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Unpublished Paper
Private Criminal Justice
ExpressO (2007)
  • Ric Simmons
The past few decades have seen the rise of two very different alternatives to the traditional criminal justice system: private police and restorative justice programs. Each of these approaches represents a revolutionary paradigm shift as to how criminal justice is administered in this country—and yet each of these movements has been limited in its impact on the current criminal justice system. The privatization movement has been restricted to the law enforcement stage of the criminal justice system, while the restorative justice movement has been dependent upon state support. This Article argues that it is only a matter of time before these two movements combine, thereby creating a viable private alternative to the public criminal justice system. The Article charts the rise of this private criminal justice system in this country, provides a rough blueprint of what a fully functioning private criminal justice system might look like, and offers suggestions as to how to guide its development. Part I of the Article describes the failures of the public criminal justice system and shows how many of these failures are due to the public monopoly on the provision of criminal justice services. Part II chronicles the privatization of law enforcement, examining its dramatic growth and the limited response from scholars and lawmakers. Part III provides a brief summary of the theory and practice of the restorative justice movement. Part IV combines these two movements to demonstrate what a private criminal justice system would look like. Part V examines potential criticisms of a new private criminal justice alternative, and Part VI concludes the article by briefly setting out suggestions for how an emerging private system of criminal justice should develop in light of these potential criticisms.
  • Criminal law,
  • privatization,
  • restorative justice,
  • private police
Publication Date
March, 2007
Citation Information
Ric Simmons. "Private Criminal Justice" ExpressO (2007)
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