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Evidence Casts Real Doubt On Value For Money From Private Prisons

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The international jury is out on whether private prisons offer maximum value for taxpayer money, says Labour law and order spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. In response to Finance Minister Bill English's speech today to the NZCID, Clayton Cosgrove said: "It's surprising Mr English has identified private prisons as a potential starting point for public private partnerships while also saying the Government will only enter into PPPs if they work and deliver value for taxpayers. "International evidence is at best inconclusive in terms of value for money. At worst, it suggests exactly the opposite," Clayton Cosgrove said. "In fact, even our own Corrections Department has said that it cost more per inmate ($43,000) for an Australian company to run Auckland Remand Prison from 2000 to 2005 than the department's own operating costs for remand prisoners of $36,000 per inmate. "Other reports, particularly from Britain, show private prisons rank badly in terms of security, maintaining order and control, and re-offending rates. Prison governors have called on the UK Government to re-think the policy of private prison management." Clayton Cosgrove said he would like the Government to simply get on with the job of providing more beds to cope with the expanding prison population. "All we hear from Bill English and Corrections Minister Judith Collins is bleating about Labour, showing prisoners who is boss, and ideological waffle about PPPs. "Well, Labour's record is incredibly positive compared to National's. If Ministers English and Collins spent less time agonising over what to do, maybe we wouldn't be in the position we are now of having to focus on double bunking and shipping containers," Clayton Cosgrove said. "Labour built four prisons and a large remand centre while in government. After nine months in office, National still doesn't know what it's going to do, or how it's going to do it. "Mr English accuses Labour of wasting a decade of PPP opportunities, but National ignored them in the 1990s. The thing is, PPPs have to make sense and provide value for money. The issue is whether private prisons do either."

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