23 May 2013

Mt Eden prison operator criticised over UK jail

2:06 pm on 23 May 2013

A private prison operator in New Zealand is being criticised for the way it has run a prison overseas.

Serco operates Mount Eden Prison and will run a new jail in Wiri, south of Auckland, when it opens in 2015.

An inspector reported a high level of assaults between prisoners at the Serco-run Thameside jail in London, and said the facility, which opened in March last year, still hasn't worked out a way to fully deal with the problem.

The inspector described the prison's regime as very restricted, with some inmates spending up to 23 hours a day in a cell.

Serco says it accepts the criticism and is working on improvements.

It says a report on Mount Eden Prison showed improved performance last year, following the wrongful release of three prisoners since it took over in 2011.