Bribery?

August 10th, 2011 at 10:16 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Auckland’s Mt Eden prison operator Serco has been accused of bribing inmates with bigger helpings of food and televisions in their cells to encourage them to behave.

The prison officers’ union, the Corrections Association, said that in addition to larger meals, Serco served dessert every night, unheard of in the State prison system, Radio New Zealand reported.

To me this shows the private operator has the flexibility we want a prison operator to have.

UPDATE: I am informed that the “dessert” served up is a piece of fruit. I’m also informed state prisons serve fruit also, so this is a union beatup story.

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39 Responses to “Bribery?”

  1. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Did it work?

    Or: Find out what hes drinking and send a case of it to all my other generals.

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  2. lofty (1,316 comments) says:

    What the hell is the issue here?

    Its like “accusing” a parent of being too loving.

    Sour grapes, personified methinks.

    psst I heard through the grapevine that Serco has been “accused” of offering their staff higher salaries if they meet the performance KPI’s….BASTARDS! ;-)

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  3. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Do the NZPA muppets not have jobs to get on with?

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  4. smttc (752 comments) says:

    Yeah and look who is doing the accusing. Bevan Hamlin – union shit stirrer and chief cry baby.

    He couldn’t keep the private sector out of running prisons. So now he has to go and cry about it to the MSM by trying to make mischief. Complete wanker.

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  5. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    I still think they shouldn’t have Tv’s and radios in their cells but piped indoctrination.

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  6. DavidC (179 comments) says:

    If a prison population can be controled by the offer of a spoonful of pudding, I as a tax payer am happy to provide it.

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  7. sthn.jeff (101 comments) says:

    It was exactly the same comments coming from CANZ when a private company run ACRP prior to it be Nationalised by the last Government

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  8. Griff (7,797 comments) says:

    Why not if it makes the scum behave
    The PC bullshit all are equal its not their fault camp might find it distasteful. Aweek inside is wot the PC brigade need to re aline their world view to reality

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  9. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    What’s the issue?

    Labour got beaten up because they were building prisons that ‘were like hotels’.

    Now that’s just fine.

    The point the prisoner officers union was making (and conveniently left off by DPF) was the larger meals and TV’s were to keep prisoners happy so the operator could use lower staff numbers.

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  10. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    So let me get this straight.

    If you take something prisoners like and remove it (say, cigarettes), you’re evil according to the union.

    If you take something prisoners like and give it to them (say, food and TV), you’re evil according to the union.

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  11. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    The point the prisoner officers union was making (and conveniently left off by DPF) was the larger meals and TV’s were to keep prisoners happy so the operator could reduce costs by removing evidently unnecessary positions.

    FYP

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  12. lofty (1,316 comments) says:

    Read the article…I was right .. sour grapes.

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  13. Nick R (507 comments) says:

    This is hilarious. All of a sudden everyone is delighted for prisoners to get nice food and colour TVs – because they are in a private prison!

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  14. peterwn (3,275 comments) says:

    AFAIK they are managing remand prisoners only. Hence there is no issue of undermining the ‘penal’ aspect of prison sentences. The objectives of detaining remand prisoners are:
    1. Keep them happy vis a vis cost of custody.
    2. Facilitate proper contact with lawyers and others who can help progress their cases.
    3. Provide appropriate facilities for thiose who choose to defend themselves – ie access to legislation, law reports, word processing etc (Corrections seems to be less than cooperative in this regard – eg John Burrett was released on bail during his trial as he claimed he could not properly do his legal preparation while remanded in custody – this should not have happened).
    Note the objectives do not include any deliberate ‘penal’ aspect.

    If Serco can manage remand prisoners better and more economically than Corrections, then so be it.

    I think a prisoner remanded in custody should be given a choice:
    a. be treated as a sentenced prisoner with remand time counting towards sentence.
    b. be treated as a remand prisoner with only 60-75% of remand time credited to any future sentence.
    I do not know the current situation, but where upon a prison sentence is inevitable the judge should order the prisoner to be treated as a sentenced prisoner immediately.

    There was a disgusting episode years ago where a young woman was takeen into custody and locked in the cells because the police feared she would not turn up to give evidence at a court hearing the next day. This would be hardly conducive to her giving quality evidence. If I was in her shoes, I would be uncooperative to just short of being sent down for contempt. She should have been placed under ‘house arrest’ if appropriate, otherwise put up in a motel with a couple of guards. OK that woukld have cost the Crown more, but so be it.

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  15. DeeDee (75 comments) says:

    Given the fact that people cant find affordable housing in NZ. remand doesnt sound too bad at all!

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  16. KH (695 comments) says:

    the union needs to make up their mind.
    First; Having a private operator was bad because ( how ? ) the profit factor would lead to prisoners being mistreated.
    Now. Having a private operator is bad because the prisoners get pudding.
    Well which is the union worried about.

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  17. smttc (752 comments) says:

    Scrubone & KH, Bevan Hamlin and the union don’t give a fuck about the inconsistencies in the ridiculous positions they take. I know a few prison officers at HB Regional Prison where Hamlin is based. They all think Hamlin is a fantastic guy. They get all riled up when I speak badly of him. He’s just talking to his adoring fan club via the MSM and making mischief in the process.

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  18. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    Is this the same Kiwiblog where I so often read comments about how the reprehensible left loves criminals and wants to mollycoddle them with “soft” prisons?

    Isn’t it amazing how all the righteous anger at criminal scum evaporates when private enterprise mollycoddles criminals with soft prisons…?

    Serco should be encouraging good behaviour by offering to empty the sh!t buckets of “good” inmates daily at 10am instead of just once a week…

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  19. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    Yes, I find myself agreeing with some of the Lefties perplexed at the double standards in evidence.

    My view is that prisons should not be the primary means of punishment for our society, should be reserved for people who are actually dangerous, and no meals at all should be provided. If a prisoner wants to eat (or possess any other material goods), he should have to rely on his family, or charities, or churches.

    Given the choice between having a bad system run poorly for more money by government, and a bad system run poorly for less money by Serco, I’ll pick Serco. But they shouldn’t be serving any free meals at all.

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  20. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    I’ve thought for awhile there ought t be a class system in prison. Everyone enters at middle class, which is your standard environment.

    Bad behaviour causes one to be put into the lower class, where for example there is no TV, food is more basic, cells have no personalisation. These are segregated from the rest of the community.

    Good behaviour – by which I mean positive, role model behaviour as opposed to just not being bad – is rewarded with more privileges, better food, more scope for personalisation in cells etc.

    After all, in real life it is those that work hard and contribute that get rewarded, so why should it be any different in prison?

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  21. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    The point the prisoner officers union was making (and conveniently left off by DPF) was the larger meals and TV’s were to keep prisoners happy so the operator could use lower staff numbers.

    YEAH!!!! How dare a private company try to make a profit….

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  22. flipper (4,083 comments) says:

    The only sensible and informed comment above from peterwn.
    ALMOST ALL OTHER COMMENTS ARE UNINFORMED CRAP.
    Persons held on remand are, by definition, NOT GUILTY.
    Ergo, the comments made by many, to repeat, are just crap.
    To those that think otherwise: Read Winston Spencer Churchiull to the House of Commons, circa 1911.
    Such a silly debate.

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  23. DeeDee (75 comments) says:

    Either way quite honestly I dont care! But if you are a private organisation who has to break even financially, wouldnt it be in your best interest to have alot of “customers”?

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  24. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    But if you are a private organisation who has to break even financially, wouldnt it be in your best interest to have alot of “customers”?

    And if you were a union who’s income was derived from having lots of prison officers, wouldn’t that mean you had a vested interest in keeping lots of criminals locked up?

    Works both ways. Actually it doesn’t – private operators can have contractual rewards for lower recidivism.

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  25. DeeDee (75 comments) says:

    I dont know how many prison officers are part of the union, but I would think that their contribution to the Union would be very small. Isnt their complaint more about the work conditions? Staffing numbers compared to prisoner numbers and issues such as that?
    Anyway I understand that private prison wardens can still join the same union which is the Public Services Association. Understandably they may not in order to get and keep their jobs.

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  26. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    Staffing wouldnt be a problem in my prisons. They would be open yards with 6m high electric fences around them with a guard tower in each corner fitted with high calibre armaments.

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  27. DeeDee (75 comments) says:

    Kind of like some american prisons?

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  28. Right of way is Way of Right (1,122 comments) says:

    “Now, if you’re really good, I’ll let you have an Ice Cream later and watch Telly!”

    Simple, fairly cost effective, and may actually work!

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  29. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Good to read some enlightened comment on this issue. To be honest I was expecting the usual KB chorus advocating bread, water and regular beatings.

    Serco, while by no means perfect, are by far and away the best private prison operators in the market and the government’s choice to appoint them is a good one.

    But like any private company they’re motivated by profit, so their effectiveness depends on their KPIs. So provided KPIs include (as they do here in WA, where Serco runs a prison) things like lower assault rates, lower complaints, more prisoners passing courses and so on, Serco, in my experience, runs a prison which is better than anything the state can come up with.

    I believe in Britain the government included in KPIs a reduction in recidivism (can’t be done in WA as Serco only run a medum security facility and so prisoners pass back to the state and then to the dreadful state-run parole system). As a result, Serco started delivering post-release assistance to prisoners, aimed at ensuring they didn’t reoffend. And the taxpayer only paid if they succeeded. Brilliant all round, I’d say.

    Public service unions such as teachers and prison officers are in a difficult position. Their very existence is all about patch protection, but the fields in which they work impact upon third parties – children, offenders – in ways that most private sector jobs do not. It’s a fine line to walk, then, protecting your members’ jobs – as you’re paid to do – without damaging the third parties. Sadly, most seem to step well off the line, as the union has certainly done in this case.

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  30. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    Strange that RadioPravda led with their chin on this story isn’t it – not.

    When will we get a public service broadcaster who isn’t such a lefty mouthpiece?

    No wonder RNZ are living on borrowed time.

    @ Rex, I agree, whats the problem with a desert and PPV TV if it keeps the inmates subdued and relatively happy gotta be better than having to pay the State Prison Guard to bring them P, Pot and Porn….

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  31. nasska (11,578 comments) says:

    Rex

    My objection to privately run prisons has always been an ideological one based on the premise that only the state has the right to suspend someones freedom & therefore it should not offload its responsibilities for the well being of the offender on to third parties. Before my fellow right wingers rush for rope & a convenient tree I believe that the role of prisons is to keep an offender away from the community he/she preys on for as long as is possible but as humanely as possible.

    It does seem I was wrong but whilst Serco shapes up as a good manager of prisons the temptation to let standards slip will always be there as long as profit is the motive. If the state opts out of management of these facilities it needs to maintain a high level of accountability for what will usually be the lowest tenderer.

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  32. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @nasska – they couldn’t let standards slip further than our state run prisons where the guards smuggle drugs in to the prisoners could they?

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  33. nasska (11,578 comments) says:

    seanmaitland

    Instances like that would take some beating but I reckon that reducing such behaviour is about as much as we can realistically hope for. The inmates have little to do other than sus out any weaknesses a guard may have & will exploit these ruthlessly.

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  34. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    based on the premise that only the state has the right to suspend someones freedom

    That’s still the case as it is the state, via our legal system, that does the suspending. The way the jail is operated is – or should be – unimportant.

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  35. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Apples are probably cheaper than anti-psychotic medications.
    The Serco bosses also said that there are a lot of people in prison in NZ who should not be there..but then we all knew that didn’t we?

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  36. Steve (4,564 comments) says:

    David C 10.34
    “If a prison population can be controled by the offer of a spoonful of pudding, I as a tax payer am happy to provide it”

    I am happy to pay the cost of one bullet, far cheaper, and permanent. It is a fucking JAIL, not a hotel

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  37. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    “Pudding to the left, Bullet to the right.” That’ll sort them out.

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  38. gump (1,650 comments) says:

    Mick Mac said:

    “I still think they shouldn’t have Tv’s and radios in their cells but piped indoctrination”

    What is the difference?

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  39. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    I am happy to pay the cost of one bullet, far cheaper, and permanent. It is a fucking JAIL, not a hotel

    As much as I support the idea of the ultimate punishment for the most serious crimes (when properly proven), I do wish people would stop saying stupid things like this. Many people are in jail for reasons that do not deserve the death penalty by any standard, not to mention that miscarriages of justice do exist.

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