Labour supports league tables

Isaac Davison at NZ Herald reports:

Taxpayer-funded prisons should be ranked in so the performance of private and public prisons can be accurately compared, the Labour Party says.

I agree. If only Labour could be consistent on league tables.

Justice spokesman said it was difficult to understand how well private prison operator Serco was performing in its management of Mt Eden Correctional Facility because it was not known how it measured up against public prisons.

He felt the public needed a better measure of the company’s achievements, especially given the cost of the Government’s contract with Serco – $300 million over six years.

The Department of Corrections published the overall performance of its 19 prisons, but did not divide up the results by facility. Serco’s report cards were released every three months.

Mr Chauvel’s comments came after Corrections deputy chief executive Christine Stevenson revealed Serco had vastly improved its performance at the 966-bed Mt Eden prison in 2012.

She said the British-based Serco had a “tough” first year in charge of the facility, failing nearly half of its targets. But it had turned itself around in its second year and was meeting 95 per cent of its targets.

Excellent. It is good to see a prison operator have clear targets to meet, be reported against, and be held accountable for.

Mr Chauvel said this claim was hard to evaluate without knowing the percentage of targets that taxpayer-funded prisons were passing.

Ms Stevenson confirmed the department was collecting performance measures for individual prisons and would publish report cards next year.

Good – the comparison will be interesting.

But she warned the information could present a misleading picture.

“It’s quite a tricky thing to do. Our prisons … are all a bit different. You have Rolleston Prison, which is low-security, doesn’t have a fence, through to Auckland [Prison], which is maximum security.”

Which is not a reason to not have the individual data, but to possibly have categories within the table

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