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Corrections team gets 'frosty reception' from Serco staff

The Corrections Department may have rolled in to Mt Eden Prison for damage control, but ONE News understands the Corrections team has received a frosty reception from Serco staff members, particularly in the units where the YouTube fights took place.

Some Serco workers even asked if Corrections were hiring, a source told ONE News.

Many prisoners have the opportunity to come forward with complaints, particularly around medical attention.

There’s reportedly been an increase in Serco staff wearing on-body cameras.

Ray Smith says Corrections will spend time in Mt Eden prison to understand routines and check out discipline. Source: 1 NEWS

Meanwhile, Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith says the cancelling of Serco's contract can't be ruled out after fining the company this morning over failures at Mt Eden Prison.

The under-fire prison operator has been slapped with fines today totalling $565,000, though the money will come out of Serco's bonus rather than its funding.

Serco is entitled to $1.2 million in performance-related bonuses each year. This fine is almost half of what they could have expected.

Today's fines relate to performance over the past financial year and do not include recent reports of sexual assault and other incidents.

Serco has been criticised since ONE News revealed videos posted on social media of a prisoners' 'fight club', prompting a string of reports of other violent incidents in the facility.

Mr Smith says he has also issued Serco with a notice for failure to achieve the key performance indicator, Rate of Serious Assaults.

An independent review into activity at the prison is being carried out and Mr Smith has said when the review has been completed he will look into whether the company should face a final warning or even a termination of the contract.

The Department of Corrections takes over management of Mt Eden Prison from today, with a team of about 20 officers being sent in to help out.

Asked about cancelling Serco's contract, Mr Smith said: "You can never rule it out".