Marketisation of Women’s Organisations in the Criminal Justice Sector

Cooper, Victoria and Mansfield, Maureen (2020). Marketisation of Women’s Organisations in the Criminal Justice Sector. In: Albertson, Kevin; Corcoran, Mary and Phillips, Jake eds. Marketisation and Privatisation in Criminal Justice. Policy Press.

URL: https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/market...

Abstract

This chapter explores the gendered impacts of the austerity-driven probation reforms, which include the dismantling of community-based services for economically marginalised women and the alarming 131% rise in women recalled to custody. Blame for these deleterious effects has been apportioned to the privatisation of Probation Trusts in England and Wales and the subsequent dominance of ‘Community Rehabilitation Companies’ – where, in practice, larger, cheaper service providers are pushing out smaller, specialist services. Whilst we don’t disagree with this narrative, we argue that the neoliberal tropes of the gender responsive reform programme – that preceded the privatisation of Probation Trusts – is an important policy context for understanding the contractual inequalities that we are seeing unfold today. The roll out of the gender responsive reform programme marked a key moment in the landscape of women’s voluntary sector as it encouraged them to compete with other voluntary services and prove ‘better value’ for money. This form of marketisation, we argue, has resulted in women’s services attenuating or, at best, compromising the political values and ethics that previously underpinned their ‘specialist’ approach to working with women in the criminal justice system.

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