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UNDER-FIRE outsourcing giant G4S should be stripped of its public contracts and barred from any further justice projects following its disastrous mismanagement of Birmingham prison, unions and politicians said today.
The beleaguered privateer lost another prison contract after HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) discovered “appalling” squalor in the jail and that violent prisoners were able to act with “near-impunity.”
G4S had its contract to run Britain’s first private prison, HMP Wolds in east Yorkshire, cancelled in 2012 after a damning HMIP report.
The government also had to take over youth prison Medway Secure Training Centre in 2016 following allegations that staff had assaulted children at the centre.
In May, the Home Office extended G4S’s contract to run Brook House and another immigration removal centre for two years, despite testimony to the High Court that “widespread, high-end abuse … by a significant number of people” was prevalent there.
Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said “the crisis at HMP Birmingham is just the latest privatisation failure in justice.” He called on the government to “exclude G4S from further justice contracts.”
Prison officers’ union POA general secretary Steve Gillan emphasised that the government’s decision to take over HMP Birmingham was “no reflection” on its staff, who have been “placed in an unacceptable position by failed government policies.”
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The colossal negligence at HMP Birmingham shows the disastrous impact that G4S and other private companies have on public services.
“The government suggests that the Ministry of Justice need to step in, give a helping hand and then return the contract to G4S. That’s simply ludicrous.
“If ordinary working people didn’t do the job they were hired to do, they’d be sacked. It’s time for G4S to be stripped of their public contracts.”
Ian Lawrence, general secretary of probation officers’ union Napo, said: “So, HMP Birmingham taken back into state control from G4S. Yes, the same G4S I saw sniffing round the trough at the probation sell-off recently.”
In a remark addressed to Prisons Minister Rory Stewart, Mr Lawrence added: “Probation has suffered enough failures already. We don’t need this bunch of privateers to add to them.”
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