INDEPENDENT NEWS

Privatised prisons no reduce reoffending bandaid

Published: Mon 8 Nov 2004 04:33 PM
PSA Press Release
Privatised prisons no bandaid to reduce reoffending
The Public Service Association (PSA) is dismissing calls from the Sensible Sentencing Trust for the construction of a new privatised ‘super prison’, saying it would have no impact on reoffending rates.
PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff said it would be completely inappropriate to contract out the coercive powers of the state for private profit, in addition to the serious practical difficulties prison privatisation would entail.
“Imprisoning people for the crimes they have committed is a core role of the state and it should never be hived off to a private operator for profit.
“New Zealanders have already seen the results of the kind of logic the Sensible Sentencing Trust is advocating in action. Remember when privatising rail was seen as the only way to save it or just recently how efficient privatised vote counting of the local body elections turned out to be?
“Reducing recidivism costs money. It is completely simplistic to think that locking people up in the ice and snow will stop them from reoffending when they are released. What is needed is properly staffed prisons offering inmates effective habilitation programmes which prepare them for crime-free working and personal lives on the outside.
“Alongside the funding the government has approved for the prison building programme what is desperately needed is a commitment to improve prison office pay and conditions so the Department of Corrections can recruit and retain quality staff.
“The Corrections department is currently 300 prison officers short and it predicts this figure will grow to 1,500 staff as new prisons are opened over the next four years. Dealing with this issue would do more to reduce reoffending than any other single initiative,” Richard Wagstaff said.
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