1 Aug 2015

Crowds protest outside Mt Eden Prison

8:06 pm on 1 August 2015

The organiser of a protest outside Mt Eden prison says the private prison operator Serco has no role in New Zealand's public service.

Protesters gathered this morning outside the prison.

Protesters gathered this morning outside the prison. Photo: RNZ / Sharon Brettkelly

About 60 people gathered at the 'No Profit in Prisons, No to Serco in Aotearoa' protest organised after complaints about fighting at the prison, contraband items and the death of an inmate.

Three investigations are underway and Serco's management of the prison is under review.

Protest organiser John Palethorpe said the problem was not just what had been happening at Mt Eden, but with Serco itself and its record overseas.

"Serco systemically failed to deal with public services appropriately, and that's something that needs to be addressed, we can't just say well just because it happened in Australia or the UK it won't happen here, because it has happened here, they have no role in our public services."

John Buttle, who was also at the protest, and is a lecturer in criminology from AUT agrees saying private companies like Serco should not be running prisons.

"I would like to see Serco gone, they've been proved to be fraudulent in their dealings with the government in the UK, again their human rights record in other places has been awful and here as you can see their human rights record is already beginning to crumble straight away."

Labour Party Corrections spokesman Kelvin Davis also attended the rally, to speak out for 'no profit in prisons'.

British organiser John Palethorpe said he wanted to highlight the fallacy of running an essential public service for profit.

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