Friday, April 16, 2010

PPP's bad for maori

I'm dead against these private/public partnerships (privatisaton) of prisons. They will be bad for maori and the rest of the country.
 These private prisons cost more than public prisons.

A very good post by Marty G at The Standard
"With echoes of the mining debate, the Government’s apologists on private prisons say ’sure, in principle we shouldn’t do this, punishing criminals is the job of the state, but we’ve got to balance that against all the money we will save… money!!’ and we know that money trumps all for these people.
But do Public Private Partnerships (privatisation in rather tawdry drag) really save money?
The experience here and abroad says no."
They also deliver worse outcomes for society and the prisoners.

A great comment from Eddie C at Kiwipolico
"Been tried, failed (massively overrepresented in prisoner abuse, suicide, and illness rates), and discarded in Ontario. Obviously has also been tried and failed elsewhere, but the Ontario situation is one I’ve actually had occasion to research. And the company responsible was, I believe, GeoCorp, which is one of the frontrunners for any private prisons work here. Geocorp also has a record of trying to influence the development of criminal justice policy to send more people to jail, for longer, in the jurisdictions in which it operates. We really don’t want that sort of crap in NZ.
Funnily enough, they have their own prison town of a sort – Kingston. Lovely city of 100k right on Lake Ontario, beautiful campus of Queens university, the Royal Military College…. and 3 or 4 prisons. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the town (that aren’t students) is employed by either the federal or provincial government."
They will be bad for maori for a number of reasons.

Many maori will be recipients of their so called service. 50% of male prisoners in this country are maori and 60% of women prisoners are maori. So many of our people being wasted, locked up and discarded by society. Private companies have one objective and that is profit. That means cutting costs. And it also means increasing revenue. They are diametrically opposed to what prison should be about - which is to rehabilitate people, to help people find meaningful connection back to society. Yes there is punishment, being in prison is punishment. It is worthless to keep focusing only on the results rather than the causes.

The true reason many maori don't fit into this society and are over represented in prisons is never actually addressed. And the reason is colonisation and the effects of that. When you add in captialism, racial profiling and just plain racism, and the breakdown of community then the mix that causes behaviours that end up in jail begin to be understood.

We are also seeing some of the ways that work to remedy this. Te ao maori has given hope to many prisoners. It has awakened within, pride and understanding, and awareness and that all leads to positive contributions to society. These activities build communities. It is the remedy to the plight of colonisation, and it is the way to bring our people home. Both building knowledge and understanding and building community.

But we have a danger here because these private prison companies don't care about maori - they care about profit. If it makes more profit; it is good. if it reduces profit; it is bad. It is obvious that these companies will use maori for their own profit objectives. There will be all sorts of enticements that will seem good but unfortunately they will be poisoned apples.

Go here to read about the murky dealings in this area between iwi leaders and these private prison companies - it is already happening.

We do have a very real problem that must be faced but bringing private companies into the prisons is not the way to fix it.

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