I thought I would post an old film I pitched and researched for More4 News before they went under. I never got a copy of it before I returned to Australia, but one of the featured interviewees posted it on YouTube, so I ripped it.

It shows that private prisons were, on the whole, poorer performers than state-run jails when KPIs were compared.

Apologies for the quality.

I carried out the research on this film – ie, the important bit ;) This was done with FOIs, or freedom of information requests, patience, and plenty of cross referencing to look for trends etc. The film also won headlines some UK broadsheets at the time.

Other stuff from my records:


My FOIs and stat-crunching showed that;

For the last quarter for which there was meaningful data, private prisons performed better than the average for all prisons in only 3 out of 17 categories.

They performed worse in ten out of 17, and the same in four out of 17 categories.

Of 15 prisons given a 4 for ‘exceptional’ performance, not one was a private prison (also under-represented)

Of 17 prisons that were given a 2 for ‘requiring development’, private prisons were over-represented, with two of their number featuring.


The returned FOI also show that public prisons and private prisons’ performance is measured against a set of requirements/categories, but public sector prisons are then cross-checked against an extra 12 categories – so are in fact more rigorously examined – and still performed better. This seems ridiculous – I’ve been told they plan to change this.

Woulda been nice to get a bit more credit…but am getting there these days.

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