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Happy Birthday CCA — 25 years of service

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.

GEO Group lands 20-year contract with OFDT at Clayton County, GA facility

According to the press release, GEO Group has executed a 20-year contract, inclusive of three five-year option periods, effective January 2, 2008 with the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee (“OFDT”) for the housing of up to 768 U.S. Marshals Service (“USMS”) detainees at the Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility (the “Facility”) located in Clayton County, Georgia (the “County”). GEO leases the Facility from the County under a 20-year agreement, with two five-year renewal options. The Facility currently has a capacity of 576 beds, and GEO has begun construction on a 192-bed expansion.

GEO expects to commence the intake of 576 detainees in February of 2008. At the 576-bed occupancy level, the Facility is expected to generate approximately $16 million in annualized operating revenues with an 80 percent occupancy guarantee. GEO expects the 192-bed expansion to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2008. At full occupancy of 768 beds, the Facility is expected to generate approximately $20 million in annualized operating revenues with an 80 percent occupancy guarantee.

Detention center proposal off the table for Caldwell County, Texas

Overwhelming opposition met a proposal from Louisiana-based Emerald Correctional Management LLC for a $30 million, 1,000-bed facility that would be used to separately house men and women who had been detained as illegal immigrants.

According to one commissioner Joe Roland,

“the commissioners were told that funding would come from private sources and that the facility would bring in 200 to 225 jobs with an annual payroll of $4 to $5 million.”

Another county expected to host an immigrant detention center for ICE

After some debate, expectations are strong that Gaston County in South Carolina will become the latest county to agree to host a new immigrant detention center for ICE.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants the facility to hold 1,500 beds. It would create at least 300 jobs, with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office running the jail.

The Charlotte Observer reports U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick helped steer the facility to Gaston County after fearing her first choice would fall through.

Willacy County Update

Tent City, an immigrant detention center in Raymondville, Texas that is the largest center in the country with 2,000 beds will expand to include1,000 beds. Management and Training Corp. holds the contract with Willacy County and ICE. Bonds are used to front the construction.

“The county will borrow about $45 million to expand the detention center, selling municipal revenue bonds to investors who will fund the project, Barnhart said.