Corrections Corporation of America celebrated its 25th anniversary as the founder of the corrections management industry.
In 1983, three innovative entrepreneurs – Tom Beasley, Don Hutto and Doctor Crants – had a progressive vision for the future of corrections. At the time, they were faced with some challenging and controversial questions.
Could a service traditionally administered by government be successfully managed by the private sector? Could budget-strapped governments address other public priorities, like schools or public works, if they benefited from cost savings in corrections? Would agencies’ respective policies and protocols be seamlessly incorporated under the private model? Would the private sector successfully respond to the complex current and projected bed capacities, infrastructural upgrades, staffing needs and budgetary constraints facing local, state and federal agencies?
For these enterprising businessmen, the answer was a resounding ‘yes.’
With their legislative knowledge, public policy expertise, familiarity with corrections and financial management backgrounds, the founders turned their forward thinking into a proven solution that has benefited corrections systems of all sizes, population types and service needs for a quarter-century.
Today, privately provided corrections management services have grown in popularity and acceptance. Recent research shows that CCA operates nearly 50 percent of beds in the United States under contract with private corrections management companies. Moreover, the bed capacity provided by the private sector has grown from nearly 11,000 beds in 1990 to more than 160,000 beds nationwide.
“Our founders believed public-private partnerships could help the nation’s troubled corrections system,” said John Ferguson, CCA president and CEO. “Many corrections agencies across the country have turned to CCA, not merely as an option, but as an opportunity. We present adaptable, customized corrections solutions for our customers, solid, stable careers for our employees, and responsible corporate involvement in the communities we serve.”
CCA’s first contract was with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service) for 86 detainees. Today, the company has grown to operate more than 77,000 beds in 65 facilities in 19 states and the District of Columbia.