New Zealand’s private prisons: Profiting from incarceration

New Zealand is opening another privately run prison in Wiri, South Auckland next week set to house up to 960 inmates; a quarter of the country’s prison population.

The prison will be run and profited from by the publicly listed UK company Serco, which currently also manages the Mt Eden Corrections Facility. The prison will cost New Zealand taxpayers an estimated $1 billion over 25 years.

Serco’s track record raises questions about their ability to run a prison system. In 2013, Serco was investigated by the Serious Fraud Office in the UK after charging £68.5 million for tagging work that was never carried out. The result was a six month ban on British government contracts as well as having to repay the £68.5 million in full.