Greens say close private prisons and protect public jobs

Close private prisons and protect public jobs

Media Release – 27 July 2011

A reduction in prisoner numbers and a Government wanting to cut costs is ringing warning bells in Cessnock.

The previous Labor Government tried to privatise the prison but backed down in the face of community outrage. However they pushed ahead with the privatisation of Parklea Prison.

‘Any reduction ‘beds’ must come from the private sector, not from public prisons.’ said Cessnock Greens Councillor James Ryan. ‘The operation of prisons is a public service which is and always has been inherently unsuitable for contracting out to the private sector. It would be a totally unacceptable for the NSW Government to reduce numbers of public Prison Officers because they are locked in to long term contracts with the private sector.’

Reduced prisoner numbers have been welcomed by the Greens NSW MP and Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge however the first prisons to be closed must be the private prisons and the government must protect the public sector jobs in the industry.

“The first priority with any prison closures must be to close privately run prisons and protect public jobs in the industry,” Mr Shoebridge.

“It is good news that a decrease in prisoner numbers means that gaols can be closed in NSW. However there is a concern that the government will use this as an excuse to close public prisons and continue the privatisation of the industry.

“In regards to standards of prisoner care, community safety and public jobs, the Greens believe that the first prisons closed should be privately run facilities.

“The last government saw the expansion of private prisons in NSW. This is a chance to turn that around,” Mr Shoebridge said.


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