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Private prisons in the UK

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Amber Sharif

on 28 October 2013

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Transcript of Private prisons in the UK

Private prisons in the UK
Lower rates of re-offending than public sector prisons
More cost-effective and better at managing offenders than public prisons
Outperforms comparable public sector prisons on both cost and quality, delivering better value for money for the taxpayer.
'Payment by results' - a new scheme which bases its funding on how many prisoners it keeps out of its cells
Encourages employment

HMP Oakwood
A 2003 National Audit report on PFI prisons found that despite some evidence of good performance by some PFI prisons, they performed less well in safety and security.
A high turnover of staff contributed to a lack of consistency and poor continuity of care for prisoners.
In 2004, it was found that UK private prison contractors reduced labour costs by slashing pay, extending hours, cutting holidays and downgrading pensions
2010 research by the Prison Reform Trust has found that inmates in private prisons spend significantly more time locked in cells than those in public sector prisons.
Seven out of 12 public prisons performed better than private jails at "public protection"
High drug usage and poor management of drug supply and demand
Too many prisoners feel unsafe and levels of violence, self-harm and victimisation are high
Prison staff are often inexperienced and fail to deal with poor behaviour in an attempt to avoid confrontation
Relatively high levels of assaults, and prisoners express concerns about personal safety due to the relative inexperience of private staff.
High staff turnover and tendency to cut corners
Seven out of ten comparable private prisons in England and Wales have lower than average rates of re-offending.
12 out of 12 private jails performed better than the public sector at "resource management and operational effectiveness"
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has opened a new work scheme at Norwich Prison operated by a private company, involves providing work for inmates to help give them job skills.
Some private prisons have proved to be innovative and effective, but others have been criticised by the Chief Inspector for their high staff turnover, tendency to cut corners and weaknesses in security.
In Conclusion, the private sector is a source of innovation in areas like reducing reoffending, encouraging employment and fostering an environment which promotes constructive staff-prisoner relationships.
However, it has many areas it needs to improve on such as safety and staff inexperience and with schemes such as the 'payment by results' it will do so.
Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright said: ‘Privately run prisons have been a key feature of the prison estate for 20 years and they will continue to play a crucial role in rehabilitating offenders.’
Privately managed prisons were introduced to the UK in the 1990s.
The UK currently has the most privatised prison system in Europe
The three private companies who manage UK prisons are G4S, Serco and Sodexo
Private prison companies represent themselves as both efficient and professional, but they are also highly profitable.
As Baroness Vivien Stern observed in 2006, privatisation was ‘mainly designed to reduce the unit cost of a prison place and introduce fear as an element in the management of prison staff.'

The UK's largest privately-run prison is failing to tackle drugs, which inmates say are now easier to obtain than soap.
One in seven prisoners said they had developed a drug problem while at the prison
The Howard League's chief executive, Frances Crook, said: "This private prison has been open for a year-and-a-half and it is getting worse, not better."
In July it was one of two private prisons to receive the Ministry of Justice's lowest rating.
Health provision "very poor" and "chaotic" management of medication
Violent attacks on prison officers and other prisoners were happening at a rate of more than one a day
Appointing a dedicated taskforce to address problem areas, such as the prevalence of drugs, while providing additional funding where necessary
HMP Addiewell
Scotland's showpiece private prison is more violent than any other jail of its size in the country
Addiewell staff suffered 49 "minor" attacks - almost one a week - in the 12 months to October 2010. There were also two serious assaults on officers.
278 "minor" prisoner-on-prisoner attacks at Addiewell
Hit by two major riots since it opened little more than two years ago at a cost of £130million.
John Lamont MSP said, "The level of violence in this prison is unacceptable. More must be done to ensure that better safety is provided so staff do not bear the brunt of it."
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