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Unions call for public control over private prisons

Unions are calling for public control over private prisons after outsourcing giant G4S is permanently stripped of its contract to run the troubled HMP Birmingham. “For the Prison Officers’ Association, the return of Birmingham to the public sector was welcome. ‘We have campaigned tirelessly since it was wrongly privatised in 2011 to have it returned to the state,’ POA chair Mark Fairhurst said. ‘The more recent events enabled us to pressurise the government into making what is undoubtedly the correct decision for staff, prisoners and the taxpayer.’ But Fairhurst said other private prisons must follow suit. ‘The obsession this Tory Government has to outsource and privatise public sector work must cease. It is obvious that when you put profits above safety you sow the seeds of disorder, mismanagement, cover ups and misery.’”

Source: The Big Issue

States Efforts To Outsource Prison Health Care Come Under Scrutiny

The cost cutting measures have raised concerns among state unions and prisoners’ rights groups. About 20 states, including Arizona, Illinois and Maryland, have shifted all or portions of their prison health care operations to private firms. Officials in these states maintain that the companies, which provide physical, dental, mental and pharmaceutical services, are less expensive than employing state workers — partially because using the companies saves benefits and pension costs.

Source: Kaiser Health News