Get private profit out of the justice system

18th June 2014

Ronnie Job

Swansea has claimed an unwanted first place - most overcrowded prison in England & Wales! The prison now holds more than 200 prisoners over its capacity.

This is an increasing problem across the country, with thousands more people in prisons than they were designed for and inmates locked up, 2 or 3 to a cell, for up to 23 hours a day.

There is a need for extra capacity in Wales, like in many other parts of the country, to prevent prisoners being housed remotely from their families and communities. 

At last month's Wales TUC, however unions that deal with people in the justice system, including POA, NAPO and PCS, made it clear that the quick fix proposed by the Con-Dems of building private prisons is unacceptable.

It seems that there is no area of society where the Con-Dem's don't see an opportunity for big business to make a profit and the justice system is no different.

Wales has had its share of scandals involving prisons. In 2012, Youth Fight For Jobs and other organisations protested when prisoners from HMP Prescoed were 'employed' for telesales of solar panels and insulation at Becoming Green. Although employed is the wrong term for the token wages - 40p an hour - Becoming Green paid them to replace sacked employees. Practises that would be condemned as slave labour and unfair competition elsewhere in the world are tolerated and encouraged if they serve the interests of British capitalism. 

Probation services are being broken up and sold off and the same companies that were found to have committed huge levels of fraud over the tagging of offenders, charging for work that wasn't done, will be free to bid to undercut one another in profiting from more public services. What an irony - ex-offenders being supervised by corporate ex-offenders!

There are all kinds of people in the justice system, including products of economic circumstances and the innocent victims of miscarriages of justice but big business and the Con-Dems see only one thing, commodities to be exploited for profit.

Swansea West Labour MP, Geraint Davies, has called for Justice Secretary, 'failing' Grayling to resign. We can all agree with that but we need a reversal of all the privatisation that has taken place in the justice system; somehow I don't think Labour will commit to that.
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