What good are markets in punishment?

Armstrong, S.C. (2007) What good are markets in punishment? Prison Service Journal, 172, pp. 1-4.

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Publisher's URL: http://www.hmprisonservice.gov.uk/resourcecentre/prisonservicejournal/


There are two chronically unexamined assumptions about privatisation in punishment. First is the idea that it is a relatively new development. In fact, penal activity has always been (at least partly) private. Second, it is assumed that the state can create a market when and where it wants. This article aims to unpack such intuitions in order to expose neglected aspects of privatisation in punishment. I argue that the experiment with the kinds of privatisation that sceptics worry most about, private companies owning and running whole prisons, has amounted to a ripple rather than a tidal wave in the sea of penal activity. Attempts to increase the private sector's role have largely failed to produce efficient markets. These activities have been transformative, however, by instilling a market ethos among public servants and a professional identity as business managers rather than as agents of social control. A case study of an American jurisdiction that attempted to privatise all of its youth justice institutions provides the data for this analysis.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:prison privatization, privatisation, penal policy, UK, Scotland, Massachusetts
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Armstrong, Professor Sarah
Authors: Armstrong, S.C.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Research Group:Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research
Journal Name:Prison Service Journal
Publisher:HM Prison Service
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2007 HM Prison Service
First Published:First published in Prison Service Journal 172:(1-4)
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence

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