Privatizing food services in corrections costly and risky - January 14, 2014

A government decision to call for proposals to contract out services in Saskatchewan correctional facilities will lead to higher costs and reduced safety, according to SGEU.

“Costs escalate when private contractors take over government services, because businesses need to make a profit,” according to SGEU President Bob Bymoen.

“Privatizing food services in corrections also has the potential to put staff and inmates at risk, if workers from an outside company are not adequately trained and experienced in dealing with potentially violent situations that can and do occur in these settings,” he adds.

Government is inviting private companies to bid on providing food services to the four adult correctional centres, as well as three youth facilities: Paul Dojack Youth Centre, Kilburn Hall Youth Centre, and the Prince Albert Youth Residence.

Approximately 60 corrections staff will lose their jobs as a result of this privatization.

Government says the decision was made following a review which concluded that providing food services to those in custody is not a core Ministry function.  “How is feeding inmates not a core function of the Ministry of Corrections?  This type of logic suggests that government is going to extreme lengths to reduce public services and public service workers regardless of the consequences to those affected,” Bymoen says.

“The privatization of food services in corrections will be a net loss for the public, staff and inmates,” he adds.

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