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Investigations

The detention business

ACIJ Associate lifts lid on Serco contract

Recently New Matilda publishes the contract between the Federal Government and the British multinational Serco, which runs all of Australia’s detention centres.

ACIJ Research Associate Antony Loewenstein and freelance journalist Paul Farrell obtained the contract under FOI.

New Matilda’s reading of the contract, worth $712 million dollars, raises disturbing questions about lack of independent scrutiny of detention centres, and poor or non-existent training for guards.

There have been six suicides in detention centres since September 2010. At the inquest earlier this year into the death of Josefa Rauluni, who jumped to his death head-first from a balcony at Villawood Detention Centre, psychiatrist Michael Diamond told the Glebe Coroner’s Court (opens an external site) that "those who were dealing with him lacked the training, expertise and ability to recognise what was playing out in front of them".

The contract shows that guards receive no initial trainingat all , and are only required to obtain a Certificate Level II in Security Operations, the minimum requirement for unarmed security guards, within six months of commencement.

Read the contract, find out why the audit and reporting requirements are so low, and how it is Serco can hire guards with no training to manage distressed and vulnerable people.