Monday, March 07, 2005

Penal Dysfunction

The government of Tony Blair, who aparently rejects ideology, certainly embraces dogma with a passion. Despite the fundamental flaws of logic inherent in the business model, they are still determined to privatise the construction and administration of our prison system.

Some still fondly believe that the role of prison incarceration is to punish and to reform. Others believe that the funds required to achieve rehabilitation would be better spent on the more deserving and only the function of deterrent punishment should be aspired to, as it must surely reduce crime and recidivism.

Under the public model, either of these is at least possible.

A privately provided service requires other outcomes.

A private prison relies for its profitability on a steady stream of inmates, in as high a volume and concentration as is sustainable. Businesses rely on repeat custom, so recidivism is actually in the interests of the private penal industry. Privatisation will inevitably lead to the very minimum standards and conditions as inmates are merely warehoused. A bare minimum will be spent on any educative or rehabilitative facilities and staff. The fiduciary duty of the Directors to the Shareholders will guarantee this. The more tax money spent on a public system, the greater the quality of service and calibre of staff. The more tax money paid to private providers, the greater the share dividend.

The only way to ensure a different outcome would be to pay providers only for the inmates who do not reoffend upon their release.

red pepper on outsourcing public services.

1 comment:

James Bulkice said...

Love the way you write and how you work. What can we small people do to stop the oppression though? We need something drastic.