Privately run prisons saving Queensland millions

PRIVATELY run prisons in Gatton and Wacol are saving Queenslanders millions - but an Auditor-General's report found they could be doing even more.

Gatton's Southern Queensland Correctional Centre and the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre in Wacol are the only privately run prisons in the state.

The Auditor-General's report into privately run prisons found they have saved the state $55 million over six years, and have a 19% lower cost than publicly run prisons.

"The private provision of public services in the state's prison system is realising significant cost savings while providing a level of service commensurate with publicly run prisons," the report said.

The number of privately run prisons in Queensland is capped at two private prisons - that hold 19% of the state's prisoners.

"If the state operated SQCC publicly, it would have cost $2.8 million more to operate per year."

The report found if Borallon prison was reopened as a private prison - which it was from 1990 until it closed in 2012 - it would save the government $1.6 million per year.

The report said privately run prisons could help combat the growing overcrowding of the prison system.

"With current policy settings limiting the number of privately run prisons to two and at a time where the system is experiencing significant overcrowding, it is even more important that the state avail itself of the opportunity to garner insights from its privately run prisons and apply these across the entire prison portfolio," it read.

The Auditor-General found the cost of medical care at privately-run prisons was lower than in public prisons - although SQCC and AGCC rely on Queensland Health for dental and mental health care. - APN NEWSDESK

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