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Computers in cells at new Grafton Prison
Grafton Prison currently houses 64 inmates. The NSW Government has announced developments will ensue in order to provide a maximum capacity of 1700 inmates by 2020. These developments will be the product of a partnership between the Government and a private enterprise (a Consortium consisting of Serco, Macquarie Capital, John Liang and John Holland).
Serco is an international service that works with government and public service providers in seven key sectors: Citizen Services, Defence, Facility Services, Health, Immigration, Justice and Transport. This company delivers services to the UK, Europe, North America, the Middle East, New Zealand and Australia. In 2017, Serco (as part of the Northern Pathways Consortium) was awarded the contract for the operation of the New Grafton Correctional Centre.
Serco claims to deliver a responsible prisoner model that promotes respect, encourages positive behaviours and allows prisoners to learn and take responsibility for managing their own circumstances. They directly manage prison accommodation, prisoner mental health services, prisoner transport, and rehabilitation programs. They also aim to reduce recidivism to improve social outcomes and reduce the burden on law enforcement.
Despite these claims, Serco’s track record for international prison management has been met with severe criticism. Serco’s deviation from its doctrine of prisoner autonomy and rehabilitation in these instances not only questions the reliability of Serco’s management of the New Grafton Correctional Centre, but also the broader consequences of prison privatisation.