Prison Privatization: Canada Mulls Contracting Services To Companies Lobbying For Correctional Work

Source: Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post Canada, July 13, 2013

Faced with lawsuits and bad publicity in their home country, U.S. private prison corporations are lobbying to enter Canada — and the Canadian government is considering allowing them, news reports indicate. According to federal government documents obtained by Bloomberg News, the Correctional Service of Canada “may consider” contracting out certain prison services, such as cleaning and food preparation…

The Guardian reports that among the companies lobbying Ottawa for a piece of the prison action is Geo Group, a Florida-based corporation whose lobbyist met with Toews last year. … A federal judge described the Geo Group prison as “a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts.”…

…The other prison company confirmed by The Guardian to be lobbying Ottawa is Management and Training Corporation (MTC), which has had its own share of controversies. Following the escape of two convicted murderers from a Kingman, Arizona MTC facility, the the state of Arizona found the facility’s alarms were not functioning properly, and the company hadn’t carried out maintenance on them in more than a year. MTC’s marketing director, Mike Murphy, confirmed to the Guardian the company is interested in Canada. …

…Canada’s experience with private prisons so far has been limited and underwhelming. The country’s only existing private prison — the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene, Ontario — had been set up by the province’s Conservative government in the 1990s, and was taken over by the province under the Liberals in 2006. A performance review of the facility found that public prisons of the same size had better security, health care and recidivism rates than the MTC facility. For its part, Geo Group built the Miramichi Youth Detention Facility in New Brunswick, but had its contract for the facility taken away in the 1990s after public protests against the incarceration of youth for profit. The company still has a maintenance contract for the prison….