GEO jail scandal: Junee under scrutiny

JUNEE jail has entered the spotlight after scandalous footage captured inside another GEO-operated prison surfaced on social media. 

Self-filmed vision of an inmate with a knife, ‘slasher’ razor and ice inside Parklea prison has prompted the Public Service Association (PSA) to demand an investigation into GEO’s other jail – Junee Correctional Centre. 

It comes amid increasing pressure to outlaw privately-run prisons in favour of publicly-operated prisons. 

PSA general secretary Stewart Little said private-led prisons are “breeding crime” and public entities must seize control of the facilities. 

He claims Parklea prison’s debacle has eliminated any credibility held by GEO. 

“The only way we find out about these issues is by inmates filming themselves - what sort of system is that?” Mr Little said.

“There is no transparency or accountability in private prisons.

“No private company should be profiting from crime.

“Society can’t afford to privatise prisons.”

The Daily Advertiser asked Corrective Services NSW whether the department would now monitor Junee Correctional Centre more closely, but did not have the question answered.

In a brief statement, Corrective Services said: 

“The step-in operator and review only applies to Parklea Correctional Centre.”

Meanwhile, the GEO Group did not respond to The Daily Advertiser

A former Junee Correctional Centre inmate, who did not want to be identified, said detainees were often forced to try smuggle phones and drugs into the facility by other prisoners. 

“During my time inside, there was a lot of that stuff,” he said. 

“I never witnessed any wrongdoing from the officers, but a lot of stuff got snuck past them.

“The boys are always going to get their hands on contraband, it doesn’t matter who runs the place.”

As part of the state government intervention, a public official will oversee operations at Parklea. 

Corrections Commissioner Peter Severin last week met with bosses of the GEO Group and said they were very apologetic.

“I have just met with GEO and told them I am sending in a public sector governor to lead a review of the centre,” he told Fairfax Media.

“The governor will lead a team that will oversee all major decisions made by GEO management.”

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