Serco’s refusal to tell the public how many guards it is employing at the new private Mt Eden prison is a disturbing sign of the secret way such prisons will operate in the future, says Labour’s Law and Order spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.
“The public is entitled to know that prisons --- whether private or public --- are being operated safely,” Clayton Cosgrove said.
“The Corrections Association says the number of guards at Mt Eden has dropped by more than 50 per cent under private management. If that’s the case, it is very likely that safety is being put at risk, one of the major concerns here and overseas with private prison operations.
“Serco denies this, but won’t say how many staff there are, citing security and commercial sensitivity,” Clayton Cosgrove said.
“It is rubbish and completely unacceptable to cite commercial sensitivity. The prison is being run with taxpayer money. Kiwis are entitled to be reassured that staff who are working in a taxpayer-funded institution are doing so safely.
“Clearly the Government doesn’t want this information to become public either, and is not helping media in their inquiries,” Clayton Cosgrove said.
“Private prison operators overseas have a history of operating in secrecy. There is absolutely no reason to believe that they would change their spots now that they are in business here.”