Leaked documents reveal prison privatisation agenda

Thursday 13 Feb 2014

The WA Prison Officers’ Union is shocked by a document which recommends privatising more prison services and reducing the drug testing of prisoners to save the government money.

The document is a summary of budget savings drawn up by the Corrective Service Commissioner’s executive team for State Cabinet.

The document recommends the government consider outsourcing ‘a number’ of prisons, as well as the drug detection unit.

“In light of the apparently never ending string of problems with private contractor Serco, the government would have to be crazy to consider privatising more prison services,” said WAPOU Secretary John Welch.

“Privatisation has already proven to be a failure because private companies have to make a profit, and this means less money for services and maintenance as well as understaffing and poor training.”

Mr Welch was also concerned by the recommendation to reduce the number of drug tests for prisoners.

“The Corrective Services Minister has already been on the record as saying he plans to introduce drug tests for prison officers, and now we find out Corrective Servcies could decrease the tests for the prisoners they’re guarding to pay for it,” he said.

“The message I think that would send is that the Government trusts prisoners more than prison officers.

The document also proposes closing Pardelup as a Prison and returning it to being a work camp. It was only in 2010 that the current Government opened it as a Prison.

“How crazy would it be for the Government to waste literally tens of millions of dollars in opening a prison just to close it?” said Mr Welch.

“This could impact greatly on Mt Barker and the surrounding area and see specialist prison officers who work on the farm lose their jobs.”