I see that National is looking to implement private prisons again.
Predictably, the left is up in arms, claiming yet again that a private company will do a worse job in order to keep profits up, because profits will come from “generating business” – i.e. making sure prisoners re-offend.
That’s a bit like saying that the local hardware store will sell you the wrong product so that you’ll have to come back and buy the correct one also.
The reality is the same in both instances – if the solution is not correct, then the next purchase will go elsewhere. In this case, to another prison provider or back to the public sector.
In reality, the Auckland Remand prison (our last and only private prison) was by all accounts well run, and better in almost all aspects including costs.
There is another reason for look forward to this however. I overheard some people discussing a recent prison fellowship conference. It seems that the corrections department was in complete and utter disarray, with up to a third of staff vacant or in acting positions. (or was it two thirds?) In such an environment, the department was paralysed, with everyone either without sufficient authority to make decisions or decisions waiting for managers to be appointment.
In other words, Corrections couldn’t manage a drinking session in the proverbial brewery, much less focus on keeping a collection of idle and malicious criminals safely behind bars.
The view was that private management would be a god-send, enabling the department to get it’s act sorted out due to not having to worry about the everyday running of each and every correctional facility.