Barry Matthews may be "ambivalent" about Private Prisons - I'm not!
Matthews admits private prison doubts
Corrections Department boss Barry Matthews has admitted he is "ambivalent" about the introduction of private prisons. Mr Matthews, 64, is retiring at the end of the year and his chief executive post was advertised last week. Yesterday, he said he was undecided about whether private companies could deliver a cheaper or better service. He also admitted he had initial concerns that a ban on smoking would lead to conflict in jails.
Bazza may be ambivalent, I'm not! The joke in that at the Select Committee Meeting on private prisons last year, the head of GEO told the country that private prisons would not be cheaper at all.
American company Wackenhut (whose subsidiary ran the Auckland Central Remand prison until 2000) was stripped of contracts to run prisons in Texas and Louisiana in 1999, after accusations it had mistreated prisoners and tried to maximise profits at the expense of drug rehabilitation, counselling and literacy programmes.
In Australia, where about 17 per cent of the prison population is held in private facilities, the Victorian Government took back public control of the Metro Women's Correctional Centre in 2000 after an inquiry found widespread drug use, deaths in custody, poor training and cover-ups. But most studies paint a more mixed picture of private prisons.
A 2001 report by the Bureau of Justice Assistance of the US National Council of Crime and Delinquency found that "there are no data to support the contention that privately operated facilities offer cost savings over publicly managed facilities". There was no evidence, it said, that services to prisons and conditions of imprisonment were "significantly improved in privately operated facilities".
Staffing in private prisons was 15 per cent lower than in public prisons, management information systems were less well organised and the number of major incidents higher. Private prisons also had a higher rate of assaults both on prisoners by other prisoners and prisoners against prison staff.
Is privatising jails really worth the risk?
As for the no smoking rule, the Government's raw meat, medieval law and order policy is seeing more and more NZers thrown into these shipping containers and because of the double bunking policy it means prisoners who are exposed to second hand smoke could prosecute the Government (they are pretending it's the guards health they are protecting to avoid highlighting that its the double bunking policy that is provoking this change). It's going to become a hell hole in there with prison riots and a jump in assaults the only prospects available from this stupid, stupid double bunking programme.
I love watching counter productive knee jerk redneck law and order policy produce such wonderful results. Well done NZ.