An excellent incentive

February 21st, 2012 at 12:37 pm by David Farrar

Newstalk ZB reports at NZ Herald:

The operator of Mt Eden prison has been fined $150,000 after a prisoner escaped.

The company, Serco, and the Corrections Department have carried out a review of security after notorious inmate Aaron Forden escaped from the prison in the early hours of October 10 last year.

The two groups say both operational security and the physical security of the building infrastructure have now been enhanced.

Department of Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith says a portion of the payment to Serco for the management of Mount Eden prison is performance-related.

He says it’s appropriate to levy a financial penalty for the escape.

Either the prison operators will ensure there are fewer escapes, or they will end up running the prison at a loss. Incentives tend to work, and I suspect we will see their overall escape record compare favourably over the medium term to the public prisons.

When a prisoner escapes from a public prison, is anyone held accountable? Does anyone lose their job? Is anyone fined? Is there an incentive to invest money to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

Hat Tip: Whale Oil

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10 Responses to “An excellent incentive”

  1. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    When a prisoner escapes from a public prison, is anyone held accountable? Does anyone lose their job? Is anyone fined? Is there an incentive to invest money to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

    Yes. Too many escapes and the minister’s party might not be in government after the next election, so the minister makes shit happen.

    And isn’t an incentive on the private provide to ensure there are as few escapes as possible basically the same as an incentive on the government for their to be as many escapes from that provider as possible? How many hip operations will this escape pay for :-)

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Won’t let me edit. Sorry for the “their”, everyone.
    Stupid muscle memory.
    [at least I didn't spell it mussel]

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  3. David Farrar (1,898 comments) says:

    Graeme: That is a far more indirect incentive and Ministers can’t interfere in operations. They can’t sack staff.

    I do like the prospect of Bill English though helping prisoners escape, as a way to reduce the fiscal deficit. However the costs of recapture may reduce the fiscal attractiveness of doing so :-)

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  4. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    When a prisoner escapes from a public prison… the guards are offered union counseling and the govt is attacked.

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  5. Nookin (3,345 comments) says:

    I wonder if the provider has pointed out to Mr Forden that his costs have exceeded his worth and that he will not be getting icecream for dessert any time soon.

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  6. peterwn (3,273 comments) says:

    Not a ‘fine’ but most probably a pre-agreed ‘liquidated damages’ representative of the cost of an escape. Same as a builder who is late in completing a building, bridge, etc. Same situation if somone loses a bunch of prison keys – the contractor would pay to have the locks changed. The Government would have to pay a slightly higher contract price but this is worthwhile. The contractor would no doubt offer bonuses to senior staff which would be similarly if someone escapes. Could not happen in the public sector because of envy politics when a successful manager ‘cleans up’ on bonuses.

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  7. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    “When a prisoner escapes from a public prison, is anyone held accountable?”

    Certainly a lot more acountability than when a judge LETS one out to reoffend.

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  8. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    you mean like this one?

    Prisoner escapes from Tongariro Rangipo Prison
    Last updated 13:40

    21/02/2012

    A prisoner is on the run after escaping from Tongariro Rangipo Prison in a Department of Corrections vehicle this morning.

    Police were looking for Jamie Paamu Hughes, 29, who allegedly took a white 2005 Toyota Landcruiser about 11.15am.

    Police said the vehicle’s registration was CPU985, and it had a large grey speaker mounted on the roof.

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  9. kowtow (8,487 comments) says:

    Yep,
    6 o’clock Radio Pravda reported the naughty private prison escape with a comment from the prisons union spokes guy saying how inefficient the private ones are. This story was followed by the dangerous minimum security prisoner who escaped while on a work party and hot wired the prisons car!

    Will the union comment on this “inefficiency”?

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  10. cha (4,026 comments) says:

    Now this will guarantee efficiency.

    http://www.allgov.com/Top_Stories/ViewNews/Private_Prison_Company_to_Demand_90_Percent_Occupancy_120216

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