Monday, March 12, 2012
The New Boss
The arrival of a new Governor is always accompanied by rumours of change. As the last operational posting of the new man was to be in charge of closing a prison, the urge to attach particular significance to this unfortunate past is unstoppable in certain quarters.
The staff union, the POA, is foremost in attempting to read the Runes and have concluded that Sudbury has only one of three potential futures.
Firstly, to close it down. Quite why this would happen is a leap of imagination as the place seems to make a fair hash its job and is said to be at a good position in the national prison rankings (yes, such a thing exists). There is not an abundance of places in Open prisons and they are the cheapest part of the prison system to run. So why close Sudbury?
Secondly, to re-role Sudbury to being a Category C prison. That would involve massive expense, building a secure perimeter, secure compounds...the bill for putting bars on each window alone would turn the Treasury pale. So, massive investment to upgrade a fifty year old infrastructure. Why bother? Just build a new Cat-C nick, it would probably be cheaper.
And thirdly, and the option the POA suspects most, is to privatise Sudbury, flog it off to one of the big incarceral multinationals. The ones with dodgy records for human rights abuses abroad seem to be favoured.
Although there are no privately run Open prisons, this option makes the most sense. Being cheap to operate - low staff levels - and with workshop facilities and slave labour already in place, then the potential for a more business-orientated management to make a few quid seems obvious.
The only question is, why change at all? And why is the arrival of a new Governor invariably accompanied by a flurry of rumours?
Labels: HMP Sudbury