Whitehall can't scrutinise over £20 billion of outsourcing contracts

Two thirds of the £35 billion worth of government contracts held by private companies can't be scrutinised properly by Whitehall, reports The Guardian. The figures come from a National Audit Office report published today which surveyed government contracts worth more than £1 million. It found that only 31 per cent of contracts have a clause allowing the government to access data on profit margins. 

Call for most prisoners to be held in open conditions

Our director Richard Garside appeared on Going Underground, Russia Today's UK current affairs programme, talking about absconding prisoners, electronic monitoring and criminal justice privatisation.

Richard argued that the vast majority of prisoners did not need to be held in high security conditions and that open prisons should be the rule rather than the exception.

He also said that far fewer people abscond from prisons in England and Wales now than was the case a decade ago.

Electronic monitoring - dangerous if left to its own devices?

The March 2014 issue of Criminal Justice Matters is now available and contains a series of articles exploring the use of electronic monitoring (EM) in the UK and abroad.

Guest editor, Professor Mike Nellis, of the University of Strathclyde considers the role of the private sector in dispersing 'offender surveillance outside the boundaries of a recognisable criminal justice system'. Reflecting on the articles in this issue of cjm, Mike warns that;

Prison maintenance contracts up for grabs

The Financial Times reports that the Ministry of Justice will put prison maintenance contracts out to tender 'within days'.

The contracts, worth an estimated £100m per year, will cover activities such as cleaning, waste management and grounds maintenance at 117 prisons across England and Wales. According to the paper the country will be divided into four contract areas, with any one bidder being allowed to win up to two of the areas.


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