Thursday, 5 March 2009

Take a stand against prison privatisation!

While the date to make submissions to the NSW Legislative Council inquiry into the proposed sell-off of state prisons has passed, the Stop the Cell-off campaign against the privatisation (administered by none other than John Robertson, once famous for his role in the campaign to stop the privatisation of state electricity, now a sell-out to all and sundry.) continues.

There is a good background article in the current Green Left Weekly, reproduced here.

The actual campaign - run by the Public Service Association and the prisoners' rights group Justice Action - replete with petition (which we have published here earlier) and plenty of background information, can be accessed here.

Evidently NSW Labor is, in fact, as corrupt as we thought they were. It is of almost no surprise to discover that today's Sydney Morning Herald carries this lovely news: Labor MP Paul McLeay - head of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee - has been receiving donations from none other than the company - GEO Group - running the only currently private prison in NSW - Junee prison.

In fact, he received donations at the same time that the company's contract was under review by the committee McLeay chaired! Hardly surprising, then, that the committee's report found - with some satisfaction - that it was cheaper (sorry, "good value for money") to house prisoners in private jails.

The profit motive is clearly a winner here. After all, who really wants to be treated like a human being when they're in prison, and be given all those crazy, whacky, perks like "edible food", "hope of rehabilitation", and "not being beaten half-to-death by the screws"?

If Queensland prisons are anything to go by, NSW prisons (and prisoners) are in for one hell of a ride, especially if - as is likely - GEO Groups (the second biggest operator of private prisons in the USA, with all the confidence that instils: think prison factories and squalor) gets Parklea and Cessnock jails in the privatisation process.

In the meantime, however, who could do more than trust the lovely NSW government. After all, it's not like their on the take from slimy developers, denying our right to due process in court, invading our homes, or run by an incompetent fool or anything.

No comments: