Prisons have not improved or changed in 20 years.
Governments should not run anything and prisons are a good example. People worry that commercial imperatives would mean that private prisons would fail. Bollocks. Public run prisons aren't succeeding but private prisons governed by tight targeted contractual obligations would provide a better deal and more accountability for the community.
Here is Nationals policy
Mr Key said National would also allow the private sector to tender for the management of prisons on a case-by-case basis.
Auckland Central Remand Prison was privately run under the last National government, but Labour overturned this following the 1999 election,
Mr Key said National would be looking for a much better performance from the Corrections Department.
It couldn't get much worse
"The past decade has seen New Zealanders' confidence in Corrections seriously challenged," he said.
"There have been too many examples of poor management and of Corrections acting without the necessary regard for the safety of the public. This must change.
"There is also widespread public scepticism resulting from facilities such as under-floor heating and flat screen televisions now available to prisoners, especially in the new prisons.
"The National Party believes prisoners should be treated humanely, but that prison facilities should be in keeping with public expectations, reflecting the fact that prisoners are paying a debt to society."
yes no more holiday camps
National is also pledging to boost the number of prisoners learning industry-based skills and double those receiving intensive drug and alcohol treatment.
Mr Key said today re-offending rates were too high and inmates had to learn to change their behaviour.
"At present, 43 per cent of all prisoners, and 65 per cent of those under 20, re-offend within a year of release, and we must do more to change that," Mr Key said.There is a real challenge here - some you can do something with the others you just need to give them a pass out card because they will return.
"It's a waste of taxpayer money to let these people serve their time without challenging them to change their behaviour - only to release them and then throw them back into prison again when they re-offend."
Imprisonment should not just be a punishment but also give an opportunity for rehabilitation.
Yes but needs to be realistic.
"Prisoners work just 15 hours per week on average, and that has to change. It's not good for anyone to have these people sitting around all day doing nothing," Mr Key said.
Abso fucking lutely. They need to learn how to work, responsibility and discipline.
A National-led government would boost the number of prisoners learning industry-based skills through Corrections Inmate Employment by 1000 by 2011, at an estimated cost of $7 million.
That would increase the number of prisoners in skills-based work to 3500.
Good - better than leaving them in the units watching crap TV
Mr Key said National was also concerned at the lack of drug and alcohol treatment beds for prisoners.
National would double the number of prisoners who are able to receive such treatment to 1000 by 2011. This was estimated to cost $3.4 million.
Good - but it must be done in a co-ordinated way
National would also:
* Ensure prisoners who are able to work but refuse are not eligible for parole;
* Carry out a stock-take of support available to released prisoners, including substance abuse treatment, accommodation and employment;
* Talk to private enterprise about opportunities for meaningful work and training for prisoners;
* Investigate whether money earned from inmate labour could be directed into victim reparations, families, or a savings fund for their release;
* Re-visit the rules around eligibility for rehabilitation programmes;
* Review screening and treatment of prisoners with mental health problems;
* Expand prison literacy programmes.
Good sound policy. It wont suddenly change the world but it will help change a few lives.