Independently verified reductionism: prison privatization in Scotland

Christine Cooper, Phil Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Scottish Parliament recently considered proposals, which, if implemented, would lead to a considerable expansion of prison privatization. Both the Scottish Prison Service and the Scottish Executive used what they claimed to be an independently verified cost saving of £700 million as the major justification for these proposals. The way this figure was constructed and used provides an example of the increasing tendency on the part of government to quantify what cannot be quantified, to 'make the invisible visible'. This article uses several methods to interrogate this figure of £700 million, particularly the role played by 'net present value' in its construction. Its fuller significance emerges from an understanding of the contexts of the Private Finance Initiative and Public Private Partnership, the experience of prison privatization and the foreclosure of alternatives to privatization. This article is based upon an analysis of government documentation, interview evidence with key players and testimony given by them to a cross-party committee charged with investigating these proposals.
LanguageEnglish
Pages497-522
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Relations
Volume58
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005

Fingerprint

Prisons
reductionism
Privatization
privatization
correctional institution
foreclosure
public private partnership
Finance
testimony
parliament
documentation
finance
present
costs
interview
evidence
Prison
Reductionism
Scotland
Costs

Keywords

  • reductionism
  • prison privatization
  • Scotland
  • Scottish prison service
  • Private Finance Initiative
  • Public Private Partnership

Cite this

@article{483ff723723e49ba980ef135bed3de67,
title = "Independently verified reductionism: prison privatization in Scotland",
abstract = "The Scottish Parliament recently considered proposals, which, if implemented, would lead to a considerable expansion of prison privatization. Both the Scottish Prison Service and the Scottish Executive used what they claimed to be an independently verified cost saving of £700 million as the major justification for these proposals. The way this figure was constructed and used provides an example of the increasing tendency on the part of government to quantify what cannot be quantified, to 'make the invisible visible'. This article uses several methods to interrogate this figure of £700 million, particularly the role played by 'net present value' in its construction. Its fuller significance emerges from an understanding of the contexts of the Private Finance Initiative and Public Private Partnership, the experience of prison privatization and the foreclosure of alternatives to privatization. This article is based upon an analysis of government documentation, interview evidence with key players and testimony given by them to a cross-party committee charged with investigating these proposals.",
keywords = "reductionism, prison privatization, Scotland, Scottish prison service, Private Finance Initiative, Public Private Partnership",
author = "Christine Cooper and Phil Taylor",
year = "2005",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1177/0018726705055036",
language = "English",
volume = "58",
pages = "497--522",
journal = "Human Relations",
issn = "0018-7267",
number = "4",

}

Independently verified reductionism: prison privatization in Scotland. / Cooper, Christine; Taylor, Phil.

In: Human Relations, Vol. 58, No. 4, 04.2005, p. 497-522.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Independently verified reductionism: prison privatization in Scotland

AU - Cooper, Christine

AU - Taylor, Phil

PY - 2005/4

Y1 - 2005/4

N2 - The Scottish Parliament recently considered proposals, which, if implemented, would lead to a considerable expansion of prison privatization. Both the Scottish Prison Service and the Scottish Executive used what they claimed to be an independently verified cost saving of £700 million as the major justification for these proposals. The way this figure was constructed and used provides an example of the increasing tendency on the part of government to quantify what cannot be quantified, to 'make the invisible visible'. This article uses several methods to interrogate this figure of £700 million, particularly the role played by 'net present value' in its construction. Its fuller significance emerges from an understanding of the contexts of the Private Finance Initiative and Public Private Partnership, the experience of prison privatization and the foreclosure of alternatives to privatization. This article is based upon an analysis of government documentation, interview evidence with key players and testimony given by them to a cross-party committee charged with investigating these proposals.

AB - The Scottish Parliament recently considered proposals, which, if implemented, would lead to a considerable expansion of prison privatization. Both the Scottish Prison Service and the Scottish Executive used what they claimed to be an independently verified cost saving of £700 million as the major justification for these proposals. The way this figure was constructed and used provides an example of the increasing tendency on the part of government to quantify what cannot be quantified, to 'make the invisible visible'. This article uses several methods to interrogate this figure of £700 million, particularly the role played by 'net present value' in its construction. Its fuller significance emerges from an understanding of the contexts of the Private Finance Initiative and Public Private Partnership, the experience of prison privatization and the foreclosure of alternatives to privatization. This article is based upon an analysis of government documentation, interview evidence with key players and testimony given by them to a cross-party committee charged with investigating these proposals.

KW - reductionism

KW - prison privatization

KW - Scotland

KW - Scottish prison service

KW - Private Finance Initiative

KW - Public Private Partnership

UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726705055036

U2 - 10.1177/0018726705055036

DO - 10.1177/0018726705055036

M3 - Article

VL - 58

SP - 497

EP - 522

JO - Human Relations

T2 - Human Relations

JF - Human Relations

SN - 0018-7267

IS - 4

ER -