Prison Privatisation

Minister for Corrections David Elliott admits failure-

Gaols are not for sale!

The concerning issue of the privatisation of prisons in Australia in New Zealand is at an all time high. The New South Wales Government in Australia is allowing a private operator to bid to run a gaol in Sydney’s North West- The John Morony Correctional Centre. The SMH released an article on March 21 2016 reporting the significant pressure about to be placed on public prisons in that they must meet their performance aims or risk being run by the private sector. In response, the Public Service Association understand the privatisation of prisons as “another short sighted cash grab” through the obvious lack of liability and pellucidity.

The current regulation of Mt Eden’s Prison in Auckland New Zealand by Serco is being investigated for their incompetent efforts of management of the prison as the profit they have accumulated have been put elsewhere than in the public service as assured. This is just one example of the failure of privatisation of prisons.  The Article states; “We are demanding a full, independent investigation into Serco’s involvement in Mt Eden Prison. One with the integrity and scope that the New Zealand public deserves. But that’s not all. We are also demanding a moratorium on the consideration of Serco for any further public sector contracts. Because we can’t afford to let them fail again in Children’s Services, Mental Health or State Housing.” – Say no to Serco in Aotearoa, Action Station.

Serco have also failed to stop fight clubs, drinking and drug use….


The great concern leans on the difference between the private sectors motivations and the public sectors motivations. The private sector is driven by the pursuit of profit whereas the democratic system of government accentuates a responsibility for the wider community. In the context of prisons, the profit motivation postures severe questions causing great apprehensions between profits and the obligation of corrections to effectively rehabilitate and support a prisoner’s re-entry to society, aiming for reduced rates of recidivism.

If the state is going to continue to hand over public correctional center’s to private sectors then vigilant and all-inclusive contracts need to be drafted that explicitly outline firm terms in relation to prison operations, performance targets and management. In addition, these private sectors should be examined by Independent structures separate to the correctional service within a jurisdiction to investigate, advise, and provide unequivocal analysis over the standards of privatized correctional services and its functioning practices.

Prison privatisation is the most momentous elaboration in penal policy in the second half of the 20th century. Evidently, if it is not correctly controlled and made thoroughly accountable for its operations and outcomes, privatisation could have relapsing effects.

The task is to certify that privatisation is controlled for the benefit of imprisonment benchmarks as a whole, giving Governments a responsibility to regulate procedures so that the private and public prisons in Australia are represent equity, moral standards and a decency in their operations.

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