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News (53)

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.”

Inside look at the “failure of privatization"

Steve Gillan, General Secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association (POA), provides an inside look at the “failure of privatization of our 10 railways, prisons and other public services in the ASLEF Journal. “The POA has consistently opposed budget cuts and the privatization of not just prisons but our utilities such as gas, water and electricity, along with our railways and NHS,” Gillan writes, “because successive governments have not cared about the consequences of cuts and have had an obsession with private enterprise over public services which, in real terms, is always a race to the bottom.”

Scrapping plans to build new private prisons

Labour Shadow Home Secretary Richard Burgon has set out his party’s position on tackling the prisons crisis, calling on the government to fund a five point plan, including scrapping plans to build new private prisons. “In the case of HMP Birmingham, the jail was taken out of the hands of its private operator, G4S, and returned to state control for at least six months as officials battle to reduce violence, drug use and disorder.”

The failures of privatization have become undisguisable

The failures of privatization “have long been evident. But in 2018, with the renationalization of Birmingham Prison and the East Coast Main Line, they have become undisguisable.” In March 2011, officials boasted that the privatization of the prison to G4S would “would deliver ‘innovation, efficiency and better value for money’ without ‘compromising standards.’ Seven years later, such lofty ambitions appear risible.” Nor are problems confined to Birmingham. “Britain's ‘inhumane’ prisons are crumbling, with a backlog of 80,000 repair jobs. (…) Latest figures show around a third of repairs are contracted out to private firm Amey. Almost all the rest were under Carillion and now handled by Government. Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon called it a ‘disaster’ of privatization. He said: ‘It's the disastrous effect of the Tory privatization obsession. The contract for maintenance works, worth hundreds of millions, failed to deliver savings promised.’”

Source: www.newstatesman.com

For-profit prisons are in the list of prohibited investments

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey applaud the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund for adding for-profit prisons to their list of prohibited investments. There has been a wave of pension actions against firms seeking to profit from Trump administration’s shameful immigration and mass incarceration policies.

Source: American Federation of Teachers