WA prison officers support call to terminate privatised prison services

Tuesday 22 Mar 2011

Secretary of the WA Prison Officers Union (WAPOU) Mr John Welch will today speak about the devastating risks associated with the privatisation of prisons at a rally organised by Deaths in Custody Watch.

Mr Welch said that the Prison Officers Union strongly supports the Deaths in Custody Watch petition that will be presented to the WA Parliament at 12.30pm as part of the rally.

The petition demands that the WA Government terminates the contract of G4S. G4S is a private company responsible for prisoner transport in WA, and was held responsible for the death of Mr Ward in 2008.

The petition also demands that the WA Government return custodial transport to the public service – thus making it more accountable to the community and to parliament.

“It’s illogical to allow the private sector to continue to transport prisoners when private companies are responsible for the two biggest failures in prisoner transportation to date,” said Mr Welch.

“These failures include the death of Mr Ward on a long distance journey in 2008, and the escape of nine prisoners from holding cells at the Supreme Court in 2004.

“We’ve all seen the consequences of what happens when G4S fails to do the job properly, so I can only ask - is the private sector immune from criticism no matter how poorly the job is performed?

Mr Welch says the privatisation of any prison service poses a risk because experience around the globe shows that when prison services are privatised, then jobs are cut in order to maximise profits for the company and its shareholders.

“Our justice system should not be run by foreign multinational companies for profit,” said Mr Welch

“Prisons and prison services should always be held in public hands; they are the responsibility of the state,” said Mr Welch.

Prison Officers launched a campaign called ‘Respect the Risk’ in 2010 because West Australian prisons have reached breaking point.

For more information on Respect the Risk visit the campaign website http://www.respecttherisk.com.au

Media interviews: Natasha Webb 0410 729 594 or John Welch, 0400 220 667

Rally details:
Where: WA Parliament
Date: Tue 22 March
Time: 12.30 – 1.30pm