Private Prisons and the Democratic Deficit
PRIVATE SECURITY, PUBLIC ORDER, Simon Chesterman, Angelina Fischer, eds., Oxford University Press, 2009
38 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2010 Last revised: 10 Jul 2013
Outsourcing is a common form of privatization in the United States - calling on the private sector to deliver what were once government-provided services. A key question, centrally confronted is whether certain functions should be regarded as ‘‘inherently governmental’’ and thus precluded from outsourcing. This chapter examines privatization in the US prison context with a view to mapping out an answer to that question. Is there something ‘inherently governmental’ in the realm of prisons that should set restrictions on outsourcing? What might prison privatization teach us about other privatized governmental functions, such as those having to do with military matters? At the state level, there is currently a range of legislative initiatives involving specification of conditions under which prisons, specific prison services, and other governmental services may be contracted out. What can these privatization policies and approaches at the state level, particularly those dealing with private prisons, teach us about what activities are ‘inherently governmental’, as well as their procedural demands?
Keywords: private prisons, inherently governmental, privatization, contracting out, accountability, administrative law
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