Private prison thinking

March 14th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Matthew Theunissen at NZ Herald reports:

Prisoners would get telephones, televisions and “electronic menu” systems in the cells of a private prison in south Auckland under plans being considered by the Department of Corrections.

British-based company Serco, which will manage the new 960-bed prison at Wiri, has introduced the technology in its prisons overseas and wants to do the same here.

The proposal includes introducing “custodial management system” screens to prison units – and in some cases to individual cells – so inmates could order meals, write shopping lists, add credit to phone accounts and see weekly timetables.

Serco said the introduction of in-cell telephones in its overseas prisons had resulted in significant improvements in prison security, including a drop in the number of prisoners trying to smuggle cellphones. …

Canterbury University Professor of Sociology and former Paremoremo Prison inmate Greg Newbold said introducing the technology was clearly a cost-cutting exercise.

“Those have to run at a profit and 80 per cent of the cost of running prisons is in manpower.

“If you can do the administrative things electronically, you reduce the need for staff on the floor and you can run a prison more efficiently and more cheaply.

Excellent.

Corrections Association president Beven Hanlon said the in-cell technology could save prison officers hours of mundane paperwork.

“At the moment if the prisoner wants something they have to come up to an officer and request it, so introducing these screens would mean if they’re short on toilet paper or they need a new toothbrush etc they can just enter it in.”

“But they should use it in the right way – let’s not get crazy on it and turn these places into the Hilton.”

Good to see the Corrections Assn in favour of a potential benefit of having a private operator.

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32 Responses to “Private prison thinking”

  1. Daigotsu (471 comments) says:

    Why are we giving prisoners toothbrushes? Let their fucking teeth rot

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  2. cha (4,143 comments) says:

    But will Serco be able to negotiate a guarantee that the government maintains a 90% occupancy rate for at least 20 years.

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  3. Martin Gibson (248 comments) says:

    Instead of building more prisons — publically or privately — we should crew all the Foreign Charter Vessels in NZ waters with a mix of the most redeemable prisoner volunteers and regular Kiwis (who could be paid more as a result).

    You might have to install a brig or a plank, but six months catching and processing squid in the Southern Ocean would give someone plenty of time to blow out the cobwebs and learn to work, even a bit of cash to make a fresh start.

    Be better for New Zealand’s exports too, and I like the idea I’m not paying to keep crims sitting on their arse and fed.

    Rubbish recycling and sorting is another bit of energy flow I like — you’ve made a mess in society, now clean up some of society’s mess.

    If we re-cracked that plastic, it would also be better for our trade deficits.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10791821

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  4. Alan Wilkinson (1,936 comments) says:

    The Herald is running a moronic, uninformed tabloid discussion on this. Let the private operators meet their obligations as innovatively and cost-effectively as they can. That is what privatisation is for.

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  5. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    On principle, I am opposed to private prisons because I believe that depriving any person of his liberty is one of the most serious things any state can do to an individual. Only the State should have this frightening and enormous power.

    But if NZ HAS to have private prisons then at least find a company who runs them humanely and efficiently. If the State Prisons aren’t doing that then we need to keep kicking them till they do.

    Serco’s record in this area is so appalling I am amazed anyone would ever consider employing them to wipe my dog’s bum.

    Anyone who posts here without at least doing some research on Serco isn’t worth listening to. When facts replace bigotry and prejudice, then we might have a decent discussion.

    If you are willing to take up the challenge you could start here:

    http://rightnow.org.au/topics/asylum-seekers/private-prisons-in-australia-our-20-year-trial/

    Okay, I know, its a human rights organisation and they have been taken over bymarxistcommunistpinkotreehuggingdogooderswhowanttoputallrightthinkingpeoplebehindbarssothere.

    If that’s your view then don’t even bother replaying to thsi post. I will be out to lunch.

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  6. smttc (767 comments) says:

    DPF, you don’t really believe the Corrections Assn and Hanlon are in favour of private prisons do you?

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  7. Daigotsu (471 comments) says:

    Jesus Peter where did you spring from and why do you think we are all so enthralled to find out the opinions of some random internet numpty that we will obediently trawl through the volumes of crap you post?

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  8. nasska (12,101 comments) says:

    The trialling of privately run prisons in New Zealand has not, to date, caused any major problems. I had my doubts when they were first mooted as only the state can deny people their liberty & once it has taken that course of action it has total responsibility for the safety & rights of the prisoner. To that end the successful contractor, Serco, seems to have its act together.

    A while back “Rex Widerstrom” who spent sometime in an Australian prison used to frequently comment on these threads. At that time he was working for a prisoners’ rights organisation & was up to date with conditions in both state run & private prisons in Western Australia. The reply (below) he made to a query from ‘Joanna’ about Serco may be of interest.

    ….”# Rex Widerstrom (4,515) Says:
    August 14th, 2011 at 12:40 am

    @joana – a fair bit. They’re by no means perfect (though generally willing to listen to criticism and ideas for improvement) but they’re better than any state prison system I’m aware of, and vastly superior to the Wackenhutts of the industry, who unfortunately have given the term “private prison” a very bad name.”…..

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  9. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    Serco said the introduction of in-cell telephones in its overseas prisons had resulted in significant improvements in prison security, including a drop in the number of prisoners trying to smuggle cellphones. …

    Why not provide the scum with dope too? That will stop their relatives from smuggling that in for them as well…

    …and reducing smuggling is good, right?

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  10. Ryan Sproull (7,360 comments) says:

    On principle, I am opposed to private prisons because I believe that depriving any person of his liberty is one of the most serious things any state can do to an individual. Only the State should have this frightening and enormous power.

    Yes, when have states every hurt anyone.

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  11. Ryan Sproull (7,360 comments) says:

    *ever

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  12. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    On principle, I am opposed to private prisons because I believe that depriving any person of his liberty is one of the most serious things any state can do to an individual. Only the State should have this frightening and enormous power.

    It’s the State that deliberates (at length and at great expense) on whether or not your liberty is to be taken away.

    All a private prison is, is the state contracting out the ownership of the window bars, and the employment of the man who brings you your bread & water…

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  13. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    No, RRM, sorry, but no. There is only one good thing about your post, it proves beyond all doubt you have never been in a prison.

    If a State has any brains it will not sell a prison and that is what the word “ownership” means) it will contract out the prison. Why?

    Because it believes it is just possible the contractors might muck something up so badly that the State then has to step in and reclaim occupation.

    RRM: as well as bringing you food, the man or his superiors will have the right to place you in solitary confinement and resort to any disciplinary procedure allowed by law. He could even take your toothbrushes away.

    Do some research. When you are reasonably well informed I am happy to debate this topic with you. Till then don’t waste my time.

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  14. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    Diagotsu, My name is Peter, not Jesus Peter. But some people have suggested…….

    If you want to join RRM on my ignore list just keep going, you’re almost there.

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  15. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Peter F>Do some research. When you are reasonably well informed I am happy to debate this topic with you. Till then don’t waste my time.

    You’re the “I think my argument is so powerful that it’s not necessary to talk about it” guy and I claim my $5!

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  16. Daigotsu (471 comments) says:

    Peter if you ignoring me means I get to ignore you then sign me the fuck up

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  17. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    Do some research. When you are reasonably well informed I am happy to debate this topic with you. Till then don’t waste my time.

    Peter –

    I like your articles that DPF posts up on here, but in person you seem to be a bit of a cock. I put it down to the fact that you are an Australian.

    Your time is OBVIOUSLY very, very precious, because you’re spending it on here, reading and commenting on political forums… lol

    My humblest apologies, I won’t waste any more of your precious time.

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  18. pq (728 comments) says:

    cool, when I go to prison soon for incorrect thinking;
    I want a view, I want a tv, a cell phone, and tim selwyn as my next door flatmate

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  19. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    RRM: as well as bringing you food, the man or his superiors will have the right to place you in solitary confinement and resort to any disciplinary procedure allowed by law. He could even take your toothbrushes away.

    (1) Good!

    (2) Do you suppose he does this in a regulatory vacuum, immune from review or criticism?

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  20. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    Providing them all with a Pastor of their choice, a last cigarette and a 9mm hollow point in the ear would seem to be far more cost efficient to me. :)

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  21. mikenmild (12,390 comments) says:

    But they’d have to buy the cigarette and make a donation to the church first, right?

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  22. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    And pay 15c for the round. :)

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  23. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    RRM (4,295) Says:

    March 14th, 2012 at 6:05 pm
    RRM: as well as bringing you food, the man or his superiors will have the right to place you in solitary confinement and resort to any disciplinary procedure allowed by law. He could even take your toothbrushes away.

    (1) Good!

    (2) Do you suppose he does this in a regulatory vacuum, immune from review or criticism?

    No, I don’t suppose he does this anywhere other than in a prison. What medication are YOU on, RRM?

    BTW, what the hell have you got against dental hygiene?

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  24. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    Johnboy says: “And pay 15c for the round.”

    Love it. :D

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  25. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    mikenmild (3,203) Says:

    March 14th, 2012 at 9:09 pm
    But they’d have to buy the cigarette and make a donation to the church first, right?

    This raises an important question:

    If, as has been reported, only a couple of chromosomes separate us from chimpanzees, how come so many humans wake each morning and reach for a fag rather than a banana?

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  26. mister nui (1,030 comments) says:

    Fuck me stone cold. I think this must be the first time in the history of the universe, where I agree with every line RRM has written on a post!

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  27. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    No, I don’t suppose he does this anywhere other than in a prison. What medication are YOU on, RRM?

    BTW, what the hell have you got against dental hygiene?

    Oho – I thought I was on your “ignore list”…?

    Medication – what??
    Peter, do you mind if I ask what industries you’ve worked in? Have you ever worked in an industry that is subjected to either (a) self-regulation by a professional body of your peers, or (b) Gubermint regulation by Gubermint inspectors?

    AGAIN I must ask, do you think a private prison guard operates in a regulatory vacuum, where his work is immune from review, criticism or censure?

    Dental hygiene –
    I’ve got nothing the hell against dental hygiene. But when we throw our rubbish in jail for behaving badly, and they don’t take the hint and continue to behave badly while they’re in there, I just can’t get too upset if Nanny State chooses to “punish” them by taking away their toothbrushes for a night. Sorry! It’s the least that criminal dirt bags deserve!

    Now, Peter… are you going to carry on with your sneering, point-scoring, smart-arse style of posting on here, or are you nearly ready to calm down and start talking to people properly?

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  28. Paulus (2,711 comments) says:

    I do not think that all prisoners will get such facilities – they will have to be earned.

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  29. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    If anyone wants to know who I am, what I have done, where I am, how to contact me will know everything I care to divulge. Including the fact that I AM A KIWI WHO LIVES IN AUSTRAlIA,!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! simply by reading this blog, It is all there, folks.

    Listen guys and take this in:

    If you are decent to me I will be decent in return

    If you decide to abuse me, expect return fire.

    Take me on at your perll. I have been insulted by people far more capable than the useless harmless mob that try to dominate this blog.

    I will stay here till the owner thinks I am no longer of any value. Then I will thank him, give him a wave and set off to make merry mayhem somewhere ekse.

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  30. RightNow (7,015 comments) says:

    Peter Freedman (101) Says:
    March 15th, 2012 at 5:25 pm
    If anyone wants to know who I am…blah blah blah

    No, we don’t want to know, you’ve demonstrated you’re a douche bag, and exemplified your sense of self-importance over and over. You have the right of free speech, but could you fuck off and start your own blog? Sure it would only be read by you, but that’s the thing about free speech – we have the freedom not to listen as well.

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  31. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    Of course I will do here only what David allows me to to. He is the boss and so far I will have to say he is the best boss I have had in a long time!

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  32. geo_kiwi (44 comments) says:

    If the government wants prison cost cutting, the best thing it can do is address the social problems that put people in there in the first place. A conservative guy I know in the U.S. told me – and this was one of the few times I have agreed with him – that if you want crime to drop, give people jobs. Ultimately if crime drops, so too will the eventual number of people in jail.

    He said this with a view to getting the economy going again (he was thinking about the American economy). Job creation should be the number one priority.

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