Francesca Titus and Oscar Ratcliffe review the effects of privatisation on criminal justice

It was at 21:42 GMT on Saturday 7 December 2019 that a historic locomotive set out on its final journey. Emblazoned on each carriage the logo of not just any train company, but an iconic brand – Virgin. From 1997 as part of the privatisation of British Rail, by deploying private capital via Virgin Trains, his own company, Richard Branson was able to innovate in a manner which simply had not been possible when the railways were under the aegis of the state. From online ticket sales to on-board streaming services – you name it, Virgin was trying (to privatise it?). 

As with trains, so too with criminal justice, where, in England and Wales the private sector is muscling in on what has tr...

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