Private prisons and the democratic deficit

Alfred C Aman, Jr

in Private Security, Public Order

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199574124
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191721816 | DOI:
 Private prisons and the democratic deficit

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This chapter describes the case of prison privatization in the United States. Prisons offer an interesting insight into debates over which coercive aspects of the state should be kept within government hands, and thus shed some light on the outsourcing of military functions. They also present a slightly more developed example of administrative oversight of outsourced functions. The chapter argues that the question of what is and is not ‘inherently governmental’ is a decision that must be made democratically, through an open political process that meets standards of transparency and accountability set in place by legislatures and overseen by courts. A new kind of administrative law thus may need to be created to respond to the democratic deficit associated with modern privatization.

Keywords: privatization; private military and security companies; PMSCs; prisons; governmental functions; accountability; transparency; limits on privatization

Chapter.  9940 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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