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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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Constructive ambiguity, market imaginaries and the penal voluntary sector in England and Wales

Constructive ambiguity, market imaginaries and the penal voluntary sector in England and Wales

Chapter:
(p.187) 12 Constructive ambiguity, market imaginaries and the penal voluntary sector in England and Wales
Source:
Marketisation and Privatisation in Criminal Justice
Author(s):

Mary Corcoran

Mike Maguire

Kate Williams

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447345701.003.0013

This chapter draws on research findings relating to voluntary sector adaptation to mixed markets in penal services, which coincided with the disruptions of austerity and dislocation in the wider social economy. Based on interviews with senior personnel in the voluntary sector, we demonstrate that they both share and hold divergent views (or ‘imaginaries’) of the ‘rules of engagement’ that pertain to market competition in offender resettlement. The chapter explores three broad strategic responses: (i) a greater tendency towards service diversification and commoditisation; (ii) mergers, acquisitions and seeking a place in larger consortia; (iii) varied dispositions towards market adaptive strategies. We codify the latter along the lines of Hirschman’s options of ‘exit, voice and loyalty’(1970). However, it is shown that individual organisations often combine elements of all three dispositions, and that the overall picture of adaptation in the sector is greatly more complex and nuanced than some commentators have claimed.

Keywords:   Voluntary Sector, Penal Services, Offender Resettlement, Commoditisation, Market Competition, Adaptation, Austerity, Disruption

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