‘Future 2014, p.67). The country had in the

‘Future generations will look back on our era as a time
when one system … ended and another took its place’ (Bayley and Shearing 1996).
Critically discuss this claim about the criminal justice system with reference
to THEORIES and ONE OF THE DEBATES (privatisation, technology,
evidence-based policy or globalisation) discussed this term.



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The Conservative government of the United Kingdom has for
the last half decade continued to implement its privatisation of probationary
and penal services to manifest reforms in the justice system. They have been
dubbed the most significant and effective reforms in process of managing
criminals and tackling delinquency rates among the repeated offenders in the
society. This report seeks to identify whether privatisation of probationary
and penal services has changed in the past generations. Based on theories such
as historical narratives of criminal justice, the culture of control, the new
penology, local and global criminal justice, and the security and
pre-crime,further analysis is done on this debate.


Debate on Privatisation of Penal and Probationary Services
in the UK


Reforms attributed by Charles Grayling in the justice
system have, however, sparked different opinions regarding promise to deliver
efficiency and effectiveness. Some, like Grayling, opine that privatisation of
justice system services will increase competition in the delivery of
probationary and penal services in prisons leading to upscale of performance,
delivery, and efficiency. Others argue that public procurement rules of the
country present challenges that constraint how privatisation can be implemented.
It also presents other adverse effects that can dissuade the entire importance
or purpose of justice system,which is to rehabilitate and correct offenders,
into the goal of fulfilling vision and mandate of private companies as a result
of competition (Ludlow 2014, p.67).


The country had in the past completely relied on government
in operating and managing prisons through Her Majesty’s Prison Service and
National Probation Service. As a result of changes these reforms have brought
forward, future generations will look back to the current one as a people who
marked the end of one system for another to take its place (Bayley and Shearing
1996, p.585). Different criminology theories also support the notion that while
private companies might lead to effectiveness and efficiency in management and
administration, they may also risk shifting focus from intended goal of the
entire system and change how it works.


According to Ludlow (2014, p.72), sole management
partnerships would be done to achieve benefits from high competition, but
failing to look into offenses these contractswould have on certain Public
Procurement rules. For instance, Section 85 of the 1991 Criminal Justice Act
stipulates that any prison director not hired through government would not have
any power to conduct any hearings involved in the discipline docket or even
administer order for release of any prisoner from the facility. The section further
clarifies that only state employed directors could have powers to remove any
prisoners from association with other prisoners, order solitary confinement
punishments or special control of any restraint.


Given rules clearly stipulate that these responsibilities
belong to a controller, and s/he has to be employed by the state as contract
adjudicator and monitor. Effects of marketing strategies in a very competitive
corporate world have already started to transpire in these private companies.
For instance, in managerial contracts, they have gone ahead to change powers
and title of the Prison Controllers as stipulated in the Public Procurement
Rules (James et al. 1997, p.15). Further, the contracts had also incorporated
other departments of management and administration that had not been originally
included in agreements when privatisation experiments first began (Ludlow 2012,
p.509). It is evident that they will further engage other sectors like
financial management, establishment management, designing, and changing titles
and powers of the controller for purposes of marketing strategies to reduce


Theory of historical narratives of criminal justice
proposes that privatisation trend that has already been witnessed in Wales and
England has led to commodification of probationary and penal services. It,
therefore, leaves effect of consumer society easier to identify when whole
services are subcontracted to private companies. Classic examples can be
clearly demonstrated in prison escorts, security provision, electronic
monitoring, and private prisons. It mainly contributes to commodification, as
standards will have to be determined by companies contracted to maintain.
Marketing strategies will also have to be formulated to curb increasing
competition, and the management of the facilities will have to be made as lean
as possible to increase profitability of the private firm. While it will
improve efficiency of how the facilities are run, the corporate agenda will
soon overtake the purpose of rehabilitating prisoners and make criminal justice
system a consumer society (McLaughlin and Muncie 2000, p.170).


While explaining this theory, one should highlight another
criminal justice reform that took place in the UK in the 1970s. At the time,
the Labour Party had just won the general election, and their priority had been
to modernise the criminal justice system (McLaughlin and Muncie 2000, p.169).
The government of the day had believed that the then probationary and penal
services were soft on offenders and wanted to update the systemto make it more
efficient. It led to commencement of the Third Way Project which sought to try
out modernisation through assessing effects and nature of the reforms on
prisons before itwas implemented.


The project made recommendations that any reforms on the
criminal justice system ought to have impact on managerial, community-based,
and administrative or authoritarian elements in order to successfully implement
modernisation in the prison system. If the Grayling reforms fail to incorporate
these three elements the theory suggests could have a positive impact in the
short run, community-based values will be completely forgotten. The impact will
be introduction of commodification of probationary facilities and thus
converting the criminal justice system into a consumer society instead of its
intended purpose of being rehabilitation and correctional facility.


David Garland in The Culture of Control: Crime and Social
Order in Contemporary details the changes that have been witnessed in the
criminal justice and crime control department in the UK. The system is
responsible for rehabilitation, correction,and reintegration into society of
offenders, while the crime control is responsible for prevention of delinquency
and repeated offenses. Due to significant involvement of these two bodies in
the policy-making regarding the criminal justice system of the country, it was
greatly controlled by the political and social views of the policymakers and
leaders. Thus, the system has seen a tremendous level of transformation as a
result of shakeups in the organisation of the modern society starting from the
1970s (Simeunovi?-Pati? 2003, p.46).


Further, the theory proposes that since the 1970s, the
British society has undergone a chain of cultural and political adaptations
regarding morality and crime, which have greatly impacted on how the
policymakers in government, as well as the general public, react with regard to
it in the society. Crimes can only be controlled by clearly understanding the
rationalities and the logics of the wrongdoing, because it helps to bring out
the social impacts of the action, thus justifying it as a crime. Crime concept
control is related to the cultural relations and social sensibilities that the
society may have with a given act and,therefore, enables it to identify
effective ways of controlling the act, thus reducing the crime.


Society and the policymakers ought to fully understand the
social, political, and economic impacts of an action and what forces will be
affected to establish what a crime is and how best it can be controlled (Pozen
2003, p.257). Equally, it also formsan intersection between public policy,
criminology theories, and the culture of crime. In the face of the
ever-changing societal standards regarding the punishment of crimes and the
policies implemented to eradicate crime, the issues faced by the modern
community including class, gender, and race play an important role in the rate
of crime in any society (Simeunovi?-Pati? 2003, p.47). As a result, this aspect
of daily living and culture in the social space may compromise other people’s
security or welfare,hence influencing the occurrence and commission of crimes.
All this reliance on the society and how it functions, therefore, proves that
privatisation of penal and probationary service in the country will rob the
justice system of its core purpose which was greatly intertwined with society.


Since the privatisation process in many parts of the UK has
already commenced, it is very unlikely that the number of facilities under
contracted managerial roles will reduce. The first private prison in the UK was
Wolds which was set up in 1992, and about three decades later, the country
boasts of 11 private prisons that are fully managed by the same firms. Such
private companies are adequately responsible for about 10% of the criminal
offenders in the state (Nathan 2003, p.165). Most of such facilities are
situated in different places around England and Wales. While it sounds absurd
to have private prisons, the establishments that are already in existence in
Britain only go to show how the revolution of privatising the penal and
probationary services is a force to reckon with. There are also other
significant events that represent that the privatisation of the prison system
and mark it as a trend that will be taken up by the future generations although
started in this generation to highlight that it might be the end of one system
and the beginning of the next.


According to theory of New Penology, it is seen that in a
new approach, risks of individual sub-populations are mainly addressed and
clearly assessed as compared to the old penology that majorly focused on
correcting and punishing of individual criminals (Feeley and Simon 1992,
p.457). The threats are then eliminated through creations of bodies by private
entities such as rehabilitation centres. Such facilities have greatly enhanced
the change in the UK criminal justice system.


Modernisation and privatisation of prisons have already
started being commoditised to the point where standards have been put in place
to allow for testing of private prisons to identify if they are market-ready.
It has also promoted the construction of more facilities to meet a future
demand and signified by the awarding of contracts to certain established
facilities. Political shifts have also been marked by the change in position of
a major political party that had been opposed to the privatisation of these
facilities during its opposition term to the promotion of the proposal to
privatise the sector (Shefer and Liebling 2008, p.266). Therefore, regardless
of the fact that these actions may turn a blind eye to the Public Procurement
Rules and also the original purposes of establishing the penal and probationary
service, they are the future of the industry. It greatly indicates that this
policy may have set in place the justice system for the future generations,
which may have changed from being managed by the government until 1992 when the
first private facilities were established (Genders 2003, p.141). Therefore, it
marks the end of the government managed justice to the system of the future
which entails the privatised prison and probationary services.


The privatised prisons services are definitely the systems
of the future in the criminal justice system, because the managerial
efficiencies that the establishments have been reported to have are
outstanding. Relationships that the prisoners and the prison staff have also
been evidenced to be improved compared to that of state-run prisons in different
parts of the country. It thenresults in higher rates of prisoner psychological
and physical wellness, and it has been closely linked with the culture that has
been cultivated within these private facilities. However, there have also been
reports that discipline may not always be as serious as it is in state-run
prison, as personnel of the latterknows all the tucks and tricks offenders in
prison may have (Beyens and Snacken 1996, p.244). When reforms are not
made,jails may be very dangerous and risky to inmates in there or a chance to
hide all manner of illegal things, and it could be a great concern.


Another theory that discusses this debate is local and
global criminal justice. It entails key relationship between globalisation and
local aspects of criminal issues such as risks, surveillance, assessment,
policing, punishment, and restoration of human rights and justice (Drake,
Muncie and Westmarland 2010, p.218). In Britain, it has a contextual and wider
perspective,since criminals from other countries can be charged in courts
within the UK, if they are found to have committed wrongdoings in the state. It
has shown a great change in the privatisation of criminal systems, as more
private entities have been tasked to carry out such prosecutions.


Since the delinquency rates in the UK have been so high,the
true test of success in the prison and probationary system is ensuring that
delinquency among the former inmates remains at an all-time low. Private prison
and probationary services are able to guarantee low rates of delinquency rates
because of the levels of attention they put into certain processes. State-run
systems will often be very bureaucratic with little interests on the individual
(Lilly and Knepper 1992, p.177). The contribution of private prison services to
the delinquency rates shows that the probation programmes that these facilities
have been employing are effective for inmates who are about to leave the
facilities tobe reintegrated into society. Because so many people are being
sent to jail for crimes that could be punishable even through community
service, the prison facilities have experienced a doubling of the prison
population from the 1990s, leading to overcrowding that overwhelms the staff
(Jones and Newburn2002, p.99). Private facilities manage to curb this problem
way in advance to ensure they keep prison facilities more effective and
efficient for their use.


Security and pre-crime is another form of theory used to
assess whether the UK criminal system has had a change over the years. It
focuses on disrupting, punishing, and restrictingthose believed to pose a
future threat (Zedner 2004, p.185). Many private companies have been mandated
to give security and follow up the cases of pre-crimes in the UK. It,
therefore,shows that criminal systems of justice in the country have been
adequately privatised from public entities initially responsible for providing




Evidence-based research continues to prove that the
privateprisons are systems of the future because of their managerial
effectiveness and low rates of delinquency that they have identified. The move
towards privatisation of jails has come under attack by many citizens and
politicians, since it appears contradictory to transfer management of criminal
offenders to the private sector. Privatisation of these services also
contradictsthe Public Procurement Rules, thereby, stealing from society the
primary mandate of prisons and probationary facilities. The primary goal of a
jail is to rehabilitate inmates and ensure that they have transformed enough to
be reintegrated into society.


Criminological theories including historical narratives of
criminal justice, the new penology, global and local criminal justice, culture
of control, and security and pre-crime have been used in relevance to the
privatisation of probationary and penal services in the UK. Rehabilitation of
the inmate and successful reintegration into the society regardless of its
offense of the Public Procurement Rules has been achieved. In the same manner,
these prison systems are, therefore, more efficient in their management, and
they guarantee the effectiveness of the prison system by reducing delinquency
and reforming inmates.