British Serco private prison scandal

This video from Australia is called The Biggest Company You’ve Never Heard Of. It is about private prison corporation Serco.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

POA: end shame of Serco jail

Tuesday 14 May 2013

by Paddy McGuffin and Adrian Roberts

Prison officers called today for a privately run London prison to be turned over to the public sector after inspectors exposed horrendous violence and all-day lock-ups.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons found that Serco-run HMP Thameside, which opened in March 2012, was riven by violence and had “one of the most restrictive regimes” inspectors had ever seen.

There was a high level of assaults and prisoners had little confidence in the inexperienced staff to handle violence or deliquency.

Inspectors found that guards used a high, but reducing, level of force, segregation and harshly limited inmates’ time out of their cells.

Six in 10 inmates were locked up during the working day with some shut up for 23 hours.

There were also far too few activity places to meet prisoners’ needs, inspectors said.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said the first stage in a new jail’s operation was “critical and demanding” and that Thamesmead staff and managers had faced “clearly evident” challenges “in bringing stability to this prison.

“The opening process had been hard work and very tough. There remained some big gaps at the prison and there was much to do before it could be seen as operating at its full potential.”

But prison officers union POA general secretary Steve Gillan said it was all too predictable.

Speaking from the POA conference in Southport, Mr Gillan said: “This is what happens when the government of the day has privatisation of the public sector at the heart of its agenda.

Prisons must not be for-profit and Thameside should be given to the public sector.”

National Offender Management Service chief executive Michael Spurr tried to defend the prison, saying that it was “still in the very early stages of its development.

“Decisive action has already been taken to address the concerns raised.”

But Howard League for Penal Reform campaigns director Andrew Neilson said the government should be embarrassed.

“Less than a week after Justice Secretary Chris Grayling demanded that prisoners work harder to earn privileges, this flagship private prison is revealed to be locking up inmates for 23 hours a day because they don’t have anything constructive to do.

“This is what happens when you hand the justice system over to vast multinational corporations, who put cost-cutting and the interests of their shareholders ahead of concern for public safety.”

The sisters of two men who died in custody on a police-station floor pleaded with trade unionists in Glasgow today to join their fight for justice: here.

Prisoners are being employed to ring people up and quiz them about their insurance details, the Ministry of Justice confirmed today: here.

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