HMPPS - Branch condemns Prison Privatisation

09 Aug 2018

Private re-launch at HMP Wellingborough and HMP Glen Parva sites

PCS is appalled at the recent announcement that the Government is resurrecting the privatisation of prisons. The announcement last week that the new prisons on the sites of the closed HMP Wellingborough and HMP/YOI Glen Parva jails will be run privately (with no chance for the public sector to bid to run them) is a slap in the face for our members who worked at those prisons and indeed across HMPPS.Adding insult to injury, this announcement was made without union consultation. PCS and our sister HMPPS unions had previously been informed that 'no decision had yet been made' on who would run or be able to bid run these new prisons.

It is beyond belief that after the collapse of Carillion, the Probation CRC fiasco and the electronic tagging scandal that the government want to open the door for further privatisation in our prisons and our justice system.  Further to this we have seen havoc at privately run HMP Oakwood when it opened, a huge riot at HMP Birmingham and an escape at HMP Peterborough.

Branch chair Dave Vickers commented: "At a time when the government are insisting on limiting civil service pay even after years of pay freezes and paltry pay deals it’s a betrayal of all PCS HMPPS members to suddenly announce that they re-launching prison privatisation and PFI which costs the public purse a huge amount over a great many years.  It’s clear where their priorities lie and they’re not with helping their own loyal staff."

Campaigning

PCS HMPPS Branch demands a moratorium on all further prison and justice privatisation until a full, independent inquiry has been conducted into the cost, viability and morality of such practices.  PCS HMPPS Branch have since our foundation campaigned for such a review and we will step up our efforts to campaign for this with MP's, justice campaign groups and the general public.  We welcome the parliamentary intervention of shadow justice Minister Richard Burgon. 

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka stated: "We welcome Richard Burgon putting pressure on the prisons minister and Labour’s commitment to end the policy of building private prisons and outsourcing publicly-run prisons to the private sector."

'Prisons revolution'

PCS cautiously welcomes government plans to trial scrapping custodial sentences of under 12 months for female offenders with a view to expanding this to all offenders. Such a move could ease chronic overcrowding in prisons and give staff a better chance of rehabilitating prisoners.However, these plans will only be successful with investment in staff and resources as well as full union consultation.  Any attempts to use this as an opportunity to cut staff and squeeze more savings from HMPPS will doom the plans to failure before they have even started. 

It is difficult to see how any pledge to cut the prison population can tally with the Government bringing more profit hungry private companies into our Prison Service.

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