Reports that Corrections management felt unable to censure Serco over fight clubs at Mt Eden Prison cast serious doubts over whether the Government can properly monitor privately run prisons, the Green Party said today.
Reports this morning suggest that Corrections sat on a report into fight clubs at Mt Eden prison for a whole year, as the National Commissioner Jeremy Lightfoot did not think that Serco would make any necessary changes. Corrections was also warned in 2014 that fight clubs were probably being run in Rimutaka and Ngawha Prisons, but it remains unclear if any action was taken.
“Corrections has shown again and again that it is not capable of properly overseeing Serco, and Serco are continuing to abuse that power,” said Green Party criminal justice spokesperson David Clendon.
“The Government claims that the corrections system is better with private operators, but when Serco breaks the law, they seem to be powerless to do anything about it.
“Minister Collins claims to be shocked, but it’s tragically no surprise that violence and abuse are more common in privately run prisons.
“This report confirms our worst fears about how Mt Eden was being managed and shows that the grim reality of the situation there was hidden from the public.
“Corrections’ ongoing failures show yet again that there is an urgent need for an Independent Prisons Inspectorate, which I have proposed in my Member’s Bill.
“Minister Collins seems more focused on building new prisons for the blow out in prisoner numbers under this Government than ensuring that current prisons are safely run for inmates and staff,” said Mr Clendon.