Different standards apply?

The sheer hypocrisy of the government ant its attitude towards public and private services came to my attention today with David Cameron’s intentions towards private prisons and what appears to happen with state run ones…


Owners of private prisons who fail to stop prisoners re-offending will be fined, under new plans to be announced by David Cameron.
Under the slogan ‘Tough But Intelligent’, the Prime Minister will signal a tougher approach to law and order by declaring “retribution is not a dirty word”.
The speech is being billed as an attempt by Mr Cameron to bury finally his “hug a hoodie” message which he first unveiled in 2009.
It will also alarm criminal justice reformers, who were delighted by the previously softer approach toward prisons policy by former Justice Secretary Ken Clarke.
Mr Cameron is expected to say that firms that run private prisons will only get their fee for running the jails if they help to cut reoffending.
Under a scheme that has been trialled in Doncaster prison, contractors such as G4S and Serco will only receive their full fee if reconviction rates fall with a year of release by five per cent.

It strikes me that Cameron is somehow making the behaviour of someone outside a system responsible for the fees collected by the companies running a system. Sure they can put the prisoners through a regime of rehabilitation, but what the ex-prisoners do once they are free surely isn’t the responsibility of the private prisons? After all, it’s certainly not the responsibility of those released from the state run prisons and I cannot for the life of me see them having their budgets cut if they stray above a 5% re-offending rate.

Personally if this was thrown at me (if I were to be running a private prison) I’d pull out of the scheme, certainly I’d run things as efficiently as possible, make a profit (naturally) budget for rehabilitation schemes and retraining/education for the inmates but I could not and would not take on the responsibilities of what they do after being released from my custody, particularly if my fees from the state depended on it.

What we have appears to be a case of one rule for them and another for the private system for doing the same job.

The rest is just window dressing and will probably fall apart under various human rights court claims…

12 comments for “Different standards apply?

  1. john in cheshire
    October 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Could someone tell me why I shouldn’t think that prisons shouldn’t be privatised? I think it’s one of the few necessary things that we should pay for in taxes. However, just because they are taxpayer funded, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be subjected to and measured against certain standards – such as not allowing inmates to commit suicide, or be bullied by other inmates, or be forcefully converted to islam, or for certain criminals to be given special rights.

  2. Dave_G
    October 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    The only thing that *isn’t* judged by performance is the politicians themselves. No word of THAT happening any time soon…..

    • Daedalus
      October 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      Errrmh, I think you will find we judge the politicians every 4 to 5 years under normal circumstances. Although without primary open selection processes in the first place it can be place men I would agree.


      • Dave_G
        October 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm

        Errrmh, I think you’ll find that it’s more a case of ‘different people (party), same sh1t’ no matter who you vote for.

  3. Mark in Mayenne
    October 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    How many ex-prisoners will be encouraged to re-offend as an act of revenge against the prison operator?

  4. October 22, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I wouldn’t worry too much about what Cameron says. I can remember when he said there would be a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

  5. October 22, 2012 at 7:22 am

    It’s a really interesting philosophical point about the privatization of utilities and prisons can loosely be included with these – essential services in other words. In Russia, I lived with the State providing these and they were cheap. On the other hand, when they broke down [often], there was almost no redress, i.e. there was a public service mentality to getting off the butt, filling in all the forms in triplicate and the engineer getting off his butt the following Thursday to fix them.

    Which was better, particularly in this country where it’s the catalyst for socialism and that’s why I think the government doesn’t want the crims at the head of the utilities companies to stop – they want people to cry out for the nationalization of services again.

  6. Nixon Scraypes
    October 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Clockwork Orange,anyone?

    • Tatty
      October 22, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      No, not even close.

  7. Tatty
    October 22, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    will only receive their full fee if reconviction rates fall with a year of release by five per cent.

    Therefore, a 95% failure rate is totally acceptable.

    Really. 😯

  8. October 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    “Yes, Dave.”
    “How much money have we got?”
    “Not a lot, Dave.”
    “I want to give some more away.”
    “What is it this time?”
    “Don’t get stroppy with me, George. Or you’ll regret it.”
    “Yes, you will. I’m going to make myself President. See. Hire and fire. And I can give away what I like.”
    “Oh. Right, Dave.”
    “That’ll be Mr. President from now on, George. Now, I want to get tough on crime.”
    “I’m sorry?”
    “Er…why, Mr. President?”
    “Because it will keep the media busy, of course. And my aide says it will get votes. Why else?”

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