British multinational Serco is causing trouble in New Zealand, with behaviour at its privately-run prisons fraught with violence and unaccountability. It’s the normal Serco way and only fools will be surprised.
I was interviewed by Radio New Zealand’s Sunday Morning (on a very bad phone line in South Sudan) on the company’s inability and unwillingness to operate with necessary staffing levels and training. It’s a point I’ve investigated in my forthcoming book, Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out of Catastrophe:
[New Zealand] Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga says some of the information provided to him on Serco’s running of Mount Eden Prison has not been up to standard.
Under the private contractor, the facility has been the subject of a string of complaints about organised fights, contraband, prisoner injuries and the death of one inmate.
Corrections has appointed a director to manage the day-to-day running of the prison from tomorrow and will impose financial penalties on Serco.
Mr Lotu-Iiga said he was unhappy with the flow of information from his department on the running of the prison.
“I’ve made it clear that I’ve been disappointed about some of the communication of reports and other information that could come up the chain through myself and through the chief executive.”
Mr Lotu-Iiga expects the situation at Mount Eden Prison to begin to settle with his department in charge from tomorrow.
Serco deliberately understaffs its operations worldwide in order to make as much money as possible, according to an independent journalist who has written books about the company.
Australian journalist Antony Loewenstein told Sunday Morning that governments believed they were being efficient by outsourcing prisons or detention centres, but it came at a human cost.
Mr Lowenstein said he has found it was very hard to get information from Serco or governments about their operations, without whistleblowers.