Don’t miss: The Queen just announced that private companies can lock people up, and nobody noticed | The Canary

160518 queen-prisons
The Tories are banging their privatisation/corruption drum again – this time with regard to prisons.

I mean, what can possibly go wrong?


The government has announced the “biggest shake-up of prisons since Victorian times”. But while the media focuses on ‘iPads for prisoners‘ and ‘weekend inmates‘, the real story is in the handing of new financial powers to prison governors, allowing them “unprecedented levels of control over all aspects of prison management”. The government is using the academies model to privatise our prisons through the back door – and the results will be just as disastrous for prisons as they have been for schools.

In the Queen’s speech on Wednesday, the government announced its new prison and courts reform bill. At the heart of the bill is the creation of several new “autonomous reform prisons” which, says the government:

“will give unprecedented freedoms to prison governors, including financial and legal freedoms, such as how the prison budget is spent and whether to opt-out of national contracts; and operational freedoms over education, the prison regime, family visits, and partnerships to provide prison work and rehabilitation services.”

If all of this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The reforms are based on the academies model, as David Cameron admitted in a speech he made about the reforms in February of this year:

“It’s exactly what we did in education — with academies, free schools and new freedoms for heads and teachers.”

They were even introduced by the same man, Michael Gove. As Education Secretary in 2010, Gove said: “We trust teachers and headteachers to run their schools.” Now, as Justice Secretary, he says: “By trusting governors to get on with the job, we can make sure prisons are places of education, work and purposeful activity.”

As with academies, the introduction of reform prisons will be rolled out gradually. Six prisons will be turned into reform prisons by the end of this year. More prisons will follow later this parliament, and the government’s nine new super-prisons will also “be established with similar freedoms”.

And, as with academies, the prison reforms will open up commercial opportunities for those in charge of them. Prison governors will have “unprecedented operational and financial autonomy”, says David Cameron. They will be given “total discretion over how to spend” their budgets. They will be able to “opt-out of national contracts and choose their own suppliers”. And, just to be clear, “we’ll ensure there is a strong role for businesses and charities in the operation of these Reform Prisons”.

We know what happened when academies were handed power over their own budgets and contracts. They used that power to pay themselves millions in taxpayers’ money – both on their own salaries, and on contracting out services to companies they or their families own. And now the government seems to have gone to some effort to replicate that experience in reform prisons, by establishing them “as independent legal entities with the power to enter into contracts; generate and retain income; and establish their own boards with external expertise”.

Source: The Queen just announced that private companies can lock people up, and nobody noticed | The Canary


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13 thoughts on “Don’t miss: The Queen just announced that private companies can lock people up, and nobody noticed | The Canary

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      She takes no sides. She reads the speech written for her by the government of the day – whichever party forms it.

  1. shawn

    Allowing the governors and head teachers to get on with running the school is the very opposite to what’s occurred in our education system. From what I’m told the actual teaching side of running a school has taken second place to having to do all the logistic and administrative tasks that used to be undertaken by the respective local authority. Authorities that had qualified buyers, accountants, solicitors and huge purchasing power; something, an individual school has to hope its governors possess, and are willing to provide gratis, and as for purchasing power and economies of scale, there a distant dream.
    These schemes are not introduced by this government so that small bands of dedicated local people can battle against the inherent inefficiencies of this government’s system, but, rather, to enable large corporations to cherry pick the profit makers.

  2. Thomas

    Either they will be too harsh on prisoners, or will end up taking bribes to make things too easy for them.

  3. John

    This time these clowns may well come unstuck. They think they are living in the USA where prisoners’ rights are non-existent. There, privateer bosses run their prisons in such a way as to maximize the bottom line. Prisoner welfare does not exist.
    This lot – or any successor government (worryingly?) may find themselves being dragged through the UK and other courts’ systems and possibly having massive financial claims awarded against them.
    One way to derail this agenda is to vote “Out” on June 23rd.
    That will spark-off an unlimited civil war inside the Tory Party.
    Add to that the ongoing electoral fraud investigations and we could be looking at a new – Labour? – Government within a year.
    And the Tories will have only themselves to blame…….

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Voting ‘Leave’ (not ‘Out’) would do more harm to the general population than to the Conservative Party. Voting ‘Remain’ will still trigger a Tory civil war but leaves our human rights intact.

  4. Dez

    Trial it first with a few selective areas to see if it works rather than burn all our boats changing the complete system. This big bang stuff does my head in as it never works and we end up picking up their tab. Academic theory is usually far from what is actually happening on the ground and usually lacks basic common sense.

  5. casalealex

    The Queen’s ‘Gracious’ Speech has nothing at all to do with the Queen. The ‘speech’ is in fact a diktat by Dodgy Dave the government’s ventriloquist!

  6. mrmarcpc

    The monarchy are just government puppets and to distract the herd with her fancy jewellery with what they really mean and going to do!

Comments are closed.