CCA: Decision to phase out private prisons won’t affect Ohio facilities

The CCA, which owns a facility in Youngstown, said the move only affects 7 percent of its business

From CCA's standpoint, the privatization of Lake Erie Correctional has been a success, but it isn't clear whether the arrangement is saving money.
FILE - The CCA's Lake Erie Correctional facility in Conneaut, Ohio.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Corrections Corporation of America says President Barack Obama’s decision to phase out its use of some private prisons will not affect operations at its local facilities.

Jonathan Burns, director of public affairs for the CCA said the announcement only affects the CCA’s Federal Bureau of Prisons correctional facilities, none of which are in Ohio.

The Northeast Ohio Correctional Center, operated by the CCA, is located on Youngstown Hubbard Road in Youngstown.

The Justice Department’s announcement¬† to end its use of private prisons follows a recent Justice Department audit that found that the private facilities have more safety and security problems than government-run ones. The Obama Administration cited declining federal prison populations for the decision to close the prisons.

The CCA is among those companies on the chopping block, and stock in the company plummeted after the announcement.

Burns said in a statement that the move would only affect seven percent of the company’s business:

We value our partners, and we will continue to work with them, both through the types of management solutions we’ve provided for more than three decades, as well as new, innovative opportunities we’ve been exploring in recent years in a proactive effort to meet their evolving needs. For example, our real estate-only solution helps government deliver needed facility space in a cost-effective manner while providing its own staffing and management services. We’ve also greatly expanded our residential re-entry offerings, which help inmates prepare to successfully return to their communities. In fact, this spring we won a re-bid of a Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) contract for these critical services. It’s important to note that today’s announcement relates only to BOP correctional facilities, which make up seven percent of our business.

The Inspector General’s report used to buttress this decision has significant flaws. The report’s authors freely admit that they “were unable to evaluate all of the factors that contributed to the underlying data,” and they failed to account for the impact of elements such as population demographics or the scope and efficacy of efforts to mitigate contraband. The findings simply don’t match up to the numerous independent studies that show our facilities to be equal or better with regard to safety and quality, or the excellent feedback we get from our partners at all levels of government,” he said

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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