In England and Wales around 20% of prisons are run by the private sector, a world leader. Market testing is the process in which a prison is put out to tender, and an in house public sector bid for the contract competes with numerous private sector bids.
PCS represents over 4,000 members of staff working in a variety of jobs in prisons and in the prison service head quarters. PCS is very concerned about the private sector making significant profit from the running of prisons, whilst placing jobs and conditions of service at risk. We have ethical reservations about the competition process and the outcomes of a profit driven custodial service.
We are so concerned about the issue of private sector involvement that we are calling for an independent review of privatisation in the prison service. The scandal concerning Serco and G4S and their alleged corruption adds weight to our demand. This has not happened at any point previously and we believe that now is the right time to look again at the policy and how it is implemented. We have the support of the Howard League & Inquest and also the Green and Plaid Cymru political parties
We would like an independent review to take into account issues such as:
We have launched an online petition that we are asking people and organisations to sign. This petition calls for an independent review of prison privatisation, and we believe this review is in all our interests, whatever our starting point on prison privatisation may be.
The attached briefing provides greater clarity on the areas we are concerned about.