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Published by: INSEAD
Originally published in: 2006
Version: 09.2006

Abstract

This is the second of a two-case series (706-037-1 and 706-050-1). The Kenyan Prison Services (KPS) confront the problem of too many prisoners living in inhumane conditions. Jane Mwenda is a young manager in KPS and she is one of the people pushing for change. An NGO (non-governmental organisation) Prison Reform International is providing training and advice. Private sector companies are encouraging the government to privatise the prisons. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank are also encouraging privatisation. Mwende is considering 3 alternatives to privatise, plus the fourth option not to privatise. At the heart of the question is whether governments should contract out prison services and if so, why would the governance of prisons be better or worse under private control. The case is written to portray the question of privatisation from the point of view of a government in a developing country. There is a clear case for privatisation, conditions are abysmal and there is a lot of suffering. At the same time, the primary problem lies in the criminal justice system and the political failure to pay for capital investments. The private companies consist of a variety of players who offer different ways to run the prisons. The students are asked to take the seat of a government official in a poor country weighing the merits of private governance of the systems against the loss of sovereignity of state control. In this way, the case asks if efficiency is the primary criteria (and if so, what is the strategy of firms to deliver this efficiency) or whether a State needs to take for its own legitimacy and take responsibility for the welfare of the prisoners it incarcerates.
Location:
Industry:
Other setting(s):
2000-2002

About

Abstract

This is the second of a two-case series (706-037-1 and 706-050-1). The Kenyan Prison Services (KPS) confront the problem of too many prisoners living in inhumane conditions. Jane Mwenda is a young manager in KPS and she is one of the people pushing for change. An NGO (non-governmental organisation) Prison Reform International is providing training and advice. Private sector companies are encouraging the government to privatise the prisons. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank are also encouraging privatisation. Mwende is considering 3 alternatives to privatise, plus the fourth option not to privatise. At the heart of the question is whether governments should contract out prison services and if so, why would the governance of prisons be better or worse under private control. The case is written to portray the question of privatisation from the point of view of a government in a developing country. There is a clear case for privatisation, conditions are abysmal and there is a lot of suffering. At the same time, the primary problem lies in the criminal justice system and the political failure to pay for capital investments. The private companies consist of a variety of players who offer different ways to run the prisons. The students are asked to take the seat of a government official in a poor country weighing the merits of private governance of the systems against the loss of sovereignity of state control. In this way, the case asks if efficiency is the primary criteria (and if so, what is the strategy of firms to deliver this efficiency) or whether a State needs to take for its own legitimacy and take responsibility for the welfare of the prisoners it incarcerates.

Settings

Location:
Industry:
Other setting(s):
2000-2002

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