Following last week’s blogging about the GEO Group’s impressive immigration detention business, I thought I would follow up with an assessment of how its major competitor, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), is doing. With 92,000 beds at its disposal, CCA is the largest private prison company operating in the United States, and bills itself as the fifth largest correctional system in the country trailing only the federal government and three states.
CCA has a long history of involvement with immigration detention. One of the country’s first two private prisons was an immigration facility operated by CCA in Houston beginning in 1984. American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons 97 (2004). It remains heavily invested in immigration detention. During the first half of the 2013 calendar year, it received $107,109,000 in revenue from ICE. This represented 12.46% of its total revenue of approximately $434 million during that period. CCA, Supplemental Financial Information for the Quarter Ended June 30, 2013, at 12 (Aug. 7, 2013). Other significant sources of revenue include the U.S. Marshals Service, federal Bureau of Prisons, and state correctional systems of California, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Colorado, and Oklahoma.
CCA’s immigration facilities run the gamut in size. The Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, for example, has a capacity of 1,752 beds, whereas the Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey has space 300 inmates. CCA, Supplemental Financial Information at 13. The Houston facility that got CCA into the immigration detention business holds 1,000 beds. CCA, Supplemental Financial Information at 14. Combined, CCA claims to have a bed capacity of 6,978 in the 8 facilities it on behalf of ICE.
CCA and other private prison companies have been the subject of scathing criticism, including a 2010 NPR story revealing CCA’s involvement in drafting the text of what would become Arizona’s infamous Senate Bill 1070 (the so-called “show me your papers” law). Despite that, its immigration business seems to be thriving.