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Speaker: Protesting private prisons

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  • Russell Brown,

    Meanwhile in Serco news: one English council has paid £10m to get itself out of a long-term Serco services contract, which will still represent a saving for council tax payers.

    And a Novopay-like debacle in another county.

    Meanwhile, Serco shares:

    Serco was forced to issue four profit warnings last year and its business has been battered by a series of scandals, including overcharging UK taxpayers for tagging prisoners. As a result Serco was frozen out of new contracts for the UK government, its biggest customer.

    The shares have plunged from a high of 674p in July 2013, when investors believed the company would cash in on government spending cuts, to a record low of 118p on Tuesday.

    The shares rose a bit late last week, in part because it's squeezing costs out of operations in places like New Zealand and Australia.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • John Palethorpe,

    And here’s Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei explaining exactly why privatising prisons is potentially a very bad idea. I mean, it’s been in the news after all. Except Metiria is talking FIVE YEARS AGO, before Serco were installed properly at Mt Eden and Wiri:

    Auckland • Since May 2015 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Serco pilots a failure...*
    The paltry outlay for 120 subscriptions to Private Eye (one for every MP), could have saved this country a fortune!

    Who ever negotiated this PPP deal was dreaming if they thought SERCO would act differently to the way they have on virtually every other PPP contract they have milked, screwed or broken over the years...

    There is no way any Government should be allowed to sell the care of its citizens into the hands of profit-driven corporations.
    Care is elastic and should be delivered by those with an interest in the outcome - not the 'bottom line'.


    *sorry 'arry...
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    It’s disturbing stuff to here about people who have been remanded – on ‘drug charges’ being subjected to the serious violence being reported. Drug addiction is a mental illness, which requires a more therapeutic responce, according to the literature. Being subjected to extreme bullying is probably not going to help.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    The paltry outlay for 120 subscriptions to Private Eye (one for every MP), could have saved this country a fortune!

    Damn right Ian! As a former subscriber to Private Eye I've read numerous damning reports about Serco over the years, from incompetence and mismanagement to outright taxpayer fraud.

    Despite their obviously poor performance at Mount Eden, the company somehow scores top marks in NZ's official figures. David Fisher explains in the Herald.

    Under-fire jails manager Serco has been rated at the highest levels of capability and safety despite allegations of violence inside Mt Eden prison.

    It also appears to do its own performance management reviews - and to tell the Department of Corrections when its pay should be docked.

    The figures published by the Department of Corrections as Serco's "Key Performance Indicators" for Mt Eden show it has exceeded its target levels in every area.

    That old private companies do it better mantra is getting a little tired.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    There is no way any Government should be allowed to sell the care of its citizens into the hands of profit-driven corporations.

    Back in 2010...http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10679855...Allied Work Force was

    eyeing an opportunity in the lucrative healthcare sector, </q?. A company <q> well experienced in employment and recruitment.

    Shortly thereafter a friend, an ACC client, was sent a carer by Panacea who last job had been on a forestry workcrew...he was not happy. (the friend, that is, although having to shift from wielding a chainsaw one day to performing very personal cares the next might have been a challenge for the worker.)

    However, it turned out that the lucrative healthcare sector was not such a good investment, and AWF bailed....

    Mr Hull says ACC is tightening up on areas around funding and rationalisation of ownership. He felt the services on offer may have inhibited business growth for both Panacea and AWF.

    “We have been personally surprised at how similar the challenges are. Some of the services are outcome-based but essentially it’s people working by the hour in the field.

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/awf-exits-health-service-acc-blamed-bc-127284

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to steven crawford,

    Drug addiction is a mental illness, which requires a more therapeutic responce, according to the literature. Being subjected to extreme bullying is probably not going to help.

    Let's upgrade that "probably" to a "definitely".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Alfie,

    That old private companies do it better mantra is getting a little tired.

    I remember a late 80s cartoon showing a guy being led from his office in handcuffs, while in the foreground a receptionist explains to a caller that he's investigating opportunities in prison privatisation. Perhaps everything old is new again.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to steven crawford,

    Being subjected to extreme bullying is probably not going to help.

    Perhaps it would be more useful to identify the people who would be helped by extreme bullying and discuss them separately.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1232 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready,

    Prisons are the crime. I spent 8 years of my professional life in prisons in various roles. We DO NOT NEED prisons. The argument for deterrence is bullshit and proven so. For the tiny tiny number of dangerous humans we need secure mental health facilities and even they need very tight and ongoing reviews. Prof John Pratt points to the answer.

    This sad period of NZ history deserves a proper discussion, not just replacing #serco with government employees and their union's punitive attitude to prisoners. http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/professor-calls-for-better-nz-prison-conditions-2013012719#axzz3glrCwlJL

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alfie,

    razing…

    …standards

    Did someone mention flags?

    why…
    Just the word gets me
    all aflutter
    and tied up in knots…
    We’ll not plight our troth
    to just any old cloth,
    oh no.
    It must be tailored
    and bespeak the people
    and aired to show
    people have bespoken
    Then
    Let’s run it up a poll
    to distract the masses
    and chattering classes
    while selling out their asses
    their assets and cultures -
    to carrion regardless,
    they’re – vultures…


    <some may call that more of a bum rap…>
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    And someone hoots on, breathtaking stupidity on the subject on the radio

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    Mike Hosking has been thinking hard about this issue - it's actually a sign that private sector accountability is working

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Dave Patrick,

    Hosking reckons a half-million penalty would be ample compensation for an inmate's life. Bet he wouldn't be so chipper if he had stock in the company he claims "must be doing something right". The fabulous market isn't too keen on serco either.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2109 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    bum rap

    Bum wrap, even. ;-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Thanks for the great post, John. Terrifying stuff.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dave Patrick,

    Mike Hosking has been thinking hard about this issue – it’s actually a sign that private sector accountability is working

    Just got around to watching this. It says:

    1. These deaths, injuries and apparent attempts to defraud are a good thing, because they give the private system a chance to demonstrate its superior accountability.

    2. Look over there at an unrelated and basically irrelevant thing that happened somewhere else in the public sector! (Reality check: Waikato Hospital had the fake psychologist supervised as a matter of course, the supervisor withdrew supervision and the faker – who allegedly stole the identity of a genuine psychiatrist in the US – is now in custody and facing criminal charges for fraud. Further, the Waikato DHB will undergo an external review of its actions. It’s a shit example if you’re trying to depict a lack of accountability.)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    There is no way any Government should be allowed to sell the care of its citizens into the hands of profit-driven corporations.

    The most unseemly corporations at that...
    School meals by Rentokil?
    Now, that don't seem right.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    How about tendering out the public duties of the Police?
    These guys seem to fit the bill...

    Protective' of community
    Marua Rd resident Jane Estrada said [redacted for commercial sensitivity] were often protective of the local community.

    Once during a power outage, the men knocked on every door down the street to make sure everyone was ok and see if help was needed, she said.

    She goes on with her praise...

    "They seem peaceful there all the time. They're very caring.

    "I think they're protecting the community but we just have no idea what goes on inside. It's something different then I expected when it's a community with [redacted for commercial sensitivity] "

    She said she had not heard of any burglaries in the street. "It's a good thing they're around. No one would dare," she said.

    Sounds ideal eh?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    [redacted for commercial sensitivity]

    I think you're onto something here Steve. Think for a moment what would happen if this group took over Serco's Mount Eden contract. After all, Serco pretty much let them run the place already so just cut out the middle man. This group has plenty of enforcement experience, there wouldn't be any riots, they'd be better at covering up deaths and injuries and they'd probably do the job for less than the $30m a year Serco charges.

    Call it extreme privatisation and the Nats would probably go for it.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Amazingly, Anne Tolley maintains that Serco could be considered to deliver social services.

    "If they can deliver great results for people, why not?".

    Why not indeed! After all, Serco now has experience of providing "service" to one deprived section of our society. And really... what sort of country would we be if we let mere corporate incompetence and the odd death get in the way?

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Rentokil have been doing catering for years, they were the lunch contractor at a firm I worked for. It was as bad as you might expect.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    food as pest control; wasn't that the philosophy of that charter school?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1930 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Just got around to watching this. It says:

    1. These deaths, injuries and apparent attempts to defraud are a good thing, because they give the private system a chance to demonstrate its superior accountability.

    That's what I can't get my head around - is he seriously taking the position he seems to espouse, or has he disappeared into his own bizarro world and been replaced by Jeremy Wells' "Mike Says" persona full-time? Or is it just part of his activities as an unpaid shill for the National Party?

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

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