American MTC private prisons in Britain

This video from the USA says about itself:

Prison Profiteer Jane Marquardt Shut Down During Nomination Speech

11 December 2012

Salt Lake Prison Divestment Campaign confronts MTC vice chair Jane Marquardt at the Utah Democratic Party Central Committee meeting where she sought the party position of vice chair.

For more information, go here.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Cagey record? You’re hired to run our prisons

Friday 27th January 2017

Instead of admitting to the problems of privatised prisons in light of the embarrassing G4S and Serco scandals, the Tories have now hired a US firm with a similar rap sheet. SOLOMON HUGHES investigates

JUST before Christmas, a small local authority in Texas called Willacy County launched a lawsuit. They were suing a private prison company called MTC for a 2015 riot at a jail they ran in Raymondville, the biggest town — population 11,000 — in Willacy County. The riot led to the prison closing.

Like a lot of small towns in the US, Raymondville really depended on the prison. The jail paid Willacy County for every inmate it held.

This raised about $2.7 million a year — about a third of the county’s $8.1 million general budget. The prison also employed 400 local people. Willacy County are suing MTC for losses of “tens of millions of dollars.”

This is not just a sad story about how high US imprisonment rates mean small US towns end up relying on badly run private jails for jobs. The Willacy lawsuit wasn’t reported in Britain, but it matters to us.

It matters because our government has turned to the US firm who are being sued in Texas as one of their new favourite contractors.

Following the embarrassing scandals around G4S and Serco, the government didn’t admit privatising prisons and security was a bad thing. Instead they just tried to find a new firm to give the contracts. They chose MTC — who trade in Britain as MTC Novo.

In 2016 the government gave MTC the job of running the troubled Rainsbrook detention centre after G4S failed there.

The latest Ofsted inspectors report say MTC’s Rainsbrook work is “inadequate” in key areas.

In 2014, the government also gave MTC the huge £982m contract to run privatised probation in London.

This service is supposed to steer ex-offenders away from crime and into jobs and housing. If probation fails, crime goes up and people get hurt.

Last year the Chief Inspector of Probation gave a deeply critical report of MTC’s probation work, saying their service was “unacceptable” as their “poor work means [the] public [are] more at risk.”

None of this would have been a shock if the government had paid attention to Willacy County, Texas. The prison was already a byword for misery when the American Civil Liberties Union began criticising it in 2014.

The jail was made up of huge tents. Close to 3,000 prisoners were warehoused in big open dormitories under the Kevlar tents. Their bunk beds were squished together in the tents. Inmates’ regular complaints about grim conditions and abuse by guards broke out into a riot which destroyed the jail. The Willacy County lawsuit paints a picture of management cynicism and squalor.

The County said: “MTC failed to properly oversee, manage, and repair the prison and turned a blind eye to the enormous problems that plagued the prison from its inception.”

“Problems with flooding toilets, water seeping underneath the property, rodents, and lack of access to basic inmate services plagued the facility on MTC’s watch.

“MTC allowed the abysmal conditions to continue without taking any action of notifying the County of or attempting to rectify the problems with the prison. Further, MTC failed to address the issue of prison overcrowding, presumably because MTC was paid an additional per diem for inmates beyond the 90 per cent capacity threshold. Two hundred inmates slept in each housing pod, there was insufficient room between beds and new inmates were forced to stay in solitary confinement because of overcrowding.

“Tensions ran high due to MTC’s mismanagement of the prison and its conditions and inmates routinely protested, including refusing to return to the tents until the toilets were fixed. In each of the 200 inmate housing pods, a single correctional officer was posted for the duration of an eight-hour shift.”

Prisoners rioting and destroying the massive, squalid tent-pods in which they were held sounds like a scene from a dystopian science fiction film. It doesn’t sound like a good future for penal policy. But our government decided to give the firm behind the grim scenes probation and prison contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds. It never visited Willacy County jail. It didn’t revise its decision to hand over contracts to MTC after the jail burnt down. They turned a blind eye because their powerful urge to privatise all services cannot be stopped by anything as simple as evidence of failure.

3 thoughts on “American MTC private prisons in Britain

  1. Pingback: British privatised water, prisons | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Donald Trump’s, Tony Blair’s private prisons | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: ‘Stop Scottish investments in Trump’s private prisons’ | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.