An “appalled” prisons commissioner is sending in an elite team to take over the privately-run Parklea Correctional Centre if necessary in the wake of the Youtube security scandal. Commissioner Peter Severin said this was the first time this action had been taken at any jail in NSW. A governor from the public section will lead the team and have the power to veto decisions. He said that when he met with bosses of the GEO Group, which runs the jail, this morning they were very apologetic.
“This is a very serious matter,” Commissioner Severin said. “I have just met with GEO and told them I am sending in a public sector governor to lead a review of the centre.
WEEKLY prison fight clubs and self-filmed vision of a prisoner showing off a knife and ice were proof private-run prisons were ‘breeding crime,’ a union claimed today.
Private prison operators have a history of security problems around the world including in New Zealand where prisoners held weekly fight clubs.
Serco, which is part of the consortium which has won the bid to run the new prison to be built outside Grafton, lost its contract to run a Mt Eden jail in Auckland after footage emerged of the gang-run clubs which encouraged some people to fight to the death.
As well as the weekend’s debacle where a maximum security inmate at Parklea Correctional Centre filmed himself with drugs and weapons on a mobile phone inside his cell, it shows that private companies should not be running the state’s jails, Public Service Association general secretary Stewart Little said today.
“The only way we find out about these issues is by inmates filming themselves – what sort of system is that?” Mr Little said. “There is no transparency or accountability in private prisons.
“No private company should be profiting from crime. “These poorly managed, under resourced prisons are just incubators for worse problems that are later unleashed back into society.
“Society can’t afford to privatise prisons.”
He said that successful correctional facilities in Nowra, Cessnock, Kempsey and Wellington proved that if governments invested the money, they will get results.
Serco is one of the companies behind the Northern Pathways Consortium, which has been chosen by the Berejikilan Government to run a new privately operated Grafton prison.
Serco tried to block the release of the official report into the Mt Eden fiasco but was overruled by the New Zealand High Court.
It led to the government taking control of Mt Eden again.
Sydney’s Parklea jail is run by another private operator, GEO Group, which has still not commented.
The company is so secretive it will not reveal who its media spokesperson is but said they would “call back”.
The Daily Telegraph online is still waiting.
“We’re falling behind New Zealand here,” Mr Little said.
The GEO Group Australia as manager of Parklea Correctional Centre takes any security breach extremely seriously
We welcome the support of the Commissioner and Corrective Services NSW as we review our operations to ensure that the centre operates safely and securely.