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Mt Eden’s private operator fined $150,000 for escape and wrongful releases

News from PSA
News that Serco has significantly failed to meet targets for running Mt Eden prison are further proof that the government’s privatisation of prisons is ideologically motivated not evidence-driven, the PSA says.

A Corrections Department report on the first eight months of Serco’s running of Mt Eden Prison says two prisoners were wrongfully released and the company was fined $150,000 after a prisoner escaped. Targets for random drug testing and prisoner management plans were not reached.

“The department may be trying to write these off as ‘teething problems’ but they are no such thing – these are core procedures that should be right from the start,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“This report shows Serco is failing in its number one priority – to keep the public safe.

“The government talks about getting innovation and savings from the private sector, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that what they really get is poor performance and lower-paid staff.

“The folly of this privatisation is now obvious – and doesn’t bode well for the PPP prison that Serco will run at Wiri.

“The government seems willing to damage vital public services as it pursues an ideologically driven privatisation programme.”