Monday, 19 March 2012

How not to argue against prison privatisation

From Stuff we learn that
Prime Minister John Key has confirmed old regional prisons are set to close and be replaced with a new privately-built prison at Wiri, in South Auckland.
I have written on prison privatisation before, see for example here, and have pointed out the good and bad points of prison privatisation.

I just wish Charles Chauvel had read my posts. If he has he would have have argued as follows,
Labour's justice spokesman Charles Chauvel said Wiri was expected to cost the taxpayer about $1 billion over 25 years but its "indirect" costs were becoming clear and were "disturbing".

"National seems to have made a decision that, rather than refurbish many regional state-owned institutions, it will simply close them. Prison closures will be a big blow to regional economies. Job losses will be significant."
Indirect costs? And how are these "costs" disturbing?

The overall number of jobs in the economy will not be much affected by the privatisation plan. There will be fewer jobs in some sectors of the economy and regions of New Zealand, but there will be more jobs in other sectors and other regions. Also seeing prisons as some sort of regional development plan seems weird, it makes imprisoning people look like a good thing that should be encouraged!

The questions Chauvel should be asking are to do with what can be contracted upon. The issues with prison privatisation arise because of the incomplete nature of the contract the government will sign with the prison provider.

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