      That is very simplistic, but contributes to the difficulty in comparing Serco’s performance to that of Corrections Dept operating in a much wider and more complex prison enviornment. In other words, trying to compare is a simplistic apples/oranges comparison. Re Corrections performance targets/indicators, and performance against these, information can be found in the Dept of Corrections Statement of Intent and Annual Reports available on the Dept’s website, easily accessed via Google etc. That is not a very good explanation etc but it is Friday night (!!!) but FYI I have worked in this area.

  7. prism 7

    In the Gospel according to Ms Collins –

    “In order to have a world-class corrections system, we need exposure to world-class innovation and expertise. Allowing private companies to provide custodial services creates an opportunity to benefit from private sector initiative and know-how.”
    Legislation provided for the private management of prisons in 1995, but this was repealed in 2004 by the Labour-led Government. This saw the end of the private management of the Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP).

    “Labour’s decision was purely ideological. It had nothing to do with the management of ACRP which was widely acknowledged as being highly successful,” Ms Collins says.

    What are we all worrying about – we are getting exposure to world class innovation and expertise. In what conditions do people die of exposure?

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Got a link for that as it would be an outright lie if she actually said it. As stated at the time, Labour got rid of private prison management because it was costing more than state run prisons. Collins would know this.

  8. freedom 8

    As with so much of business it is all about the bottom line and accountability
    and the bottom line here is simply a company this big only does this badly
    because it wants to
    because it can

  9. prism 9

    Just thinking a NACT government is itself a public-private partnership. Using public money the pollies pursue their best private interests. In fact government is a subsidy-providing capital market where certain people are required to appear to discuss things and answer questions from the bemused public. And keep us amused as well as bemused or we might wake up and squawk one day when we have an epiphany.

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