The Mount Eden Correctional Facility in New Zealand has come under fire after videos like the one above started surfacing on YouTube, featuring brutal violent fights between inmates (many in Black Power gangs) in what has been found to be an underground prison fight club. Similar to a plot twist out of Orange Is the New Black, the root of the problem stems from a private British company called Serco — which provides transport, traffic control, aviation, military weapons, prison and school services — that in 2011 signed a 10-year $300 million NZD ($196 million) contract to manage the prison. However, in the three years since Serco took over, Mount Eden’s inmate violence has skyrocketed, with more prison assaults on record than any other correctional facility in New Zealand.
Since the videos (which also display inmates partaking in drug and alcohol use) have surfaced, Serco has temporarily been prohibited from overseeing the prison pending an investigation, although their personnel remain. Scott McNairn, Serco’s Asia-Pacific director of operations, released a statement to Radio New Zealand News about the issue:
“We do not underestimate the challenge of operating this prison. We hold 976 of the country’s most difficult and challenging individuals. As an inner city remand prison, we manage tens of thousands of prisoner movements every year.
“Preventing violence, attempts to smuggle contraband and other criminal activity inside the prison walls is a daily reality. Our managers and staff work incredibly hard to manage these challenges. There is always more that we can do, and we are getting on with it,” said Mr. McNairn.
Pending the outcome of the investigation, Serco stands to pay some hefty fines, or even lose its contract with the prison.