“Private sector operation of prisons provides the opportunity for better outcomes in prisoner management and rehabilitation, irrespective of recent issues at Mt Eden prison,” says NZ Council for Infrastructure Development chief executive Stephen Selwood.
“Serco and it’s consortium partners’ successful design, construction, financing and management of the new Auckland South Correction Facility at Wiri is an exemplar of the benefits that can flow through to Government departments and agencies,” he says.
“The Public Private Partnership is specifically structured to reduce recidivism and improve life opportunities for prisoners,” he says.
“The need to reduce recidivism is a critical imperative. Sixty per cent of our prison population are recidivist offenders – among the highest in the developed world.
“The Government has set a target of reducing re-offending across the justice system by twenty five per cent by 2017. The Secure Future Consortium is incentivised to reduce the re-imprisonment rate to fifteen per cent below other prisons.
“If we want to improve services then we need private operators working alongside and in partnership with Government agencies and departments.
“Providing opportunities for new ways of doing things should always be encouraged,” he adds.
“Accountability is also a critical element for any private and public sector operator but it is vital that the private sector is judged by the same criteria as a Government-owned entity, in this case the Department of Corrections,” says Selwood.
“Introducing collaborative partnerships where both public and private operators are incentivised to continually improve performance but held to account when things go wrong is the right way to deliver better outcomes for prisoners, their families and society as a whole and represents global best practice in prison management,” Selwood says.