DOI link for Privatising corrections
Privatising corrections book
Why have private prisons failed to live up to the promises of neoliberalism? Is there a better approach to incarceration? In an attempt to answer these questions, this chapter considers the effect of a neoliberal governance program on Kilmarnock prison in Scotland. We show how a poorly designed contract and its performance measures can work to occlude the realities of prison life, particularly when these ignore the significance of prison staff, both in terms of staff-to-prisoner ratios, but also their safety, wellbeing and ongoing professional development. We find that a prison system, consisting of for-profit actors incentivised solely by performance metrics, is inherently inflexible and unable to respond to the challenges of modern incarceration. Lastly, we provide some suggestions as to the construction of future contracts so that the state (and, by association, the public) is afforded latitude to enforce high-quality outcomes. However, when deciding on the future of correctional services, in the long term, we suggest greater attention be paid to the Nordic justice model.