Constitutional Limits to Privatization: The Israeli Supreme Court Decision to Invalidate Prison Privatization
33 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2010
Date Written: August 30, 2010
The Israeli Supreme Court recently decided to strike down legislation to establish a privately operated prison. The Court’s decision to invalidate this legislation is interesting, as it stipulates that prison privatization is unconstitutional per se, irrespective of its specific characteristics or expected outcome. It ruled that executing governmental powers by prison staff employed by a for-profit organization violates the prisoners’ basic rights to liberty and human dignity. This essay discusses this position, and points out some of its difficulties. It suggests that while the decision’s ultimate outcome can be justified, it would have gained greater (normative) legitimacy if it were based on a constitutional norm prohibiting the privatization of 'core' governmental powers rather than on an analysis of human rights.
Keywords: Privatization, Judical Review, Prisons, Israel, Human Dignity
JEL Classification: H11, H40, L33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation