Prison Privitisation Factsheet

Larkhall’s poor record has obviously been noted by prison chiefs who have decided to involve the private sector in managing it. Eric Bostock, Chief Executive of Linford Securities arrives to start the process by interviewing staff for their own (or in Fenner’s case Karen Betts’s) jobs.

In real life all the existing private prisons in the UK have been built and are managed by the private sector. They are new institutions and are managed under contract. Many people have very strong views about ‘prisons for profit’. Private prisons have received both very good and very bad reports from the Prisons Inspectorate. On the positive side some private prisons have managed to shake off some of the worst traditions – many prisoners have said that they were treated with greater respect and offered excellent opportunities at private prisons. On the more negative side some private prisons have had major problems offering prisoners a decent regime and staff turnover can be very high.

Although attempts have been made to involve the private sector in failing Victorian prisons like Larkhall (or Brixton) they have been unsuccessful. Private companies have been cautious about inheriting difficult prisons. Although they are able to interview the staff at Larkhall, employment laws mean that existing staff have rights to their jobs and their pay and conditions and so both profit margins and opportunities to make major changes might be limited.

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