8 May 2015

$300m private prison opens today

11:57 am on 8 May 2015

A new private high-security prison with 960 beds has been formally opened in South Auckland this morning.

Built and designed under a public-private partnership deal with the Government, the prison at Wiri is run by Serco, which also runs Mt Eden Prison.

An artist's impression of the interior of the prison.

An artist's impression of the interior of the prison. Photo: Fletcher Construction

With a total cost of $300 million, every standard cell in the new facility has a phone, allowing inmates to call pre-approved numbers, as well as TV screens that double as computers.

Presently, prisoners from the Auckland region are scattered across the country.

Serco said it was keenly aware of its responsibilities.

Its Asia-Pacific chief executive, Mark Irwin, said the Department of Corrections had set ambitious targets for the new prison.

He said Serco would better those targets where it could but it was aware of the challenges ahead of it.

One of the conditions in its contract is that it will outperform the Corrections Department in reducing re-offending, in line with the Department's overall goal of reducing reoffending by 25 percent by 2017.

Serco said the prison had state of the art security measures, being used for the first time in this country.

The first prisoners will start arriving in ten days. It is expected to be full by October.

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