The news that Birmingham Prison is to be contracted out to a private company has created a predictable response from the Prison Officers.
In a statement, Steve Gillan, general secretary of the POA, said: “This is a disgraceful decision. Prisons should not be run for the benefit of shareholders nor for profit.”
source: Ken Clarke privatises Birmingham Prison amid union fury.
As times are hard and the economy is in a dreadful mire, Mr Gillan may be looking at this situation from completely the wrong perspective. Surely by turning prisoners into a factor of production rather than keeping them as a costly social issue we have a chance at repairing the damage to the economy.
The benefits here could be enormous, increasing crime figures due to a lack of policemen on the streets could boost the profits for private companies. This could result in more jobs, obviously at the minimum wage though, and a dramatic growth in an underdeveloped sector. The resultant human injuries may test our National Health Service but that could be an opportunity for a private initiate by Insurance Companies and Private Health Care Providers. The damage and loss on the high street as a result of increasing crime figures could generate a lot of business for the small trader; glass fitters, plumbers, electricians, security camera installers etc..
All in all, if we look at crime as a profit driver rather than a cost centre then the value to the economy could be quite dramatic, certainly one would expect some individuals to make a fortune out of crime. However, on mature reflection these suggestions may seem like utter madness, a sort of lunacy developed from ill thought out or disingenuous precepts. Maybe such suggestions are worthy of nothing more than a comedy show.
I can imagine the eager young comedy writer propositioning the producers with his idea.
“We have a load of rich people, let’s call them bankers, and they make a lot of money but totally screw everything up for everyone else. Then in come the power mad ego maniacs, let’s call them politicians, and they tell everyone that whilst the bankers acted in a manner some would claim to be criminal, they are not bad chaps and we should pay for their frauds. Everyone sighs, but they accept that there should be a loss of a lot of jobs, fewer services and and yes, shareholders (bankers) should make profits out of criminality.”
You can hear the producers’ response, “Not plausible, no-one would believe it.”