Cameron's reforms: Asset stripping and privatisation?

Monday, 22 February 2016

The Centre's Deputy Director, Will McMahon, and Senior Policy Associate, Rebecca Roberts, have warned that David Cameron's recent speech on prison reform signals a move towards the expansion and privatisation of criminal justice, rather than a serious attempt to address the problems in the system, or society more broadly.

Writing for openDemocracyUKthe authors draw attention to the selling off of assets and public land; deregulation; and the introduction of performance measurement to support the commodification process. They also raise concerns about the national roll-out of GPS tracking.

These themes tee up the system for an expansion of prisons and the wider criminal justice system in the context of the long economic recession that started back in 2008....The violence of austerity has led to a growth in social harms experienced by growing numbers of the population. Following the financial crash of 2008, rates of homicide, suicide and also violence against women are all following an upward trend. In other words there is going to be greater demand for services that mop up the results of growing inequality and social harm.

During a prolonged period of welfare retraction, criminal justice has become the only truly universal social service of last resort. Prisons are harmful places; they are sites of concentrated poverty and trauma and have become holding pens for some of the most vulnerable members of society, who are also the people who are the most vulnerable to capture.

Visit the openDemocracyUK  website to read the article in full.