Corporations constructing/managing prisons and immigration centres are funded through the PFI (Private Finance Initiative). This way, the government don’t have to immediately fund construction, staffing, admin, and overseeing.
The PFI involves a private company providing funding for construction and/or managing, but are repaid by the government over time with interest, which is ultimately accumulated through tax. Such contracts typically last 25-30yrs.
Companies, such as G4S and Serco, can make up to 30% profit on these contracts. Julian Le Vay, former UK prison service finance director, estimated UK prison contracts may be worth $6+ billion over the next decade.
Why is this important?
Almost 20% of UK’s inmates are housed by 3 private companies: G4S, Serco, and Sodexo. Almost all of UK’s immigration centres are privately owned.
These are companies, profiting from the incarceration of people. This is a business.
As it is, the BAME population is over-represented within the UK prison system: 27% prisoners identified as ethnic minorities, compared with 13% of UK’s general population. Also, UK’s prison system is flawed with high recidivism rates (rate of going back to prison).
This highlights a lack of empathy and resources allocated towards the mental health, education and rejuvenation of people imprisoned.
This should be the focus.