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Competition for Prisons: Public or Private?


Competition for Prisons: Public or Private?

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    Available in PDF Format | Competition for Prisons: Public or Private?.pdf | English
    Julian Le Vay(Author)
A quarter of century has passed since Margaret Thatcher launched one of her most controversial reforms, privately- run prisons, and the role of the private sector in delivering public services continues to be one of the big political issues of our time. This book, by a critical professional insider, re-assesses the benefits and failures of competition, how public and private prisons compare, the impact of competition on the public sector's performance, and how well Government has managed this peculiar 'quasi-market'. Drawing on first person interviews with key players, including Chief Executives and prison managers in both sectors and Chief Inspectors, Julian le Vay uses his former role as Finance Director of the Prison Service to give a wholly new analysis of comparative costs and of the impact of constant changes in competition policy. He draws out lessons from the parallel stories of the SERCO/G4S billing scandal, privately run immigration detention and the more radical approach now being taken on outsourcing probation, and looks in detail at four prisons, publicly and privately run, that 'failed'.Concluding with a critique of the future shape of competition, he also draws some general conclusions on the way government works. This is vital reading for anyone interested in the role of competition in public services, implementation of public policy, or the state of our prisons.

"This is an intelligent, challenging, analysis demonstrating very clearly what has been lost - in terms of making prisons more effective and more humane, by the abandonment of competition. Much the best history of the period I've read." --Sir Martin Narey, First CEO of National Offender Management Service and adviser to the Secretary of State for Justice"A fascinating book relevant to all interested in politics. Its superb analysis of the development of private sector prisons provides an excellent case-study demonstrating the weaknesses of our political system." --Philip Wheatley CB, former Director-General of the National Offender Management Service and former Director-General of HM Prison Service

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Book details

  • PDF | 232 pages
  • Julian Le Vay(Author)
  • Policy Press (16 Dec. 2015)
  • English
  • 7
  • Society, Politics & Philosophy

Review Text

  • By Dr Robert Lyman on 25 December 2015

    This is very convincing and clearly-written analysis of more than two decades of attempts to introduce competition across the criminal justice 'market' in the UK. It is both a salutary, and depressing tale. Real competition - repeatedly stymied by the extremes of either political inertia or over-action (none of which seems ever to be predictable) - is now under threat by a Ministry of Justice which does not appear to understand what real competition is, nor how to achieve it. The results of the enormously ambitious Transforming Rehabilitation programme remain to be seen, but on the basis of decades of previous experience the omens would not appear to be good. The tax-payer, professionals and service users - indeed the whole country - deserve a more intelligent approach to the management of a mixed-economy of service provision than the series of broken experiments repeatedly foisted on us in recent times. It remains to be seen what, if any, real progress will be made, but Le Vay's book is a clarion call for some new thinking in the area of criminal justice competition policy.

  • By The Margrave on 7 February 2017

    A thorough and perceptive analysis, supported by extensive statistical evidence, of the successes and failures of private prisons in the UK by a former Finance Director of the Prisons Service.

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