Private prison operator improves on dismal first year

By Kieran Campbell

A general view of inside the living quarters at the new Mt Eden Corrections Facility. Photo / NZPA
A general view of inside the living quarters at the new Mt Eden Corrections Facility. Photo / NZPA

Private prison operator Serco is managing to achieve its commitment to improve, after a dismal first year operating the Mt Eden Corrections Facility.

A report released today by the Department of Corrections shows the Auckland prison met 34 of its 37 performance targets in July and August, the first two months of a new reporting year.

It is an improvement from a scathing report earlier this year, which showed Serco had failed nearly half of its targets in its first nine months in charge of the prison.

"We are pleased that these results show ongoing improvements in our performance,'' Serco managing director Paul Mahoney said.

"Our challenge now is to maintain a high standard of compliance, and we will continue to work hard to do that.''

In its first year in business, Serco racked up $300,000 in fines, including for an escaped inmate.

The critical report for Serco's first year also found it had wrongfully released and detained inmates, and had not kept serious assaults under control.

Mr Mahoney said the positive report from July and August showed "the plan we implemented earlier this year is working well''.

The Mt Eden Corrections Facility is New Zealand's only prison to be managed by a private company.

"The contract we have with [Serco] sets high standards and it's pleasing to see Serco starting this year well,'' Corrections deputy chief executive Christine Stevenson said.

- APNZ

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