G4S prison privatisation scandal

This video from New Zealand says about itself:

Prison privatisation – follow the money

On 9 February 2010 the PSA and other unions protested outside Parliament about the Government’s plan to privatise prisons. The last time a prison was privatised in New Zealand it cost more to run and provided a worse service. Corrections Department figures show it cost the Australian company that managed the Auckland Remand Prison from 2000 to 2005, $43,000 per inmate to run the prison, while Corrections operating costs per remand prisoner were $36,000.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Prison selloff fury as G4S mess exposed

Thursday 08 November 2012

An announcement that the coalition plans to press ahead with prison privatisation without consultation was met with fury from unions and reformers today.

The Ministry of Justice unveiled the selloff in an announcement which also admitted the total failure of Britain’s first ever prison privatisation at HMP Wolds.

Blundering security firm G4S is to be stripped of its contract running the training prison in Yorkshire after several years of warnings about deteriorating conditions.

A category B prison since 1992, HMP Wolds was demoted to a category C facility in 2001. Despite this lowered security rating inspectors warned of deteriorating conditions in 2010, expressing concerns over “the availability of drugs, a lack of staff confidence in confronting poor behaviour, weaknesses in the promotion of diversity and limited work and training provision.”

In June this year, Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick warned that while some improvements had been made, many concerns still hadn’t been addressed.

HMP Wolds, a category C training prison holding up to 395 men, will now return to the public sector at the end of the current contract in July 2013, the Ministry of Justice said.

However the ministry also announced that new competitions to run Northumberland prison and Lindholme, Hatfield and Moorland jails in South Yorkshire will go ahead with Sodexo, Serco and MTC/Amey as main bidders.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The cost of running our prisons is too high and must be reduced.

“We can do this by being more innovative and efficient, and without compromising public safety.”

The Prison Officers Association (POA) condemned the “disgraceful decision.”

“These decisions are based on a flawed ideology and not on cost and provision of services,” a POA spokeswoman said.

“There can be no place for profit out of misery in a civilised society.”

Public servants’ union PCS called for a full independent inquiry into prison privatisation and a moratorium on any further sell-offs until it is completed.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The privatisation of our prison service ought to be a national scandal and that this has happened without any public debate is shameful.

“It is morally reprehensible that companies are profiting from locking people up and we urgently need an independent review to look at the impact on our communities, staff and prisoners.”

Howard League for Penal Reform chief executive Frances Crook also called for details of how the bidding process is being decided to be made public.

“The government will seek to deflect criticism of its prison privatisation programme by excluding G4S from the next stage of the bidding process, but the principle of awarding lucrative contracts to private companies running prisons on the cheap remains unchallenged,” Ms Crook said.

See also here.

And here.

A LABOUR government will not reverse prison privatisation, shadow prisons minister Jenny Chapman said yesterday. Prison Officers Association general secretary Steve Gillan quipped back: “It’s no wonder you’re behind in the opinion polls”: here.

By Chip Gibbons, Truthout in the USA:

The current regime of mass incarceration is very much tied to the emergence of the neoliberal state in America. The neoliberal state demands stability for the market, but ultimately generates instability with its generation of surplus populations and lack of social resources. This means that while neoliberalism seeks to limit state intervention in the market and slash social welfare nets in the name of “freedom,” it inevitably results in increased coercion, militarization and incarceration. And with its desire to subject every aspect of society to the market, prisons become not just a necessity under neoliberalism, but a profitable venture. These factors, not an epidemic of criminality, are the chief causes of mass incarceration in America. Prisons are therefore very much tied to the larger economic polices that Occupy opposes.

Only a small percentage of prisons are private, but the privatization of prisons represents the worst of corporate profiteering from human suffering. Stories about private prison companies influencing policy are plentiful. A judge in Pennsylvania accepted bribes for sending juvenile offenders to a for-profit prison.

11 thoughts on “G4S prison privatisation scandal

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  11. Saturday, 2 March 2019


    THE CRISIS caused by the privatisation of the probation system in England and Wales has cost taxpayers almost £500m, the government’s National Audit Office says.

    The privatisation drive which began in 2013, saw private care companies handed the supervision of low and medium-risk offenders. The National Audit Office now says that ‘reforms’ were ‘rushed’ and the numbers returning to prison for breaching their licence conditions ‘skyrocketed’ as a more hostile environment was created.

    Prior to the reforms, which were designed to drive down re-offending rates, convicts who had served less than one year did not have to be supervised by probation services. But from 2015, every criminal given a custodial sentence became subject to statutory supervision and rehabilitation upon release into the community.

    The NAO report said that between January 2015 and September 2018, the number of offenders recalled to prison for breaching their licence condition increased by almost half, from 4,240 to 6,240. Over the same period, the percentage of offenders recalled to custody who had received sentences of less than 12 months increased from 3% to 36%.

    21 companies – community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) – monitored people who had been released from jail after serving short sentences. The attempt to make a profit out of probation collapsed when by March 2018, the CRCs were facing losses of £294m over the lifetime of their contracts – compared with the profits of £269m they had been expecting to start with.

    Four months later, the government acknowledged that the quality of probation services being delivered was not good enough and announced the MoJ would end the contracts with the CRCs in 2020 – 14 months early.

    The report estimates that additional payments to CRCs beyond the original terms of the contracts will cost the department £296m, and terminating the contracts early will cost at least £171m. The full cost to the taxpayer will not be known until at least December 2020, the report says.

    Commenting on the National Audit Office’s Transforming Rehabilitation: Progress Review published yesterday, Unison national officer Ben Priestley said: ‘Rather than ploughing on regardless with a failed system, the Justice Secretary must now take control and bring these contracts back into public ownership.’



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