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Minister Signals Tight Contracts For Privately-Run Prisons

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Judith Collins
Judith Collins

Wellington, March 29 NZPA - Privately-run prisons will face big fines for escapes and they will be expected to reduce recidivism rates and drug use, Corrections Minister Judith Collins said today.

The Government is going to put prison management out to tender and a bill is going through Parliament to allow that.

Ms Collins said that when Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP) was privately-run there was a $50,000 fine for every escape.

"That actually resulted in one escape in five years," she said on TV One's Q&A programme.

"That's a fantastic record given the fact that they were full for most of the time, that they had high security prisoners there, they had maximum security prisoners and yet they had one escape in five years."

Ms Collins said a fine of similar size would be put in contracts for privately-run prisons.

She said she also wanted to see recidivism rates come down and low drug use by prisoners.

"When the (ACRP) prison was privately-run there were 5.5 percent of prisoners there who tested positive for drug use," she said.

"At the same stage in the state prisons there were 20 percent showing drug use ... those are the sorts of things I want to see and I think that those can be incentivised."

Ms Collins said that at present the Government was looking at putting out to tender the new prison that was going to be built but it was keeping its options open in relation to other prisons.

"I would hope that we will end up with a good combination of mostly state-run prisons with a small number of privately-managed prisons," she said.

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