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Brian Gran and William Henry

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Holding Private Prisons Accountable: A Socio-Legal Analysis of Prison Contracts

The development of private prisons over the last few decades reflects a heightened belief that private firms can perform public functions equally as well as governments can. Governments have formed private prisons by “contracting out” government responsibilities to private corporations, thereby attempting to have private entities perform a public function while still holding these corporations publicly accountable. This article examines three key features of accountability with respect to this contracting out: formation, maintenance, and liability. The purpose of this article is to evaluate how the contractual relationship is used to strengthen public accountability of government-private relationships.

prison, privatization, contract, accountability, government, public-private, formation, maintenance, liability

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 34, Nos. 3-4 (2007): 173-194