Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 March 2021
In the Introduction we noted the distinction between privatisation and marketisation, and we argued that this book is necessary because criminal justice has been the site of marketisation to a greater extent than it has privatisation. Yet this concept of marketisation has been underexplored. The chapters in the book demonstrate the sheer scale of marketisation that has occurred in criminal justice in the UK. There is evidence that similar marketisation has occurred in other states around the world (Walby and Lippert, Chapter 8; Swirak, Chapter 6).
As this book demonstrates, there is a whole array of other means by which the market has been used to shape the delivery of experiences of criminal justice. The chapters in this book expose a range of modes of governance and accountability that are at play and demonstrate the ways in which marketisation has impacted on criminal justice at macro-, meso- and micro-levels. Importantly, they have shown what the impact of this has been on the broader field, the individuals working within those fields and the service users that are subjected to systems of power delivered in newly formed markets. In this concluding chapter we attempt to draw together some of the themes that run across the chapters and consider what the future might hold for criminal justice and marketisation.
The language of the market
Ironically, or perhaps not, the concepts of free markets, marketisation and privatisation have so well captured the public discourse, we must employ them in highlighting their problems (Corcoran, Chapter 1; Swirak, Chapter 6; Corcoran et al, Chapter 12). We may talk, for example, about costs and benefits, about innovation, responsibility and accountability. Thus, we critique marketisation on its own terms here: in costs and benefits (Corcoran, Chapter 1). Yet despite allowing the market to choose its own grounds on which it might be justified, there are significant problems with the model as currently realised, even on its own terms.
Competition and its discontents
One of the key themes to come out of these chapters is the importance and role of competition. While one would expect competition to be a key feature of marketised services, it is the implications that are of concern.