Privately Managed Prisons

February 17th, 2009 at 7:45 am by David Farrar

National is delivering on its promise to allow the private sector to compete against the Corrections Department, for the running of new prisons.

The Maori Party are very supportive, saying Maori interests may put together a bid.

The previous privately managed prison, had a Maori General Manager and local Iwi were full of praise for how inclusive the prison management was, compared to other prisons.

Labour’s law and order spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said running prisons was core government business and National’s move was based on “pure ideology”.

No the ideology was Labour that changed the law to force the previous private manager out, despite the fact they had been a stunning success.

It is the role of the state to set policy and standards for prisons. Absolutely. But the state does not have to deliver every service it is responsible for. In fact often it is better they do not. Governments tend to be quite good at policy. But not so good at actually running things.

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17 Responses to “Privately Managed Prisons”

  1. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “Maori interests may put together a bid” hmmm – could we call that prison a reservation?

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  2. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,746 comments) says:

    Labour demonstrating its irrelevance again.

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  3. wreck1080 (3,884 comments) says:

    Labour banned private prisons. The Catholic church banned condoms. See the similarities?

    Labour behave like a religion. Regardless of the benefits of private prisons, labours just does not like them. It shows what a bunch of wallies are leading labour.

    Labour would rather spend an extra billion dollars a year running prisons, than allow a private organisation to butt in. Talk about spiteful…

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  4. big bruv (13,727 comments) says:

    And the Greens are against an increase in Prison capacity because it will means more Maori will be incarcerated

    Simple really, do not commit the crime in the first place.

    Duh!

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  5. senzafine (455 comments) says:

    Its win win as far as I can see.

    A: Cheaper!
    B: A private partnership really couldnt be any worse than the farce that is corrections!

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  6. dad4justice (8,137 comments) says:

    Plenty of room for a huge prison population living in tents in the McKenzie basin. Will the Human Rights Review Tribunal still pay homicidal maniacs huge compensation if the prisoner gets hurt feelings in a minus ten mid winter frost? Hopefully mother nature will thin them out.

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  7. dime (9,856 comments) says:

    is this another Tough on Crime/ Soft on PB thread?

    ok, im almost over it…

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  8. Ross Miller (1,700 comments) says:

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

    Well, the prison system IS broke so lets have a go at fixing it.

    And to argue that the running of prisons is core government business demonstrates how much Labour is mired in ideological burp land.

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  9. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Prison would suit so many of the leading lights in the previous administration.

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  10. clintheine (1,570 comments) says:

    Did you see the idiot comment made by the Labour party in relation to these private prisons?

    “Labour believes that it is the role of the public sector to deprive people of their liberty and not the role of the private sector”

    I think they meant to say that it is LABOURS role to deprive people of their liberty, although they are on the right track about our liberty. :) This is good policy by National and ACT. And it saves us money, $10,000 per cell/prisoner p/a. Labour don’t think of this as they like to piss our money away at every opportunity. Their ideology shoulfd be renamed to something that reflects their money wasting ways.

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  11. Scott (1,780 comments) says:

    When I was living in Auckland we ran a number of church services on a Sunday at the prison chapel of the Auckland remand prison. This was the privately run prison next to Mt Eden prison. I was impressed by the diligence of the staff and their commitment to standards. The prison staff were well groomed, very polite and appeared to take a pride in their work.

    The chapel services were well received by the prisoners — a mixed group of Maori, Pacific Island and pakeha prisoners.

    So my experience, as a visitor, of the privately run prison was very positive. If the private sector can run prisons well, and my experience on this particular occasion was that they certainly can, then I think National’s policy on this particular issue is very good and should be commended.

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  12. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Good on the Nats for this.

    And of course, if prisons run better with the state providing nothing but the funding (and they do – all round the world), why wouldn’t schools and hospitals?

    Hmm?

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  13. Viking2 (11,413 comments) says:

    The answer is that would of course. Along with power stations, roads, airlines, superannuation, and all those services that people just might pay for if they had either the money or the choice.

    One could point out that the internet has done just fine until now BUT legislation is now in place to interfere with that.
    Something else next.

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  14. Rex Widerstrom (5,349 comments) says:

    clintheine notes:

    Did you see the idiot comment made by the Labour party in relation to these private prisons?

    “Labour believes that it is the role of the public sector to deprive people of their liberty and not the role of the private sector”

    Idiot indeed as it fails to understand that people are deprived of their liberty by a judge and sometimes a jury. And last time I checked there were no plans to introduce “McJustice” (though I supect that for some, the idea of driving a bus full of arrested people past a window for a quick sentence sans trial would probably find favour. Then we could have the SST at another window asking “Can we upsize that?”).

    Who looks after prisoners once they’ve been deprived of their liberty by what is very much a public process isn’t a matter for ideology, it’s a matter for practicality.

    There’s been a good debate on this over at The Standard for a few days now, so rather than repeat the positive reports on private prison I’ve posted there which shows they can both save millions of dollars and be better run, I’ll quote from the report of the WA Inspector of Custodial Services, an independent assessor of state and private correctional facilities:

    Critics of prison privatisation have tended to raise three types of complaint. First, that it is wrong in principle for the State to privatise prison services because they remain a State responsibility. Secondly, that service delivery will inevitably suffer as the contractor will strive for profit above service. Thirdly, that there is a lack of transparency and public
    accountability.

    The first criticism is essentially one of political philosophy upon which people may reasonably hold different views. The debate is essentially irrelevant… it is also misdirected, at least in Western Australia, where it is clear that the State retains ultimate legal as well as moral responsibility. The best way to express it is that the State has not ‘contracted out’ of its responsibilities but has simply ‘contracted in’ certain services.

    Research demonstrates that the second criticism – that the quality of service will inevitably suffer under private prisons – does not withstand scrutiny. Worldwide, the experience has been that the private sector is just like the public sector in the sense that it is capable of running good prisons, bad prisons and anything in between. Internationally, the best private prisons are undoubtedly offering a cost effective, high quality service…

    This chapter has already served, implicitly, to dispel the view that privatisation leads to a lack of accountability. It is no coincidence that the best private prisons are usually found where strong accountability measures are in place. In Western Australia, Acacia undoubtedly sets the benchmark for transparency and accountability, and has leveraged better accountability throughout the prison system

    Acacia (unlike other prisons) is subject to clearly set and monitored contractual requirements (including penalties for non-performance) on issues such as security, safety and the delivery of treatment programs, education and training…

    Of course for every Serco (who runs the private prison in WA) there’s a Wackenhutt. But it’s simply a matter of choosing the right provider, setting the right benchmarks, and holding them to account.

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  15. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    I’d love to see a private prison run by “Maori Interests” that successfully reduced recidivism rates, it would be just the most glorious knee in the balls of all those “I can’t see why race should be an issue” types :-P

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  16. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    There are 1,000 places I can start on this topic, but this is where I will start if Maori run the prisons; it’ll be an ORGY.

    How many Maori female wardens have been caught fraternising with Maori prisoners? And I’m not talking ciggies and coffee. The public is never going to know whats going on behind closed cells. Maori warders will also turn a blind eye to conjugal visits.

    If you think inmates have it too soft now – which I don’t really believe – you’ll be wondering why inmates won’t be turning up to parole hearings. Prisons that are run by the Mob now will have those boys in administration and Mob presidents telling Prison execs how it’s all going to go down from now on.

    Maori gang members, crims and druggies will be using prison as therapy, recreation and downtime to detox. Plus to get away from family responsiblities like feeding kids. Esp if they missing their warder gf.

    Party time!

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