Mt Eden prison operator Serco is accused of bribing inmates with double-size meals and LCD televisions in their cells, so they are less likely to cause trouble.
The Corrections Association, the main prison officer's union, says that in addition to larger meals, Serco serves dessert every night, which is unheard of in the State prison system.
Association president Beven Hanlon says these ''luxuries'' allow Serco, a private operator, to get by with a skeleton crew.
But he says guards are feeling vulnerable and are leaving on a daily basis.
In a statement, Serco says the LCD televisions are small and must be paid for by the inmates.
The company won't directly respond to the other claims, but says the quantities of food served and the number of officers employed are both appropriate.