Corrections Corporation of America has had quite a month since then.
CCA proudly claims to be "the nation's largest owner and operator of privatized correctional and detention facilities". Despite CCAs largesse, the American Civil Liberties Union reported in June that four different states chose not to renew contracts with CCA to operate correctional facilities.
A few days later, the Associated Press reported that Kentucky elected to not renew its contract with CCA, thus closing the last of the Bluegrass State's private prisons.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice declined to renew its CCA contracts on two facilities. While the State of Texas claims it is for budgetary reasons, one cannot ignore the numerous deaths at the Dawson State Jail including that of an infant whose mother was forced to birth the child in a toilet. This is just one example of the many pending lawsuits against the private jailer.
Meanwhile the Mississippi Department of Corrections elected not to renew CCA's contract to run the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility after two riots there in the last year. During one riot a prisoner was stabbed to death. A third riot occurred in the same time frame at another CCA operated facility in Mississippi.
Just this month, Idaho revealed that it would seek a new contractor to replace CCA as the operator of it's largest prison. Affectionately (or maybe not-so-affectionately) known as the "Gladiator School" by it's inmates, the Idaho Correctional Center has been the subject of numerous lawsuits, many of which settled out of court with prisoners. The facility has been investigated by both the Idaho State Police and the FBI. CCA even admitted it's employees had falsified more than 4,700 hours of staffing records at the “Gladiator School.”
So what effect has this all had on CCA's stock? Suffice it to say that States aren't the only one's fleeing CCA, investors have as well. According to Yahoo Finance on April 12th, 2013 CCA (ticker symbol CXW) closed at $40.78. On Monday, July 8th, it closed at $31.60. That’s a 22.5% loss of stock value in less then 90 days. It is interesting when writers such as Matt Stroud at Forbes and Seth Jayson at the Motley Fool question investing in a company for ethical as well as fundamental reasons related to financial analysis.
In Arizona, CCA says it now operates six facilities, two in Florence and four in Eloy (both locales are in Pinal County). CCA prisoners in the Arizona facilities come from (CCA calls it "customer base") the States of California, Hawaii and Vermont as well as the US Marshall Service, ICE (federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and the United States Air Force.
The big question for Arizona, and Legislative District 26 Democrats, is why is our Legislature and Governor are now planning agreements to go into business with CCA when other states and investors are escaping?*
Raymond E Linafelter
D26 Precinct Committeeman
* Note: In September 2012, the Arizona Eagletarian cited the crony capitalism practiced by Arizona Republican elected officials and executive branch agencies, providing an example in plans for the Arizona Department of Corrections to contract with CCA.
The opinion column was first published at D26dems.org