[holding answer 6 December 2006]: The efficacy of private finance initiative and public sector managed prisons was examined by the National Audit Office in their 2003 report, “The Operational Performance of PFI Prisons”.
The NAO report examined the performance of PFI prisons against their contractual requirements and against a range of comparable prisons run by the Prison Service. The NAO also considered the impact that the PFI has had on the Prison Service generally. At the time of the NAO report there were seven operational private prisons. The NAO reported that these seven prisons had brought benefits to the Prison Service.
In addition to opening privately run prisons, the Home Office has also introduced performance testing for public sector managed prisons seeking to improve performance in the public sector managed estate. There is evidence that performance testing of prisons has delivered significant improvements.
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has reported on significant improvements in performance following performance testing for HMP Dartmoor (2001) and HMP Bullingdon (2004).