The deal between Corrections and private prison operator Serco over its chaotic management of Mount Eden prison is a fitting end to a shambolic episode, the Public Service Association says.
Corrections minister Judith Collins has announced Serco will pay $8 million to her department to cover the costs of its stepping in to manage the troubled Mount Eden Correctional Facility last July.
She’s also confirmed Corrections will continue to manage the prison until March next year, with Serco supplying personnel only and making no profit.
The PSA, New Zealand’s largest union in Corrections, is welcoming the news.
“Serco’s management of Mount Eden Correctional Facility was shambolic, costly and characterised by numerous breaches of its contract,” PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says.
“The safety of both inmates and staff was repeatedly put at risk.
“We notice the government’s yet to make a decision on how Mount Eden will be run in the long term, and we very much hope Ms Collins will treat this as a cautionary tale.”
The Chief Inspector of Corrections’ report into Serco’s management of the prison is still before the courts.
“We note that Corrections chief executive Ray Smith has left open the option of returning the Mount Eden to public control,” Ms Polaczuk says.
“Private prison operators put profit first – and that’s not how New Zealand prisons should be run.
“We call upon Ms Collins to put rehabilitation and safety first, and call a halt to any further privatisations.”