Corrections Corporation of America
Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, is the largest for-profit prison corporation in the U.S.  CCA runs over 60 prisons in about 20 U.S. states plus Washington, DC. CCA has contracts with all three federal corrections agencies (Federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Marshals Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement), nearly half of all states and more than a dozen local municipalities. It is the fifth-largest corrections system in the U.S., with only the federal government and three states having larger prison systems. The company trades on the New York Stock Exchange with the symbol CXW. In 2006, revenue was $1.3 billion with profits of $105 million.
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
Laurie Shanblum, the Senior Director of Partnership Development for CCA, was the corporate chair of the Public Safety and Elections Task Force during portions of the mid-to-late 1990s, and was a member of its Executive Committee circa July 2011.  Shanblum was also on that task force's Homeland Security Subcommittee.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
"Corporate-Sponsored Crime Laws"
. . . writes the group's "model" bills on crime and punishment. Until recently, a CCA official even co-chaired the task force. For years, ALEC's criminal justice committee has promoted state laws letting private prison companies operate. And at least since the early 1990s, it has pushed a tough-on-crime agenda.
ALEC officials say proudly that lawmakers on the group's crime task force led the drive for more incarceration in the states — "and really took the forefront in promoting those ideals and then taking them into their states and talking to their colleagues and getting their colleagues to understand that if, you know, we want to reduce crime we have to get these guys off the streets," says ALEC staffer and Criminal Justice Task Force director Andrew LeFevre.The result: more demand for private prison companies like CCA.
Among ALEC's model bills: mandatory minimum sentences; Three Strikes laws, giving repeat offenders 25 years to life in prison; and "truth-in-sentencing," which requires inmates to serve most or all of their time without a chance for parole. ALEC didn't invent any of these ideas but has played a pivotal role in making them law in the states, says Bender of the National Institute on Money in State Politics. "By ALEC's own admission in its 1995 Model Legislation Scorecard, they were very successful. They had introduced 199 bills [that year]. The Truth-in-Sentencing Act had become law in 25 states, so that right there is fairly significant."
By the late 1990s, about forty states had passed versions of truth-in sentencing similar to ALEC's model bill. Because of truth-in-sentencing and other tough sentencing measures, state prison populations grew by half a million inmates in the 1990s even while crime rates fell dramatically.
The American Radio Works report goes on to discuss a case study in Wisconsin:
In Wisconsin, a group of lawmakers led passage of truth-in-sentencing in 1998.
"Many of us, myself included, were part of ALEC," says the bill's author, Republican state representative Scott Walker."I don't know that they know anything about sentencing," Dickey says. "They know how to build prisons, presumably, since that's the business they're in. They don't know anything about probation and parole. They don't know about the development of alternatives. They don't know about how public safety might be created and defended in communities in this state and other states."
"Clearly ALEC had proposed model legislation," Walker recalls. "And probably more important than just the model legislation, [ALEC] had actually put together reports and such that showed the benefits of truth-in-sentencing and showed the successes in other states. And those sorts of statistics were very helpful to us when we pushed it through, when we passed the final legislation."
But a former head of Wisconsin's prison system, Walter Dickey — now a University of Wisconsin Law Professor — says he finds it "shocking" that lawmakers would write sentencing policy with help from ALEC, a group that gets funding and, supposedly, expertise, from a private prison corporation.
Alleged Connections to Arizona's Anti-Immigrant Law
A National Public Radio (NPR) report from October 2010 suggested that CCA, through ALEC, was also responsible for Arizona's infamous anti-immigrant law SB1070. 
Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce says the bill was his idea. He says it's not about prisons. It's about what's best for the country. . . But instead of taking his idea to the Arizona statehouse floor, Pearce first took it to a hotel conference room.
It was last December at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. Inside, there was a meeting of a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Insiders call it ALEC.
It's a membership organization of state legislators and powerful corporations and associations, such as the tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., ExxonMobil and the National Rifle Association. Another member is the billion-dollar Corrections Corporation of America — the largest private prison company in the country.It was there that Pearce's idea took shape."
The report continued:
The 50 or so people in the room included officials of the Corrections Corporation of America, according to two sources who were there.
Pearce and the Corrections Corporation of America have been coming to these meetings for years. Both have seats on one of several of ALEC's boards.
And this bill was an important one for the company. According to Corrections Corporation of America reports reviewed by NPR, executives believe immigrant detention is their next big market. Last year, they wrote that they expect to bring in "a significant portion of our revenues" from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that detains illegal immigrants.
In the conference room, the group decided they would turn the immigration idea into a model bill. They discussed and debated language. Then, they voted on it.
"There were no 'no' votes," Pearce said. "I never had one person speak up in objection to this model legislation."Four months later, that model legislation became, almost word for word, Arizona's immigration law.
The report also mentions that the same week Pearce's bill was introduced, CCA hired a new lobbyist for the capitol, and that thirty of the 36 bill co-sponsors received donations over the next six months, from prison lobbyists or prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America, Management and Training Corporation and The Geo Group.
CCA denied ever lobbying on immigration law.
CCA has spent about $17.6 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies between 2000 and 2010.
CCA spent $970,000 for federal lobbying in 2010. In-house lobbyists and four outside lobbying firms were used. This was a decline from the years 2004-2007, when lobbying expenditures were between $2 and $3 million per year.
In the first quarter of 2011, CCA spent $290,000 on lobbying, employing what the Center for Responsive Politics calls "32 well-connected federal lobbyists." 
CCA continues active lobbying in Arizona. Records submitted quarterly to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office can be seen HERE, and show CCA is listed as a "Principal" lobbyist, affiliated with The Policy Development Group, Inc., HighGround PR (Charles Coughlin), Mollera Alvarez, ZWPA Strategies, Tony Grande, John Malloy, Bradley Regens, and other lobbying firms.
Its contributions to state candidates was concentrated in California, Florida, and to lesser degree, Georgia; according to a Justice Policy Institute Report, CCA gave $1 million in these three states between 2003 and 2010 accounting for 2/3 of its total state-level giving. CCA has given around $2 million to state-level candidates and ballot initiatives between 2000 and 2010. 
Violence in CCA prisons
The CCA operated Idaho Correctional Center has experienced egregious levels of violence, earning itself the nickname the "Gladiator School." The Idaho Department of Correction determined in a 2008 study that were four times as many prisoner-on-prisoner assaults than all of Idaho's seven other prisons combined. CCA employees are alleged to have been complicit in the violence, using violence as a "management tool" and failing to protect vulnerable prisoners from predatory inmates. 
Profits from Detaining Illegal Immigrants
CCA, along with many other private prison companies, was on the brink of financial collapse in the 1990's following widespread stories of escapes, inmate violence, and deplorable conditions in their facilities. CCA's stock had lost 93 percent of its value in the year 2000. The company and the industry as a whole rebounded in the early 2000's following a massive increase the amount of illegal immigrant detentions in the wake of 9/11, which created a whole new market for their facilities. Since 2001, CCA revenue has increased 88%, and they have managed to receive at least $1 billion in revenue for each of the last 8 years. 
In 2011 CCA hired high-profile lobbyist Toby Roth and John Hagood, former head of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to advocate on its behalf in the state. The state recently passed HB 56, which has widely been described as the toughest immigration law in the country, so the intensified lobbying effort may indicate that CCA is attempting to profit from the increased incarceration of illegal immigrants resulting from the implementation of the law. Roth and Hagood are both well-connected to former Alabama governor Bob Riley, who is now a lobbyist in Washington DC, giving the CCA an avenue of influence at the federal level.  Privatization of prisons was tried previously in Alabama with the LCS corporation, but was quickly scuttled after several incidents of escapes and frequent inmate violence. 
CCA lobbied heavily for the passage of S.B. 1070, Arizona's anti-immigration bill. Just a week after the bill was introduced, CCA hired Highground Consulting, one of the most influential lobbying groups in Phoenix, to lobby on its behalf. In addition, Governor Jan Brewer's spokesman had previously worked as CCA's chief lobbyist in Arizona during his time at the Policy Development Group, and continues to lobby the legislature for CCA even to this day. CCA also made other hiring decisions to increase its influence in Arizona prior to the bill's introduction. Brad Regans,the "Vice President of State Partnership Relations," was formerly the director of fiscal policy in the Arizona House. In addition, former Arizona senator Dennis DeConcini was selected to be a member of the Board of Directors for CCA. 
Key people: 
- John D. Ferguson, Chairman
- Damon Hininger, President, CEO and Director
- Todd Mullenger, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
- Damon Hininger, President and Chief Executive Officer
- Dennis Bradby, Vice President, Inmate Programs, formerly with the Virginia Department of Corrections in a variety of management positions
- Steven Conry, Vice President, Facility Operations, Business Unit 3
- David Garfinkle, Vice President, Finance and Controller, former Senior Manager at KPMG Peat Marwick LLP
- Louise Grant, Vice President, Communications
- Lucibeth Mayberry, Vice President and Deputy Chief Development Officer
- Natasha Metcalf, Vice President, Partnership Development
- John Pfeiffer, Vice President, Technology and Chief Information Officer
- J. Michael Quinlan, Senior Vice President
- Brad Regens, Vice President, Partnership Relations
- Herb Spiwak, Vice President, Health Services
- Daren Swensen, Vice President, Facility Operations, Business Unit 2
- Patrick Swindle, Vice President, Treasury
- Ron Thompson, Vice President, Facility Operations, Business Unit 1
- Jimmy Turner, Vice President, Facility Human Resources
- Bart VerHulst, Vice President, Partnership Relations
Board of Directors:
- John D. Ferguson, Chairman of Board, Former Commissioner of Finance and Administration for the State of Tennessee
- Donna M. Alvarado, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense
- William F. Andrews, Chairman of Executive Committee
- John D. Correnti, Member of Audit Committee, CEO of SteelCorr, Inc.
- Dennis DeConcini, former U.S. Senator from Arizona
- Damon Hininger, President and Chief Executive Officer
- John R. Horne, Board of Trustees of Manufacturer's Alliance/MAPI
- C. Michael Jacobi, Former President and Chief Executive Officer of Timex Corporation
- Thurgood Marshall, Jr., son of the historic Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, former Cabinet Secretary to President Clinton
- Charles L. Overby, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Freedom Forum
- John R. Prann, Jr., Former President and CEO of Katy Industries, Inc.
- Joseph V. Russell, President and CFO of Elan-Polo, Inc.
- Henri L. Wedell, Private investor in Memphis, Tenn.
10 Burton Hills Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37215
Phone: (615) 263-3000; (800) 624-2931
Fax: (615) 263-3140
Resources and articles
Related SourceWatch articles
- American Correctional Association
- Federal Prison Industries
- Global detention system
- National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center
- Prison-industrial complex
- Private Federal Corporation
- Barry Yeoman, "Steel-Town Lockdown", Mother Jones, May/June 2000.
- Ken Silverstein, "America's Private Gulag", Prison Legal News/CorpWatch, June 1, 2000.
- Graduate Employees and Students Organization at Yale, [http://www.yaleunions.org/geso/reports/CCAreport.pdf Endowing Injustice: YALE UNIVERSITY’S INVESTMENT IN
CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA] (pdf)
- Corrections Corporation of America, "About" page, corporate website, accessed July 8, 2011.
- CCA Profile, Hoovers, accessed September 2007
- Corrections Corporation of America, CCA Announces Hiring of Harley G. Lappin as Chief Corrections Officer, corporate press release, June 1, 2011, accessed July 8, 2011
- Ryan J. Reilly, Report: Private Prisons Love Mass Incarceration and Want Politicians to Love it Too, TPM Muckraker, June 24, 2011
- Bob Ortega, Arizona Prison Businesses Are Big Political Contributors, Arizona Republic, Sept. 4, 2011, accessed Sept 7, 2011.
- Corrections Corporation of America, Partner Relations, corporate website, accessed July 8, 2011
- American Legislative Exchange Council, Private Sector Executive Committee, organization website, accessed June 2, 2011
- John Biewen, Corporate-Sponsored Crime Laws, American Radio Works, Apr 2002, accessed July 8, 2011
- Laura Sullivan Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law, National Public Radio, October 28, 2010
- Center for Responsive Politics, "Corrections Corp of America: 2010 Total Lobbying Expenditures," OpenSecrets.com, online database, accessed June 27, 2011
- Michael Beckel, Shareholder Battle for Transparency Continues, Open Secrets blog/ Center for Responsive Politics, Jun 7, 2011, accessed July 8, 2011.
- Center for Responsive Politics, 2006 Corrections Corp of America: 2010 PAC Summary Data, OpenSecrets.com, online database, accessed June 27, 2011
- Justice Policy Institute, Gaming the System, JPI, June 2011, accessed July 8, 2011.
- [www.aclu.org/files/assets/bankingonbondage_20111102.pdf Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration], ACLU, November 2011
- Rania Khalek, The Shocking Ways the Corporate Prison Industry Games the System, truthout, November 29, 2011
- Corrections Corporation of America Lobbyists in Alabama, Vincent Alabama Confidential, December 5, 2011
- Top 10 Privatization Plans, Time
- Beau Hodai, Ties That Bind: Arizona Politicians and the Private Prison Industry, In These Times, June 21, 2010
- Key People, Hoovers, accessed June 2011.
- Corrections Corporation of America, Officers, corporation website, accessed June 27, 2011
- Corrections Corporation of America, Board of Directors, corporation website, accessed June 27, 2011