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News (59)

UK Probation services to be renationalised

The supervision of all offenders will be undertaken by the state in a major renationalisation of the probation sector. Only five years after introducing a widely derided programme of privatisation. Following years of damning criticism from MPs, inspectorates and former probation officers, the justice secretary, David Gauke, has decided to bring all offender management under the National Probation Service (NPS) by spring 2021. He said the private sector would still play a part in the provision of services, with £280m worth of contracts for rehabilitation services such as the provision of unpaid work and accredited programmes. But the core function of the service – supervising and managing about 250,000 offenders in the community – will once again be publicly provided.

Source: the Guardian

CUPE denounces the plans to build a new prison using a public-private partnership

CUPE Newfoundland (@CupeNL) denounces Dwight Ball, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, for planning to build a new prison using a ‘public-private partnership.’ “Naturally, Ernst & Young recommended using a public-private partnership. P3s= higher-cost private financing, ‘off book debts’ now that will mean less available funding in future years.”

Source: Twitter

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

G4S stripped of contract to run Birmingham prison

G4S is to be permanently stripped of its contract to run Birmingham prison after the government was forced to take control of the failing jail. The Ministry of Justice took the unprecedented step of seizing control of the prison last August, removing its governor and moving out hundreds of prisoners, hours before a severely critical report was published by the prisons inspectorate.

Source: the Guardian

Bill would prohibit Nevada from contracting with private, for-profit prisons

Legislation has been introduced in the Nevada Assembly to prohibit the state from contracting with private, for-profit prisons. American Civil Liberties Union attorney Nick Shepack told lawmakers “what we have seen in states that allow private prisons to operate within their borders, is a major lack of oversight. It becomes extremely difficult for legislative bodies to have oversight. It becomes difficult for government entities, and it becomes difficult for third party entities such as ourselves to find out what is actually going on in these facilities. For that reason, we believe private prisons should not be used in the State of Nevada.”

Source: Nevada Capital News

JPMorgan Chase Is Done With Private Prisons

In a major victory for opponents of the role of banks in propping up for-profit private prison and immigrant detention companies, JPMorgan Chase announces it will no longer provide financing to them.In the Public Interest, a national anti-privatization resource center based in Oakland, reports that over 100 organizations came together to push back against #BackersofHate.

Source: Forbes

‘Dangerous’ part-privatisation of probation services

The “dangerous” part-privatisation of probation services is costing taxpayers an extra £467m, The National Audit Office (NAO) reports. “Sir Amyas Morse, head of Whitehall’s spending watchdog, said the Ministry of Justice had ‘set itself up to fail’ as Chris Grayling ignored warnings over contracting out the supervision of criminals. ‘Its rushed roll-out created significant risks that it was unable to manage,’ he added. ‘These have had far-reaching consequences. Not only have these failings been extremely costly for taxpayers, but we have seen the number of people on short sentences recalled to prison skyrocket.’” Meg Hillier MP, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, “said the NPS had performed better but was being ‘hampered by a shortage of staff and intolerable workloads.’ Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: ‘The so-called rehabilitation revolution has actually just put more people back into prison with damaging consequences.’”

Source: The Independent

General secretary of Public Service Association: "the NSW juvenile justice system is in crisis"

Stewart Little, the general secretary of Public Service Association, says the NSW juvenile justice system is in crisis, with violence against staff spiking and inadequate care. “The relentless cuts and outsourcing of public services mean that opportunities for intervention with these kids are consistently missed David Tune's independent report on child protection, which the government kept secret for 18 months, revealed a system in failure. Of the $1.86 billion the state spent on vulnerable families, $960 million, half, is spent on outsourced, privately provided out-of-home care. It costs nearly double to put a kid in an NGO-run home rather than a Family and Community Services (FACS) -managed service. The erosion of funding for FACS means it is now a crisis-driven system. Case workers are operating in survival mode, unable to deliver long-term outcomes for anyone.”

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Private contractors paid millions to run UK detention centres

The British government has paid hundreds of millions of pounds to private contractors to run its detention facilities, but no one knows for certain just how profitable the industry is. “One of the 10 UK facilities is run by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, but the rest are contracted out to outsourcing firms G4S, Mitie, Serco and the US-owned GEO Group. (…) Commercial confidentiality agreements mean the Home Office and outsourcing companies are not obliged to publish detailed financial information about immigration detention centers in the UK. But figures released under freedom of information laws and published on the government’s Contracts Finder website show the value of some contracts when they were awarded. (…) The profitability of detention facilities has proved to be a contentious issue for the contractors. A Guardian investigation last year pointed to a 20.7% profit margin at the G4S-owned Brook House in 2016, while at Tinsley House the margin was 41.5%. (…) GEO Group, which operates Dungavel House, Scotland’s only detention center, may be making up to 30% profits on its contract, according to an analysis by Corporate Watch.”