Closing the Corrections Clunkers


The government is closing down the old clunker prisons in the regions when the new prison at Wiri comes on stream:

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed old regional prisons are set to close and be replaced with a new privately-built prison at Wiri, in South Auckland.

The Government announced earlier this month that Serco, the private company managing Auckland’s Mt Eden prison, would also run the new 960-bed jail which would be built by Fletcher Construction.

Although the prison muster has been falling, the Government says it needs extra capacity in Auckland.

Serco is expected reduce reoffending by more than 10 per cent and will face financial penalties if it fails to meet the target.

I love the investive system. Just like when a prisoner escapes, the private operator cops a fine. Now with the private contracts definable and measurable outcomes are being built in to ensure that recidivism is addressed.

It is such a pity that Labour and the prison officers union are opposed to such accountability.

Labour’s justice spokesman Charles Chauvel said Wiri was expected to cost the taxpayer about $1 billion over 25 years but its “indirect” costs were becoming clear and were “disturbing”.

“National seems to have made a decision that, rather than refurbish many regional state-owned institutions, it will simply close them. Prison closures will be a big blow to regional economies. Job losses will be significant.”

The proposal made “little economic or social sense”.

The National-led Government should invest the $1 billion in improving existing state assets instead of boosting the bottom line of a private company, he said.

So when Labour is opposed to the sale of state assets they mean they prefer the state continues to own and operate Victorian era prisons?and prisons built in the first third of the last century.