After a day at the conference “Private Sector Involvement in Criminal Justice” (check the link for upcoming materials) my mind is still rumbling and pondering: what does happen when a private organisation, used to provide services, enters the criminal justice context?
Listening to the presentation of Richard Morris (Managing Director of G4S – one of the major firms currently involved in the provision of services in the criminal justice sector) I couldn’t stop thinking about how the language of private organisations is still far and yet to be integrated to the challenge these companies are trying to face.
The word “performance” does not fit into any of the (limited) knowledge I have of the process of desistance or, as Alison Liebling calls it: human flourishing. In a contract agreement where performances are defined by numbers, there is little space to evaluate the true improvements (AKA “rehabilitation”) of the service users (AKA offender).
In order to receive the 10% of the value of their contract, contractors have to produce a result: reduce re-offending by 5%. The scholars researching on desistance are quite aware of the fact that 12 months are no indicators of true change: until death an ex-offender can still re-offend.
So, how to make sure service providers are actually able to serve one of the key objectives of the MoJ? How can private companies reduce re-offending and, at the same time, make human beings flourish?
When private organisations will be able to move away from the corporate culture to embrace a more human enterprise?