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Date: Mon, 26 May 97 16:00:21 CDT
From: rich@pencil (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Prison Privatisation Report Int'l - May 97 /** justice.usa: 202.0 **/
** Topic: Prison Privatisation Report Int'l - May 97 (25K) **
** Written 6:29 AM May 25, 1997 by mphillips in cdp:justice.usa **
From: "Margaret B. Phillips" <mphillips@igc.apc.org>
/* Written 8:45 PM May 23, 1997 by owner-prisonact-list@igc.org in igc:justice.prison */
From: Prison Activist List <owner-prisonact-list@igc.org>
Original Date: Thu, 22 May 1997 15:59:10 -0700 (PDT)

Siege at women's prison

From Prison Privatisation Report International
22 May 1997

Eight prisoners armed with planks of wood threatened to riot during a siege at the CCA-run Metropolitan Women's Prison in Melbourne, Victoria on 28 April 1997. The siege followed an incident in which another prisoner was handcuffed for allegedly trying to assault a member of staff. The state's Special Emergency Services Group was called in to help negotiate a peaceful end to the confrontation. The company is holding an investigation into the siege and the prisoners' concerns which caused it.

ACT deliberates

The Australian Capital Territory's deliberations on setting up its own prison to avoid sending prisoners to New South Wales continues. A recently issued discussion document, Establishment of a Correctional Facility assesses the pros and cons of privatisation. While it states that "those who visit private facilities are likely to be impressed by their smooth and professional operation... more research is required to make meaningful comparisons between private and public sector institutions using objective performance measures."

The report adds that "unfortunately, such research is sometimes hampered by restrictions arising from commercial in confidence... and that... available evidence does not support the conclusion that the private sector provides correctional services at a significantly lower cost to the government than a reformed public sector."

ACT's attorney general has said that the decision about public or private involvement in any future facility should not be based on ideology or an unquestioning adherence to past practice.

Inquest into death at Mt. Gambier

A coroner's inquiry into the December 1995 death of prisoner Joe Susic at Group 4-run Mt. Gambier prison in South Australia opened in April. Mr Susic died of a heroin overdose. The early stages of the inquiry were concerned with how the prisoner had access to the drug.

Conference controversy

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) is holding a conference on prison privatisation in Melbourne in June. Billed as a correctional case study to explore the public policy implications of the move towards privatisation, the event has received what the AIC refers to as "the generous support" of Corrections Corporation of Australia and Group 4 Correction Services, both of which run prisons in Australia.

But Justice Action, a Sydney-based organisation, has criticised the AIC on the grounds that the "majority of participants represent either the private interests or the public agencies and institutions which engage their services.' It wants the AIC to dismiss the corporate sponsorship and to arrange a more balanced programme.

Justice Action +61 2 9281-5407, 5100, Fax: 9281-5303,

AIC conference details:
Conference Co-ordinators,
PO Box 139, Calwell, ACT2905,
Fax: + +62929002.
Email: conference@netinfo.com.au

Details: Kathleen Daly, Fax: + + 738755608. Email: k.daly@hum.gu.edu.au

QCORR's new Board

The Queensland Corrections Board, which is overseeing the transition of Queensland Corrections to a government-owned corporation, will be headed by Mr Jim Kennedy. He is a director of Commonwealth Bank, Quantas, MIM Holdings, Queensland Investment Corporation and Pacific Dunlop. In a 1988 review of Queensland's correction system, Mr Kennedy recommended that the state's prisons should be privately run. Other board members are: a financial analyst; a lawyer; a businesswoman; a managing partner of accountants/consultants KPMG; a Queensland Treasury assistant and a trade union official.