Labour wants to see contract for new jail
Thu, 20 Sep 2012 3:54p.m.
Labour is demanding the release of the contract the government has signed for the construction and running of the new prison at Wiri.
Corrections Minister Anne Tolley launched the $840 million building project in South Auckland today, saying it would create 1,000 construction jobs and 300 long-term positions.
The 960-bed prison will be run by British company Serco and built by Fletcher Construction under a public-private partnership.
Labour's justice spokesman, Charles Chauvel, says Mrs Tolley has a legal obligation to release the contract and suspects she is waiting for parliament to go into recess next Thursday before she does.
"Serco told the London Stock Exchange earlier this month that it expected revenues of 15 million pounds (NZ$29 million) a year from the operation of the prison .. the LSE has more information than the New Zealand public about what the taxpayer will pay under the arrangement," he said.
"This is a contract by which the government will attempt to bind Kiwi taxpayers for 25 years. Parliament was not consulted in advance about its terms and a number of parties, including the principal opposition party, oppose the principle of private sector management of prisons."
Mr Chauvel is challenging Mrs Tolley to release the contract before parliament goes into a two-week recess.
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21/09/2012 6:50:20 a.m.
The Justice, Police, and Penal systems are a fundamental responsibility of the State. They should not be seen as a money-making venture. They should NEVER be privatised.
The profit motive leads to perverse outcomes. Private prison lobbyists call for harsher sentencing for *soft* crimes - such as cannabis offences - leading to the overcrowding of prisons with non-violent offenders, and the increasing persecution of citizens for *victimless* crimes.
Private Prison contracts overseas have been signed to ensure 90% minimum occupancy rates. If we have such a clause, then if the crime rate goes down and we can't keep that level of ocupancy, the Private Prisons get paid extra from the taxpayer to cover their *loss*. Or we face increased incarceration for lesser crimes.
Overseas, private prisons companies have been found guilty of paying off judges to send people to their prisons.
By privatising prisons we encourage the cutting of corners. Overcrowding, inhumane treatment, lower staff levels, and less training for prison staff, will lead to increases in violent incidents.
Private prisons rely on repeat business, so proper rehabilitation will not happen - that would cut into future profits.
Ultimately, we end up with resentful citizens who have suffered persecution, and recidivist violent offenders who have had no rehabilitation. This is all to the detriment of society.
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