Resist the Serco beast before it’s too late

The Serco infection moves to New Zealand, yet more unaccountable prisons sold as increasing “efficiency”:

The Department of Corrections today announced that global service provision company Serco has been selected to manage Mt Eden/Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP) from next year.

Finance, Systems and Infrastructure General Manager John Bole says that it is Government policy to use the private sector to inject new ideas into the prison system.

“Serco was selected after a robust two-stage procurement process, with probity assurance provided by Audit New Zealand,” says Mr Bole.

“The Department received three good quality responses to its Request for Proposal (RFP) and these were extensively evaluated. Serco’s proposal provided the best value for money, as well as the opportunity to inject significant innovation into the wider prison system.

“Department representatives also visited Serco operated prisons and were impressed with what they saw. Serco operates six adult prisons and two youth offender centres in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Mr Bole says the partnership is expected to improve rehabilitation and reduce re-offending.

“The shape and intention of our partnership with Serco, has not been done before. The contract has a range of incentives and penalties written into it which will provide certainty and goal setting for both parties.”

Mr Bole says the prison will still operate within the current Corrections framework and all prisoners will remain the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections.

“Serco will have to comply with all relevant New Zealand legislation and international obligations. A prison monitor will be employed by the Department and based at the prison to monitor its day-to-day management.

“Prisoners will also have the right to complain to the Office of the Ombudsmen and Corrections’ Chief Executive.”

Mr Bole says that the Department is working closely with affected staff at the site to ensure as many of them remain in employment as possible – either with Serco, the Department or elsewhere.

“Mt Eden/ACRP staff will have the first opportunity to seek employment with Serco.”

The contract is expected to be signed by 31 January 2011 and following a phased hand-over, Serco will take full responsibility for the site by 1 August 2011.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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