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NCJ Number: 221976 Find in a Library
Title: Market Testing and Prison Riots: How Public-Sector Commercialization Contributed to a Prison Riot
Journal: Criminology & Public Policy  Volume:7  Issue:1  Dated:February 2008  Pages:117-142
Author(s): John Rynne; Richard W. Harding; Richard Wortley
Date Published: February 2008
Page Count: 26
Type: Case Study
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This case study examined how competitive bidding for a management contract by public and private agencies in the operation of a newly constructed prison (Woodford Corrections Centre) in Queensland, Australia, contributed to an inmate riot.
Abstract: The Queensland Corrective Services Commission (QCSC), a public agency, won the contract under the promise of reform measures to be implemented at the bidding price. The QCSC bid envisioned a prison that would include work practices that the public sector had never had the opportunity or resources to implement. In order to present a viable alternative to the private sector, the QCSC bid was required to provide greater effectiveness and efficiency than its competitors. This financial pressure, coupled with the determination of the QCSC to be successful, laid the groundwork for a demanding and stressful prison regime. Upon opening the Woodford Correctional Centre, management and officers, many of whom were inexperienced, were confronted with seasoned, high-security prisoners who quickly filled the prison to capacity. This rapid influx of prisoners exceeded the ability of the prison to initiate the contracted reform and to meet even the basic expectations of a prison. This external pressure converted to internal conflict, which primed the prison for a riot through the breakdown of fundamental situational controls. On April 1, 1997, the riot began with an internal disruption that escalated when prisoners gained access to the central control area by smearing the supposedly fireproof screen with butter and starting a fire at its base. The screen melted, and prisoners had access to other areas. The riot spread throughout the prison, lasting for just over 3 hours. The findings of this case study highlight the need for custodial policy development and implementation to consider the practical strategies and tactics required to avoid evidence-based factors linked to prison riots. 59 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Australia; Contract corrections services; Foreign correctional facilities; Prison disorders; Prison management; Privatization in corrections; Riot causes
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