Prison governors: new public managers?
Prison governors are a key occupational group within the criminal justice system. On behalf of society, governors enforce the state’s most severe penalty. It is governors who run the 137 penal establishments in England and Wales, holding in custody over 80,000 citizens, depriving them of their freedom and enforcing the rules and regulations that dictate prisoners’ daily lives. Governors exercise considerable personal power within their institutions. Prisoners can be physically restrained, segregated, transferred, conﬁned to their cells, strip searched, refused physical contact with their families and released temporarily, all on the instructions of the governor. Governors manage a 24-houra-day, 365-day-a-year organisation which provides various types of accommodation (for staff, prisoners and visitors), a shop, a catering service, a health service, a maintenance department, a sports centre, a college of further education, a library, industrial workshops and possibly a small farm or laundry (West 1997).