A Crisis of Identity: Nacro's Bid to Run a Prison and What it Means for the Voluntary Sector



Abstract: The presence of a penal reform charity, Nacro, alongside private companies in a consortium bidding to run a new prison is a development that highlights troubling issues for the voluntary sector. This article argues that a combination of poorly implemented market reforms to the criminal justice sector, and the increasing dependence of many charities on government funding, is leading some voluntary organisations to compromise their campaigning and advocacy roles and openly risk ‘goal distortion’ (Kendall and Knapp 1996). There is a risk the voluntary sector will increasingly be split between quasi-governmental organisations and those charities that remain truly independent.