Britain: Privitisation of prisons

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Britain: Privitisation of prisons

Post by Isakenaz on Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:00 am

POA fights privatisation of Birmingham prison
Interview with POA assistant secretary, Joe Simpson
The Con-Dems have sold Birmingham prison to private security firm G4S. This is the first existing public sector prison to be contracted out.
The POA prison officers' union opposes privatisation and has warned that it will challenge the move.
Prison officers in prisons that are privatised could be forced out of the collective bargaining agreement with the government and face worse terms and conditions.
They could also suffer attacks on their pensions. According to the BBC, justice minister Ken Clarke told MPs that the "military are involved" in contingency plans should prison officers stage a strike.
The Socialist spoke to Joe Simpson, assistant secretary of the POA.

What's going on at the moment?

We are living at the moment with threats of injunctions against the union. It's been going on since the start of the week when we put out two circulars to our members reminding them of the policies of the union.

We immediately got a letter from the Ministry of Justice asking us to withdraw the circulars because they believed we were inducing prison officers to take industrial action which we weren't.

This resulted in another letter coming back saying that they were going to seek 'injunctive relief' against the POA, ie to get an injunction to stop us from doing anything.

If we try to do anything in the meantime they can just come in and seize the assets of the union. Phil Wheatley, who was director general of the prison service and is now on the board of directors of G4S, who've just won the bid for Birmingham, did say that if we ever went on strike he would 'own Cronin House', which is our HQ.

What are the policies of the union?

The policies of the union are that we would take industrial action up to and including strike action if a public prison went over to private. We are opposed to privatisation because we believe that the state has a fundamental obligation, that if it's going to sentence its citizens then it should also have the obligation of looking after them and rehabilitating them.

But what they're doing now is actually selling their obligation to the lowest bidder just to get out of that.

What will privatisation mean for members?

For members we are hitting a level of uncertainty here. This is unprecedented.

We've never ever had a prison go over to the private sector and now Birmingham has. The state of play now is that we are going to meet with the chief executive of the National Offending Management Service.

We've requested a meeting with the Prisons Minister, Crispin Blunt, who we are meeting on Monday 4 April 2011 at 5pm. And we're also going to be asking for a meeting with Brendan Barber of the TUC for support. We have received support from individual unions, RMT, PCS.

But the thing that disappointed us was that a Labour front bencher got up and actually supported everything that ken Clarke was saying, that was Sadiq Khan.

The opposition is in total agreement. This was a process that was started by a Labour government. They started this process in 2009.

Was it Labour who originally took away your right to strike?

Jack Straw brought back section 127. Actually it was 1994 when we lost our industrial rights through a Thatcherite government in which Ken Clarke was one of the more prominent MPs.

Then we signed up to the JIRPA [joint industrial relations procedural arrangement] which was a no-strike agreement because we thought we were getting a deal.

But then management started to veto what was a dispute, they were deciding what was a dispute and when we went to get agreement from court they agreed with the prison service so we withdrew from the arrangement.

When we withdrew Jack Straw tried to get another no-strike deal. When we refused he brought back 127 on the statute books. In fact the law that was brought in by Jack Straw is worse than what the Tories put in in 1994.

The only thing they could do in 2008 was to come out and start dismissing people which we believe they will try to do anyway. This is all about the union being bullied by an employer and by government.

How can readers of the Socialist support your members?

We will accept any support from anyone in our fight against this. We've got policies out there where we're asking our branches to organise meetings, which they will be doing over the next couple of days in the lunch hour.

We're even getting threatening letters about that from the employer, calling it industrial action! Having a meeting in our own time! We believe that government are trying to make law-abiding members of the public, ie the professional men and women who work in our prisons, slaves to the state. And to the private company now.
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Re: Britain: Privitisation of prisons

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:14 pm

Privatize prisons? Mad What is next privatize roads? Or the military? I thought the UK was doing better than the ultra Capitalist US but it seems I was wrong.
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Re: Britain: Privitisation of prisons

Post by GF on Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:23 pm

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Re: Britain: Privitisation of prisons

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:31 pm

Godfaesten wrote:
Haha that is the wet dream of every Anarcho Capitalist.
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Re: Britain: Privitisation of prisons

Post by Isakenaz on Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:12 pm

And today new figures released indicate that the average British family will be some £900 worse off this year than they were two years ago. They're forcasting an economic squeeze worse than in the last 90 years. And Camoron and his wife have today been in Harrogate to reassure people that the North will not be treated any worse than the South of Britain. Yeah, that would be a first.
(I'll provide more information and links as it becomes available)
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Re: Britain: Privitisation of prisons

Post by Isakenaz on Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:13 pm

Rebel Warrior 59 wrote: Privatize prisons? Mad What is next privatize roads? Or the military? I thought the UK was doing better than the ultra Capitalist US but it seems I was wrong.

Sadly where America leads, Britain quickly follows.
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Re: Britain: Privitisation of prisons

Post by AlbertCurtis on Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:12 am

We have these private prisons here in the US as well. Oddly I have heard they are BETTER than the state ran facilities, and have better food, clothing and schooling for the inmates from people that have sat in the places. Now given that the American prison is a rather unnice place, that is purposefully brutal and punitive, this does not say much, but better is better. Oddly it has been reported to me by these same people that there are less fights, rapes and such when they are better feed, better paid for work, and sleep better on better beds. I know its hard to understand but yeah, happier inmates are less violent. Very Happy

On the other hand what sort of society needs SO many people locked up that it can become a profitable business? The potential for abuse is there. Couple this with private police agencies and for profit courts and you have the fixings for legal villeinage making a come back.

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Re: Britain: Privitisation of prisons

Post by Isakenaz on Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:23 am

I always find difficulty getting my head around the idea of making a profit yielding business out of a non-profotable concern. It would seem the logical outcome of 'privatising' the prisons is in charging the inmates for their sentence time. Question
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Re: Britain: Privitisation of prisons

Post by AlbertCurtis on Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:26 am

Isakenaz wrote:I always find difficulty getting my head around the idea of making a profit yielding business out of a non-profotable concern. It would seem the logical outcome of 'privatising' the prisons is in charging the inmates for their sentence time. Question
They already do that. You have to pay 1/3 to 7/8ths of all money that you make or have come in for fines, housing, and such. This is already being done. Then they charge to keep you on 'community custody' an odd set up were you live under DOC rules in society at large.

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Re: Britain: Privitisation of prisons

Post by Isakenaz on Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:19 am

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/5/20110416/tuk-clarke-sentencing-plans-backed-by-pm-45dbed5.html

He is preparing to put forward a bill next month intended to reduce the number of criminals being imprisoned and curb reoffending.

His proposals include larger sentence discounts for early guilty pleas, limiting remands to prison and diverting the mentally ill to healthcare facilities rather than jail.

First they are privatising prisons, then they are reducing the numbers of inmates. But if the private sector bases its profitability on the numbers of 'clients' then surely reducing the numbers of 'clients' will reduce the profitability of private prisons? You couldn't make this stuff up. No
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