UNDER-FIRE Serco is facing renewed pressure over its management of the Auckland South Corrections Facility at Wiri just a day after losing its lucrative contract to run Mt Eden Prison.
A major question mark is hanging over the Government’s privatisation prison programme following controversy about prison fight clubs, illegal contraband, unreported beatings and a rising suicide rate.
In July the Government stepped in and took back control of Mt Eden Prison from Serco after a series of wide-ranging allegations, including claims inmates had been physically assaulted and thrown off balconies in a practice known as ‘dropping’.
Yesterday the Government finally said enough was enough and cancelled Serco’s Mt Eden contract.
In announcing the decision, departing Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-liga said the decision would have no bearing on Serco’s 25-year contract to run Wiri Prison in South Auckland.
He claimed there were no issues about Serco’s management of the facility and the Government was committed to a private prison service.
Lotu-liga’s claims appear to fly in the face of reports out of Wiri, which suggest the prison is facing many of the similar type of issues that plagued Mt Eden during much of the Serco reign.
One well-placed source claimed yesterday the private prison company was deliberately flouting health and safety regulations at Wiri with one of its trade training programmes – and in the process putting inmates at risk of harm.
The source claimed Serco had failed to obtain council consent for a paint spray booth but instead of axing the scheme was allowing inmates to spray paint in the open with no ventilation or fume management. Read more »