Constitutional Limits to Privatization: The Israeli Supreme Court Decision to Invalidate Prison Privatization

33 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2010

See all articles by Barak Medina

Barak Medina

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 30, 2010

Abstract

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

Medina, Barak, Constitutional Limits to Privatization: The Israeli Supreme Court Decision to Invalidate Prison Privatization (August 30, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1700190 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1700190

Barak Medina (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus
Mount Scopus, IL 91905
Israel

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