The UK’s Dubious Prison Privatization Experience
England is facing a crisis of incarceration similar to, but on a much smaller scale than our own, driven by things like mandatory minimum sentences and 3-strikes laws, which has prompted lawmakers to seek ways to cut the prison population or at least make it more manageable. Unfortunately, they seem to be taking a page out of our manual in dealing with the crisis, focusing more on increasing capacity by outsourcing services to private companies than on smart and efficient legislative and policy initiatives designed to reduce the prison population.
The second is an article that uncovers an “eye-watering scandal;” namely, that the competitive bidding process currently underway to operate 5 facilities is rigged in favor of the private companies. Stipulations were introduced by the government late into the process that rendered bids from public entities non-competitive, and the private industry has basically been handed a cakewalk of a bidding process. It’s a clear handout to the industry, and as the assistant secretary general of the probation union said, “Prison Privatisation is no longer based on efficiency, it’s now ideological.”