Mitie Shame – Campsfield Changes Hands

(from The Ox-Fly | 13.02.2011)

Campsfield “House”, the migration prison near Kidlington, is changing management. Mitie (pronounced “mighty” for pomposity) won the £27m contract and will have a 5 year term.

Mitie are an “outsourcing company”; anything from providing security guards at courts and nuclear weapons labs to cleaning the Scottish Parliament. This is the first time they’ve tried managing a detention centre. These companies specialise in taking over a service and then squeezing it for profit; finding more ways to exploit staff or cut corners.

An appropriate example: migrant cleaners are hired because their “illegal” status makes them vulnerable and easy to exploit, then handed over to the authorities when it suits management, eg if they attempt to organise. In one incident, Mitie bosses were seen “laughing their heads off” while distressed migrants were intimidated and insulted by police.

Mitie’s CEO was one of 35 who signed a high-profile letter to the Telegraph backing the cuts, in the interests of “a healthier and more stable economy”. What they really mean is in the interests of their profits; as Mitie’s annual report says: “The public sector faces … considerable pressure on expenditure … this will create significant opportunities for the outsourcing market”

None of this bodes well for the 200 or so people locked up in Campsfield. Mitie’s bid was selected because they offered the cheapest service, and though the details have yet to emerge, it seems likely that it will be the detainees who suffer the results.

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