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Marketisation and Privatisation in Criminal Justice$
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Kevin Albertson, Mary Corcoran, and Jake Phillips

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447345701

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447345701.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 05 August 2021

Holding private prisons to account: what role for Controllers as ‘the eyes and ears of the state’?

Holding private prisons to account: what role for Controllers as ‘the eyes and ears of the state’?

(p.151) 10 Holding private prisons to account: what role for Controllers as ‘the eyes and ears of the state’?
Marketisation and Privatisation in Criminal Justice

Joanna Hargreaves

Amy Ludlow

Policy Press

The advent of the private sector’s contemporary involvement in prisons in England and Wales saw the creation of a new role – that of the Controller. Controllers are embedded within all privately managed prisons as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the State. They hold the private sector to account on a day-to-day basis, ensuring that private providers deliver on their contractual promises and that the State’s delegated penal power is wielded in accordance with the law. While Controllers occupy an essential theoretical position within the prison accountability landscape, little is known about how Controllers understand and practice their roles and what this might mean for the nature and quality of accountability achieved. Drawing on qualitative data from interviews with Controllers, this chapter explores the vision of accountability pursued by Controllers, their orientations to contract management, and the practical nature and impact of their accountability work. The chapter focuses on the form and significance of Controllers’ relationships with private prison Directors, especially exploring themes of trust and relationality.

Keywords:   Controller, Director, Private Prison, Accountability, Contract Management

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