Chris Grayling has announced that the previous decision to privatise prisons in South Yorkshire is to reversed.

"The impact of the delay and the uncertainty this has created mean that for operational reasons we cannot postpone the outcome of the competition process any further. I have therefore decided that the competition for these prisons will cease and that all three prisons will be managed by HM Prison Service." He said in a written ministerial statement.

Responding to the Justice Secretary’s decision to reverse the privatisation of Hatfield, Moorland and Lindholme prisons, Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said:

This is a welcome U-turn by the government. Only two days ago, Serco admitted to MPs that it had been ‘ethically wrong’ to charge the taxpayer for tagging work it never did. Nobody wants companies that, by their own admission, have behaved unethically managing prisons, of all places.

Prison Bars by Andrew bardwell via Wikimedia Commons

Prison Bars by Andrew bardwell

The Justice Secretary shouldn’t stop at these three prisons in South Yorkshire. He should go further and continue to reverse the justice privatisation tide currently being witnessed across the country. Private firms are often much better at winning lucrative contracts than delivering the goods.

Something as important as taking away someone’s freedom should only be done by the state, answerable to voters, rather than by international private security firms, whose prime aim is to make a profit for their shareholders.

Running prisons for profit means these multinationals cash in on others’ misery, making more money out of increased levels of crime and a greater number of people being held in overcrowded cells.”

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