Today CCA is America’s Largest Private Prison Company

Credit: Photograph by Lisa Guenther

CCA secured its first federal contract in 1983, and soon began acquiring contracts nationwide to manage state prisons and build its own facilities, ultimately developing into the fifth largest corrections system and the largest private, for-profit corrections system in the nation.1 In 2014, CCA brought in $1.6 billion annual gross revenue from more than 60 facilities in 20 different states.2

Tennessee’s Private Prison Contracting Act (1986) allows only one private prison to operate in the state of Tennessee.3 But CCA gets around this law by contracting with counties rather than directly with the state. With the new prison in Trousdale County, the corporation now has seven facilities in Tennessee: Hardeman County Correctional Center, Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility, Silverdale Detention Facilities, South Central Correctional Center, Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, West Tennessee Detention Facility, and Whiteville Correctional Facility.4 According to the ACLU of Tennessee, CCA receives over $96 million a year in state taxpayers’ money each year to run these facilities.5

1 Harmon L. Wray, Jr., “Cells for Sale,” Southern Changes 8:3 (1986), 1.
2 United States. Securities and Exchange Commission. Form 10-K. Washington, D.C.: n.p., 2014. CCA. Corrections Corporation of America. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.
3 “Private Prison Contracting Act of 1986,” 2014 Tennessee Code, Title 41, Chapter 24, accessed Nov, 15, 2015,
4 CCA Facilities List, accessed Nov. 20, 2015,
5 ACLU of Tennessee, “Who is CCA?” accessed Dec. 15, 2015, :