Two weeks ago, the chief operating officer of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) resigned and gave no reason for his sudden departure. Maybe it was the string of problems that pummeled the Green Hills-based privately held company over the past several weeks: two prison riots in the western U.S., an escaped inmate in West Tennessee, an inmate murder in Nashville and a related $60 million lawsuit. A while back, CCA officials paid us a visit and brought along a handy flier to set the record straight. As a public service, we provide excerpts below.
Myth: Private companies are beholden to their shareholders' interests above the interests and well-being of their government customers and the inmates in their care.
Reality: All companies are contractually required to deliver a certain level of service.
Myth: Private prisons are anti-union.
Reality: Many privately managed correctional facilities have a union presence.
Myth: Private companies save costs by cutting corners in the areas of operations, food service, medical care and staff training/pay.
Reality: Absolutely CCA does not cut corners to save costs.
Myth: CCA has had many violent incidents' [sic] in their [sic] prisons, with large inmate litigation settlements, so they shouldn't be trusted to manage inmate populations.
Reality: Every large corrections system at some point will experience serious incidents but the true measure of an agency's or company's worth, however, is in how they respond to such adversities.