Thursday, September 30, 2010
Corrections Corporation of America, CCA, is based in Nashville, Tennessee. They also happen to have a lot of friends in the government in Tennessee, relationships that have been cultivated through lobbying and campaign contributions. CCA very nearly had its former chief counsel appointed as a federal district judge in Tennessee, but thanks to a fantastic public education campaign by Alex Friedmann and the Private Corrections Institute, that nomination was thwarted. However, they still have tremendous pull within both local and state governments in Tennessee (as well as a lot of other places), In fact, CCA is so friendly with the state government that they were able to secure a 10% increase in the per diem rate they are paid to house Tennessee prisoners, while the state decided to release low-risk inmates from county jails due to cost. It actually costs the state more money to house prisoners in the CCA facilities in the state than they are charged by many counties. Henderson county in particular charges the state nearly $13 per prisoner, per day less than CCA does. They charge the federal government $7 per prisoner per day less than CCA. Yet the state is sending more prisoners to private prisons. Something smells awfully fishy in Tennessee.