As taxpayers, we give millions of dollars annually to CCA. But who are they?
The nation’s oldest and largest private prison company, Tennessee’s Corrections Corporation of America, has gotten contracts to run over sixty correctional facilities in twenty-one states, including six in Tennessee, on the promise that it could run them better and more cheaply.
But as a corporation whose business model depends on keeping prison beds filled, CCA has broken these promises time and again, using our tax dollars to fund facilities where corporate profit trumps accountability.
With the FBI conducting a criminal investigation of CCA and states like Texas, Idaho, Mississippi and Kentucky walking away from their contracts with the company, it’s time to ask just who CCA is and whether we really want them running our prisons.
Who is CCA?
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CCA:
CCA’S BUSINESS IS IMPRISONING PEOPLE FOR PROFIT.
The letters “CCA” stand for Corrections Corporation of America. They make money by convincing federal, state, and local officials to put people in CCA’s for-profit prisons instead of publicly-run prisons – and they lock up 81,384 people every day.
CCA HAS A VESTED INTEREST IN MAKING SURE TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE BEHIND BARS FOR TOO LONG.
From 1970 to 2005, the U.S. prison population increased by approximately 700%–growth that has been fueled by needlessly harsh sentences and putting more and more non-violent offenders behind bars, at great expense and little benefit to the public. CCA’s profit motive encourages the company to cut corners and get more prison contracts that discourage sensible reforms to the criminal justice system.
CCA’S DEDICATION TO THE BOTTOM LINE ENCOURAGES CUTTING CORNERS.
CCA is currently under criminal investigation by the FBI after admitting in court to falsifying 4,800 hours of guard posts required under an Idaho contract. An independent auditor found that CCA failed to fill at least 26,000 hours of required posts in 2012 alone, for an average of 500 hours per week of missing security staff. CCA continued to collect payments from the state for guards who were never assigned to work, while the facility in question amassed four times the number of prisoner-on-prisoner assaults than the state‘s seven other prisons combined. The Idaho Department of Corrections identified inadequate staffing as the primary cause of the violence.
CCA LOBBIES AND LITIGATES AGAINST TRANSPARENCY.
Since 2005, CCA has spent more than $7 million successfully lobbying Congress to stop its for-profit prisons from being subject to the same open records laws as publicly-run federal prisons. And here in Tennessee, CCA has spent nearly five years litigating to shield its prisons from being subject to the Tennessee Public Records Act.
CCA SPENDS HEAVILY ON LOBBYING AND CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS.
CCA spent more than $18 million on federal lobbying between 1999 and 2009. And between 2003 and 2011, CCA hired 199 lobbyists in 32 states, and contributed money to over 600 candidates for state office.
CCA’S BUSINESS MODEL—AND THAT OF ALL FOR-PROFIT PRISON CORPORATIONS—HAS BEEN CONDEMNED BY NUMEROUS RELIGIOUS GROUPS
—including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church USA, and the United Methodist Church, who oppose the inherent conflict between the goal of rehabilitation and private prison corporations’ profit motive.
Download the complete, printable infographic on CCA to share with your friends.
Religious Voices Against Prison Privatization
“Private Prisons Eat Our Humanity” by Reverend Edwin C. Sanders II, Senior Servant and Founder, Metropolitan Interdenominational Church
ACLU Blog of Rights posts
“Congratulations! The Taxes You Just Paid Might Be On Their Way to a Private Prison” by Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director, ACLU-TN
“How to Starve the For-Profit Prison Beast” by Justin Jones, Former Director, Oklahoma Department of Corrections
“With Only Your Wits and an Empty Can of Pepper Spray to Protect You” by Claire Gardner, Community Engagement Associate, ACLU-TN
“Karma: Private Prison Company Throws Shade and Fails, Badly” by Carl Takei, ACLU National Prison Project
“Prisons should be government’s job,” by Hedy Weinberg, The Tennessean, May 9, 2014
“Tennessee Voices: For-profit prisons fail society,” by Brooks Mathews, The Tennessean, May 22, 2014
ACLU-TN’s Letter to the Governor
In the Media
“Several Major Companies Pledge to Divest Tens of Millions of Dollars from CCA and Private Prison Corporations”
ThinkProgress, April 24, 2014
“Critics point finger at CCA: For-profit prison operator taken to task for campaign giving, operations,” by Louie Brogdon, Chattanooga Times Free Press, May 5, 2014
“ACLU targets prison operator CCA for campaign donations, lobbying, ” by Eric Snyder, Nashville Business Journal, May 5, 2014
“Birth of Vexation: By signing the controversial SB 1391, Gov. Bill Haslam makes Tennessee a battleground over the rights of pregnant women and prosecutorial bounds,” by Andrea Zelinski and Steven Hale, The Nashville Scene, May 8, 2014
“ACLU Calls On Haslam To Break Ties With Prison Company CCA Amid Trousdale County Expansion,” by Bobby Allyn, Nashville Public Radio, May 12, 2014
“Letter to the Editor: Over time, CCA’s purpose shifted to profit,” by Joseph K. McCarthy, The Tennessean, May 15, 2014
“Letter to the Editor: Time to End CCA Contracts,” by Hedy Weinberg, Chattanooga Times Free Press, May 18, 2014
“Correctamundo! CCA has eight lobbyists on Capitol Hill — and yet it says it doesn’t lobby on incarceration issues. Maybe it doesn’t have to,” by Steven Hale, The Nashville Scene, May 22, 2014