The Ethics of Correctional Privatization: A Critical Examination of the Delegation of Coercive Authority

Michael D. Reisig, Travis C. Pratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Privatization in the correctional setting takes many forms. This article focuses on an extreme variant of correctional privatization—privately owned and operated facilities—and critically examines the philosophical argument used to legitimate the practice. Among the more problematic features identified include a reliance on an interpretation of liberal theory that muddles the distinction between rights and authority, and confusion regarding the libertarian conceptions of the ultraminimal and minimal state. As a result, the attempt to justify the delegation of coercive authority from the state to private agencies is questioned. The authors attempt to advance ongoing debate by discussing one method for identifying what privatization alternatives are consistent with liberal theory's conceptions of the individual and the state's authority to punish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-222
Number of pages13
JournalThe Prison Journal
Volume80
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law

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