National’s work prison gulags


All jails to become ‘working prisons’ under National
More prisoners will be put to work and ex-prisoners will receive post-release drug addiction treatment if National is returned to government.

Corrections Spokesperson Anne Tolley says the working prisons model will be expanded from the current three to 16 prisons by 2017, meaning all public prisons in New Zealand will become full working prisons.

We love to be sadists in this country when it comes to tough on crime rhetoric. We have been so easily led by a mainstream media that has a myopic focus on the most brutal of crimes with a ‘if it bleeds it leads’ manta.

Reason left the debate regarding prison a long time ago, vast swaths of NZ won’t be happy till prisoners are in orange jump suits in chain gangs breaking rocks on the side of the road singing ‘old man river’.

The move to privatise prisons demands and requires the forced labour model to generate profits and that is why we are seeing the public prisons now moving towards forced prison labour.

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What the mainstream media haven’t told people is that National changed the parole laws so that if a prisoner doesn’t agree to work, they can’t get parole so prisoners will be forced into prison labour if they want to be eligible for parole.

How legitimate business will manage to compete with the cheapness of forced labour is anyones guess, but in a nation that has been so blinded by revenge by groups like the Sensible Sentencing Glee Club, we don’t care about prisoners even though what is generating this forced prison labour model are private prisons.

We are turning pour prisons into forced work camps. This is what happens when spite becomes social policy.


  1. National inadequately focusing on training and jobs after people are imprisoned, not before when employment is what they want to lead honest lives.

  2. Anyone who takes the time to investigate the U.S. privately run prison system knows it’s a hopelessly flawed system that’s wide open to corruption. “Dirty Prisons” may be the title of Nicky Hager’s next book if the Nats get back.

  3. What are the other options?
    Is it really so bad to prepare someone for life after prison, to give them a sense of purpose and self-respect?

    • How about looking after the kids so we don’t have a future generation where prison is an acceptable outcome?
      I’ve visited homes where some kids just don’t have a chance. No food, no clothes, no respect. How about voting to stop this shame we’ve inflicted on our country. Personal responsibility? I belive we are all responsible, personally.

    • @Newshound:

      Only if their victims have fully recovered from the acts of crime that were committed!

      These crims will get better care than many of their victims of these serious and violent crimes get from our ACC and WINZ, that’s for sure!

      Justice is justice, and this must be considered first.

      If the victim of the crime cannot work because they are so damaged by the crime – then why should the viscious crim be allowed to gather wages for themselves.

      Take a reality check.

      Prisoners should not be pandered to – they have time to serve for their acts of violence against our neighbours, our family members, our children!


          • You tell me. Are you advocating Stone Age eye-for-an-eye justice?

            I was responding to Mistery’s comment: “If the victim of the crime cannot work because they are so damaged by the crime – then why should the viscious crim be allowed to gather wages for themselves.”

            • Newshound,
              It’s not “quite simple” as you claim. Emotional cost is a very subjective matter as people are effected to different emotional degrees by violent crimes committed against them. I would suggest that they would also hold differing views about receiving the meagre wages from their perpetrators. Each cases would have to be individually assessed so a compromise agreement could be reached between the victim, perpetrator, and justice officials.
              I don’t think anyone knows how Stone Age justice was meted out, but I most certainly don’t wish to see a return to Babylonian or Old Testament Biblical law. One of the main reasons I’m opposed to Colin Craig’s binding referenda policy is that too many people would vote for the death penalty on a purely emotional level.

    • Have any of you thought about WHO makes a profit from this? This is essentially slavery. In the US, 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens are made in private prison workshops by people who make 25 cents per hour.

      Is this what John Key meant when he mentioned 150 000 new jobs on his brochure in my mailbox the other day?

  4. @ Newshound . Of course it isn’t . And that’s not what’s meant here and you fucking know it .
    Poverty fills prisons . Private Prison Companies know that .
    Therefore … etc .

    Are you a pro Nat troll @ Newshound ?

    • No. I’m not actually… and if you read the Herald today, you’ll find Labour and Green actually support this (or have very similar ideas).

      I know I’m on a pro-Left site and I enjoy the bulk of writing on here, but a little objectivity sometimes wouldn’t go astray.

      Not all Labour or Greens voters vehemently hate EVERYTHING National does. The two main parties are remarkably similar (read Pagani in the Herald today).

      The main concern about this proposal is surely that the wages would best come from the public, rather than private, purse, in order to protect the prisoners (workers) from exploitation and the ‘corporatisation’ of prisons as we have seen in the USA.

      Rehabilitation of this kind is surely better than sitting in a cell for 23 hours a day – and tax would be paid off wages.

      I get the ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ argument, but the reality is people are in jail now. If this proposal helps them not return to jail, and gives others in their community a different type of role model to aspire to, where’s the harm?

      I stand by my original comment: provide a better solution.

  5. Of all Nationals misleading and lying this one really pisses me off.

    Out there in talkbackland miserable Nat & ACT voters think prisoners are in a 5 star hotels spending “their” hard earned taxes sunbathing and brushing up on tennis lessons. So it makes sense to these meatheads to make the lazy criminal scum work to pay back their crimes.

    But the reality is far different and where they are not a security risk to themselves or others prisoners work, from maintaining the jail they are in, inside and out, to manufacturing items we see most everyday in construction or agriculture. And not only is it a privilege to work in jail, it is sought after.

    Most everything in jails is done by prisoners but of course the ill informed and ignorant would not know this and so if this is what National are suggesting then its already happening and National have invented a policy that already exists. And who would be surprised by that apart from avid Key fans.

    The problem is however if this is an expansion of the work already done then at some point you have slave labour taking over the place of normal businesses and jobs, which is wrong in every sense or at least it was when slavery was revoked in the 19th century in most thinking countries.

    Looking at this gem all I can think is that National are totally bereft of any ideas to take this country forward.

  6. Just your standard Nat Lauranorder card before an election. Ukshully surprised we hadn’t heard this yet.

    Just a pity it will demean so many people inside and outside of prisons to get some cheap headlines and maybe a few votes.

  7. When National subverted the recent Alcohol law review and sided with the booze makers and sellers they were effectively guaranteeing higher rates of serious violent crimes, including murder and making sure a very substantial proportion of the private prisons muster would always be there.

    Rape, sexual abuse, violent assaults, arson, vandalism and of course drunken driving causing injury or death are very often committed by people who have used or abused the drug booze …………. the jails are full of them.

    The jails are also full of people who have sold safer or ‘softer’ drugs than alcohol.

    If we had sensible health and evidence based laws regarding alcohol and other drugs we would be slashing our crime rates and prison population.

    We should be closing private prisons not opening them.

    Its just another example of how corrupt and dishonest national really are.

  8. With both Labour and the Greens also in support of this ‘reform’, I would say that the research and rationale behind it is sound.

    The application will be a different matter of course.

  9. I’m all for treating crims like the crims they are.

    But these forced work conditions means these crims will be earning wages (and paying tax?) during their legitmate incarceration.
    This will mean less jobs for the goodguy poor who aren’t crims?

    Will these crims be bound to their rightful place within the prison grounds or cells? Or will they be out in the community?

    Private prisons are wrong – especialy when a UK firm have been given the contract to run them, and our ACC pays for them to be built.

    Surely the drug addiction problems should be dealt with before they leave prison, and this should be a test for being set free, rather than have they worked.

    I also think that violent crime against other human beings is far more serious, than damage to money objects (like theft etc), and i think the accountants and lawyers and MPs who con and thieve the life-savings of hard working NZers should be made to work while imprisioned – just to pay back the ‘newly poor’ folk they ripped off.

    It is a hard situation – the working in prisons, because there are so many variables with the types of crime and the crims themselves.

    But I do believe the prisoners should not get their wages themselves, and that any wages should be handed over to their victims – as recompense.


  10. I think this latest policy is to make the Conservatives happy. National obviously believes the latest polls that show the Conservatives likely to win a few seats and probably Mr Bring Back the Death Penalty will be one of them. It is ill thought-out and an insult to the many thousands of people currently unemployed, or slogging their guts out on minimum wage crappy temp or part-time jobs trying to make a living and trying hard to land that elusive full-time job. If this is what the National party think of the honestly unemployed then they can go f…. themselves

  11. A serious question here, that may well elicit a farcical answer – Have National included prison jobs in their employment stats? Is there any way of finding out?

    • You could always ask them, but don’t expect a decent answer from a party that doesn’t even accept that there are some 83,000 more unemployed now than when they took office.

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