Explaining the asynchronies in the introduction of prison privatisation in England and Wales: a structural Marxist approach
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The expansion of prison privatisation presents distinctive traits. One of them is its peculiar temporal expansion in a comparative point of view. This research focuses on the intrastate temporal expansion and more specifically in the case of England and Wales. What is researched is the reason behind the delay in the emergence of prison privatisation, in other words the asynchrony between the introduction of general and prison privatisation policies. This Thesis rejects explanatory frameworks based on historical analogies, pragmatic concerns or economic arguments and puts the explanation in a discourse of political interaction. In this framework, previous approaches related to the concept of globalisation, commodification of citizenry and political culture do not provide either suitable analytical tools in explaining the asynchrony in question. This research, instead, aims to bring forward the class struggle as catalytic agent in criminal justice system developments using a Structural Marxist concept of the State and its transformations. In the Capitalist Mode of Production the State acquires a unifying role among the contradicting classes by promoting the supposed general interest of the society, in order to allow the continuation of class domination and labour exploitation. This is feasible through the constantly unfolding hegemonic strategy which organizes the cohesion of the power bloc and disorganizes the dominated classes. Hegemonic strategy substantiates in the State Apparatuses which is not just a tool for policy making but rather a point where contradicting class powers condense; policy formation as such reflects the vector of class power in the apparatuses. Hegemonic strategy is set in motion by the State Personnel which is relatively independent knot in the transmission of domination between the power bloc and the dominated classes. State transformations are indications of this strategy since they inscribe in the structure of the State the vector of the class struggle. Hegemonic strategy took interesting contours after the mid-‘60s. The capital over-accumulation crisis on the one hand and on the other Authoritarian Statism promoted extensive State transformations as in the case of privatisations. Massive reactions, however, caused by the labour movement, required their containment and consequently a smoothly operating criminal justice system. The entrenchment of prison officers, therefore, from the wider changes in the labour status became crucial and a state transformation in itself, although by absence. This explains the delay of prison privatisation which appears indeed at the end of a long socially unstable period.