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It has been argued that “accountability is the linchpin of the correctional system” (Freiberg, 1999, p 120) and needs to be a central feature of any prison system. It is here that care needs to be taken. Accountability in its modern manifestation has become a largely technical and instrumental process, yet accountability for prison policies and practices has an undeniable moral component that needs to be addressed in order for public accountability to be meaningful within this domain. In Australia, accountability for private prisons has emphasised performance measures, contractual compliance and monitoring, and this has often led to poor outcomes for prisoners and the Australian community more broadly. The rise of the modern private prison brings new questions surrounding appropriate approaches to accountability, some of which will be explored in this paper. In order to consider the affect of private prisons on the Australian prison system, I have drawn on Chomsky’s work on neoliberalism.