According to the Dom Post Judith Collins is preparing legislation to reintroduce private prisons into New Zealand’s corrections system.
The arguments against privatisation are manifold and many of them have been covered at The Standard before. Bottom line for me is that the right to take an individual citzen’s liberty comes from a compact between a nation’s government and its citizenry. To introduce the profit motive into this delicate agreement is a subversion of democracy.
That said there will be plenty of people that will disagree with me. I wouldn’t have thought Pita Sharples would be one of them, but to quote the Dom:
She [Collins] said Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, who is Associate Corrections Minister, supported allowing private contracts.
To be fair Sharples’ office has said they have “no policy” on the matter (which is nothing new for the Maori Party but surprising here considering Sharples has been a strong prison reform advocate in the past) but there is a real sense of who the boss is in this relationship.
I think the Maori Party will compromise on private prisons and Maori (who make up a massively disproportionate percentage of inmates) will suffer as a result.
I also think that to soften the blow the first private prison will be run by iwi and will be labeled as “bringing justice back to the community”. It won’t be.