Corrections Corporation of America

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Corrections Corporation of America
Traded as NYSECXW
Industry Private prisons
Founded Nashville, Tennessee (1983)
Founder Thomas W. Beasley
T. Don Hutto
Doctor Robert Crants
Headquarters Nashville, TN, USA
Area served
United States
Key people
John D. Ferguson
Chairman of the Board
Damon T. Hininger
President & CEO
Revenue Increase $ 1.736 billion
Increase $ 332.06 million
Increase $ 162.51 million
Total assets Increase $ 3.020 billion
Total equity Increase $ 1.408 billion
Number of employees
16,750 – December 2011
Footnotes / references
2011 financial statements[1]
Eden Detention Center in Eden, Texas

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is a company that owns and manages private prisons and detention centers and operates others on a concession basis. The company is the largest private corrections company in the United States and manages more than 65 correctional and detention facilities with a capacity of more than 90,000 beds in 19 states and the District of Columbia.[2] The company’s revenue in 2012 exceeded more than $1.7 billion.[3]

Controversies involving the company include: treatment of inmates and disclosure of oversight, lobbying efforts to conceal details of operations, a lawsuit about gang influence in Idaho prison and substantial falsification of records, co-operation with local law enforcement in a school drug sweep, and the deadly 2012 riot in a Mississippi facility.[4]


Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) was founded on January 28, 1983, by Thomas W. Beasley, Doctor Robert Crants and T. Don Hutto.[2] The initial investment came from Jack C. Massey, the co-founder of the Hospital Corporation of America.[5] An early investor prior to its IPO was Vanderbilt University, where Beasley was a Law graduate.[6] Additionally, the Tennessee Valley Authority was another early financial backer.[5]

The first facility, the Houston Processing Center, was opened in 1984 and was contracted by the U.S. Department of Justice for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly Immigration and Naturalization Service). The Houston Detention Center was built to house individuals who are awaiting a decision on their immigration case or repatriation.[3]

In 1984, CCA also took over the operations of the Tall Trees non-secure juvenile facility, for the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County. Two years later, CCA built the 200-bed Shelby Training Center in Memphis to house juvenile male-offenders.

In 1989, the New Mexico Women's Correctional Facility was opened in Grants, New Mexico; the facility has 204 beds.[7]

In 1990, CCA opened the first medium-security privately operated prison, Winn Correctional Center, in Winn Parish, Louisiana.[8]

The Leavenworth Detention Center, operated for the U.S. Marshals Service, was opened in 1992, the 256-bed facility was the first maximum-security private prison under direct contract with a federal agency.[9]

In 2010, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of inmates at the Idaho Correctional Center, claiming that understaffing contributed to the high levels of violence there. In 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began an investigation into CCA management of the ICC to ascertain whether any Federal statutes were violated regarding the understaffing of the facility and falsification of staffing records.[10]


Founded in 1983, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) owns or operates jails and prisons on contract with federal, state and local governments. CCA designs, builds, manages and operates correctional facilities and detention centers for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Marshals Service, as well as facilities across the United States.

CCA houses approximately 90,000 offenders and detainees in its more than 60 facilities and employs more than 17,000 nationwide.

The American Correctional Association (ACA) has accredited 90% of CCA's facilities.[11] ACA's Accreditation is a system of verification that correctional agencies and facilities comply with national standards promulgated by the American Correctional Association. Accreditation is achieved through a series of reviews, evaluations, audits and hearings.[12]


CCA operates more than 60 prisons across the U.S.[13]

The T. Don Hutto Residential Center, a former medium-security prison in Taylor, Texas, which, from 2006 to 2009, held immigrant detainees ages 2 and up under a pass-through contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of Homeland Security.[14] After local and national protests, federal officials announced on August 6, 2009, that it would no longer house immigrant families.[15] Instead, only female detainees will be housed there. In September 2009, the last families left the facility and were moved to the Berks Family Residential in Pennsylvania.[16]

As of June 2013, Kentucky did not renew its contract with Corrections Corporation of America for the Marion Adjustment Center in St. Mary, ending three decades of allowing outside companies to incarcerate inmates for the state.[17] CCA owns two other prisons in Kentucky, both of which are also closed: The Lee Adjustment Center, in Beattyville, which held Vermont prisoners until 2015, and the Otter Creek Correctional Center located in Wheelwright, Kentucky, which held Hawaiian women inmates.

Inmate rehabilitation[edit]

A critical aspect of America’s prison system includes reentry and rehabilitation programs for inmates.[18] Such programs often include education, vocational training, addiction treatment as well as faith-based programs.

CCA says it offers basic adult education, post-secondary education, GRE preparation and testing and literacy programs to all inmates. The Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in 2008 that only 60% of privately run facilities offered programming to inmates. According to national research, providing inmates with education and vocational programs can reduce the likelihood that offenders will commit new offenses upon release and return to prison.[19]

In 1993, CCA launched the LifeLine substance abuse training program at the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility in Nashville, Tennessee. The program is now available in 23 of CCA's 60 facilities.[20]

In addition to the reentry and rehabilitation programs prisons often offer inmates recreational and optional faith-based opportunities, which is an integral part of inmate rehabilitation[21]

Occupancy and profitability[edit]

In a 1990s report, Prudential Securities was bullish on CCA but noted, "It takes time to bring inmate population levels up to where they cover costs. Low occupancy is a drag on profits... company earnings would be strong if CCA succeeded in ramp(ing) up population levels in its new facilities at an acceptable rate".[22]

In 2011, responding to an initiative from the State of Ohio to reduce "overhead costs by saving $13 million annually while adding 700 beds to house inmates in the overcrowded system," Corrections Corporation of America agreed to buy the Lake Erie Correctional Institution for $72.7 million. This represents a change of policy for CCA, which previously always constructed their own prisons, and was contingent on the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction agreeing to contractual occupancy requirements [3]. The failure to find a buyer for many other prisons the State offered for sale was taken as good news by the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, the union for prison guards.

In 2012, CCA sent a letter to prison officials in 48 states, offering to buy prisons from these states in exchange for a 20-year management contract and a guaranteed occupancy rate of 90%.[23] Community organizations have criticized the proposals, arguing that the contractual obligations of states to fill the prisons to 90% occupancy are poor public policy that could force communities into creating criminals, and that these contractual clauses end up costing taxpayers more than state-run prisons would.[24]


CCA was named in 2008 as one of the 100 best corporate citizens by Corporate Responsibility Officer magazine.[25] The national military magazine GI Jobs has highlighted CCA as a solid employer for veterans[26] and also named CCA as one of its "Top 50 Military Friendly Jobs" on four[not in citation given] separate occasions.[27]


Treatment of inmates and disclosure of shortcomings of oversight[edit]

Responding to an inmate's death in 2006 at CCA's immigration jail in Eloy, Arizona, government investigators found the medical care provided meant that "detainee welfare is in jeopardy". A subsequent inmate death at the facility resulted in an additional inquiry and "another scathing report," according to the New York Times.[28]

Lack of disclosure from government officials charged with overseeing the care provided resulted in an August 2009 ACLU lawsuit. This resulted in disclosure by the Obama administration that 1 in 10 deaths among inmates in immigration detention facilities had been omitted from a list of deaths presented to Congress earlier that year. Two of those deaths took place at CCA's Eloy Detention Center.[29] CCA's Eloy jail had nine known fatalities – more than any other immigration jail under contract to the federal government according to documents obtained in 2009 under FOIA requests by the New York Times and the ACLU.[29]

In 2013, CCA confirmed that an internal review showed the corporation falsified records involving about 4,800 employee hours over a period of seven months in the Idaho state prison it operated.[30] In 2014 a subsequent KPMG audit showed the actual overbilling was for over 26,000 hours. Governor Butch Otter ordered Idaho State Police to investigate to see if criminal charges should be brought. Otter had received a total of $20,000 in campaign contributions from employees of the company since 2003. [31] In March, it was announced that the FBI had stepped in to take over the investigation, one that extended to CCA operations in other states.[32]

In the fall of 2012, state auditors of the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Ohio, acquired by the CCA in January of the same year, deducted $500,000 for contract violations and inadequate staffing.[33]

Lobbying efforts[edit]

CCA lobbyists have worked to pass or defeat private prison legislation in many localities, including Texas, New York, Illinois and Tennessee.[34] CCA spent $17.4 million lobbying the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Office of Management and Budget, the Bureau of Prisons, both houses of Congress, and others between 2002 and 2012; including $1.9 million in campaign contributions.[35][36]

According to the Boston Phoenix, CCA spent more than $2.7 million from 2006 through September 2008 on lobbying for stricter laws.[37] CCA responded that it does not lobby lawmakers to increase jail time or push for longer sentences under any circumstance, noting that it "educates officials on the benefits of public-private partnership but does not lobby on crime and sentencing policies."[35] Among its risk factors listed in its 10-K annual report as required by the SEC, CCA includes the following:

"The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them."[24]

At the federal level, the corporation's lobbying focuses largely on immigrant detention. In 2012, CCA spent $1,790,000 lobbying Congress and federal bureaucracies on issues relating to homeland security, law enforcement, immigrant detention, and information disclosure legislation.[38]

Lawsuit about gang influence in Idaho prison[edit]

In 2010 the corporation was being investigated by the FBI for an incident at their prison in Idaho Correctional Center. A video released by the Associated Press showed a prison inmate being beaten unconscious with guards watching not taking action. Because the matter was then under litigation, the company had only said publicly that the release of the video is "an unnecessary security risk to our staff, the inmates entrusted to our care and ultimately to the public." CCA said it was cooperating with investigators.[39]

In March 2010, The ACLU filed suit against CCA in Idaho alleging that guards were not protecting inmates from other violent inmates.[40] In February 2014, the federal judge hearing the case awarded $349,000 to the ACLU for its costs in bringing the action.[41]

In November 2012, eight inmates filed a federal lawsuit in Idaho alleging that CCA prison officials partially ceded control of the Idaho Correctional Center to gang leaders. The lawsuit cited Idaho Department of Correction reports suggesting that the Aryan Knights and the Severely Violent Criminals were able to wrest control from staff members after prison officials began housing members of the same gangs together in some cell blocks to reduce violent clashes.[42][43] In September 2013, a federal judge held CCA in contempt of court for persistently understaffing the Idaho Correctional Center in direct violation of a legal settlement.[44] In October 2013, CCA was encouraged not to bid on a new contract to continuing running the Idaho Correctional Center. The state reassumed control of its prison on July 1, 2014.[45]

Also in 2012, former and current employees in Lieutenant positions who were categorized as "Salary Employees" filed law suits arguing that their daily duties and work hours were not that of a salary employee. Specifically, they were suing CCA because their actual duties were not that of typical salaried employees nor did they have the authority to "Hire and Fire" as a salaried employee should. CCA lost the law suit and paid out hundreds of thousands to its current and former Lieutenants.[citation needed] However, even after losing the suit, CCA still employed their Lieutenants as salaried because "It's cheaper to pay out law suits every couple years than it is to pay them for the (overtime) hours they actually work ."[citation needed]

Co-operation with local law enforcement in a school drug sweep[edit]

In 2012, CCA conducted a drug sweep of Vista Grande High School in Casa Grande, Arizona in concert with local law enforcement. The program director of the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee said “It is chilling to think that any school official would be willing to put vulnerable students at risk this way.”[46]

2012 riot in Mississippi facility[edit]

In May 2012 a riot at CCA-operated Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, Mississippi claimed the life of a Corrections Officer and left sixteen staff members and three prisoners injured. Twenty-five employees were held hostage during the disturbance which was ultimately quelled by facility staff with assistance from the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.[47] According to a company statement, the fatality was the second time an employee had "lost his life to inmate assault."[48]

2015 fatal prison fight in Oklahoma[edit]

Following a series of escalating disturbances, including a riot involving 200-300 prisoners in June, four inmates died and four others were hospitalized as a result of a fight on September 13th, 2015 at the Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Okla.[49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Form 10-K". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. December 31, 2011. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b CCA History
  3. ^ a b "Houston Field Office: Houston Contract Detention Facility (CDF)". U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  4. ^ Boone, Rebecca (5 February 2014). Prison Company CCA to Pay Idaho $1 million Over Staffing. Associated Press. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b Harmon L. Wray, Jr., Cells for Sale, Southern Changes: The Journal of the Southern Regional Council, Volume 8, Number 3, 1989
  6. ^ Donna Selman, Paul Leighton, Punishment for Sale: Private Prisons, Big Business, and the Incarceration Binge, New York City: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010, pp. 81-82
  7. ^ New Mexico Women’s Correctional Facility, Grants
  8. ^ Louisiana Department of Corrections
  9. ^ Prison Information
  10. ^ Rebecca Boone (March 7, 2014). APNewsBreak: FBI Investigates Prison Company. Associated Press. Retrieved on April 5, 2014.
  11. ^ CCA Facilities Receive High Marks from American Correctional Association, 2011 CCA press release. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  12. ^ ACA Standards
  13. ^ CCA Facility Locations
  14. ^ Don Hutto Family Residential Facility, ICE Fact Sheet
  15. ^ T. Don Hutto detention center will no longer house immigrant families
  16. ^ (Deadlink) Final families removed from T. Don Hutto facility
  17. ^ Brett Barrouquere (25 June 2013). Ky. to walk away from last private prison. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  18. ^ [1] What Science Says About Designing Effective Prisoner Reentry Programs
  19. ^ Gerber, Jurg ; Fritsch, Eric. “Adult Academic and Vocational Correctional Education Programs: A Review of Recent Research.”
  20. ^ Lifeline graduates first class
  21. ^ O'Connor, Thomas P.; Perreyclear, Michael. “Prison Religion in Action and Its Influence on Offender Rehabilitation” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, v35 n3-4 p11-33 2002
  22. ^ Rubenstein, Edwin S. (Spring 2012). "The High Cost of Cheap Detentions". The Social Contract, Volume 22, Number 3. 
  23. ^ "CCA letter" (pdf). Huffington Post. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  24. ^ a b Kirkham, Chris (14 February 2012). "With States Facing Shortfalls, Private Corporation Offers Cash For Prisons". Huffington Post. 
  25. ^ CCA Named One of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens in the U.S.
  26. ^ Corrections Industry Offers Steady Growth and Stable Employment Opportunities
  27. ^ Corrections Provider CCA Named To GI Jobs Magazine's Top 50 List of Military Friendly Employers
  28. ^ Bernstein, Nina (21 August 2009). "Immigrant’s Death Shows Hard Path to Detention Reform". The New York Times. 
  29. ^ a b Bernstein, Nina (10 January 2010). "Officials Hid Truth About Immigrant Deaths in Jail]". The New York Times. 
  30. ^ Furfaro, Hannah (12 April 2013). "Corrections Corporation Of America Admits To Falsifying Staffing Records". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  31. ^ 'Idaho gov orders police to investigate CCA prison', Seattle Times, 18 February 2014, Rebecca Boone. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  32. ^ FBI investigating CCA, Nashville-based private prison operator;\. [[Associated Press}AP]], 7 March 2014, Rebecca Boone. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  33. ^ Kirkham, Chris (22 March 2013). "Lake Erie Prison Plagued By Violence And Drugs After Corporate Takeover". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  34. ^ Matte Pulle, Texas Watchdog, 07-29-2009
  35. ^ a b Who Profits From the Prison Boom
  36. ^ [2]
  37. ^
  38. ^ Meet the private prison industry's lobbyists who could shape immigration reform
  39. ^ "Idaho prison guards 'filmed watching inmate attack'". BBC News. December 1, 2010. 
  40. ^ ACLU suing Corrections Corp. of America, By Rebecca Boone, Associated Press, March 11, 2010
  41. ^ 'Federal judge orders CCA to pay attorney fees to ACLU', Idaho Press-Tribune, 22 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  42. ^ Boone, Rebecca (November 13, 2012). "Idaho Inmates Claim Gangs Run Prison". Associated Press. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  43. ^ Boone, Rebecca (November 15, 2012). "ACLU-Idaho Says Prison May Be Violating Settlement". Associated Press. Retrieved November 16, 2012. 
  44. ^ Boone, Rebecca (September 16, 2013). "Judge: CCA in contempt for prison understaffing". Associated Press. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  45. ^ Boone, Rebecca (October 3, 2013). "Prison company leaving Idaho". Associated Press. Retrieved October 5, 2013. 
  46. ^ "School Allows Private Prison Company To Conduct Drug Sweeps". CBS News. December 1, 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2013. 
  47. ^ "Sheriff: Anxiety ran high before Mississippi prison riot was quashed". CNN. 22 May 2012. 
  48. ^ "Sheriff: Gang started prison riot in Mississippi". CBS News. Archived from the original on 2012-05-22. Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  49. ^ Fourth inmate dies after prisoner clash at Oklahoma prison, Associated Press, Sean Murphy, September 13, 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.

External links[edit]