Answers for Our Communities
When a correctional facility may be entering a community, local residents have questions, and we work to be as transparent as possible.
Families and communities expect honest, straightforward answers to their questions. That is what you’ll find here – information about careers and jobs, community outreach, design and construction, economic benefits, inmate programs, correctional partnerships, and safety and security. Fortunately, you will learn that there are many positives and benefits associated with hosting a CCA facility in your community.
Question: What kinds of employees work in a correctional facility? Are most of them guards?
Answer: A correctional facility resembles a small town. It takes a diverse staff of qualified, well-trained professionals to keep it operational and safe and to provide quality inmate programming. Our employees specialize in security, administration, management, health services, maintenance, human resources, education, social services, faith-based services, rehabilitation and reentry programs, addictions treatment, quality assurance, training, and more. They are disciplined correctional officers, devoted chaplains, encouraging teachers, dedicated counselors, professional maintenance experts, seasoned managers and administrators, caring nurses and medical assistants, and much more. In fact, we don’t employ “guards.” Rather, we hire highly trained security professionals, who comprise the majority of our employee base and serve in many roles, such as correctional officers, unit managers, correctional counselors and chiefs of security. Additionally, we are consistently ranked by G.I. Jobs magazine as one of the Top 100 Military Friendly Employers in America - the only corrections company to earn this distinction.
Question: Does CCA mostly provide full-time jobs, or are a lot of them part-time, contractual or seasonal positions?
Answer: Corrections is a “24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year” industry. The vast majority of facility jobs are permanent, full-time positions. Additionally, when we’re constructing a new facility, CCA often hires hundreds of local skilled tradespersons. While these jobs last only until construction is complete, it is a welcome economic boost to communities, families, suppliers and local businesses.
Question: How many people are typically hired from the local area?
Answer: CCA typically hires 70 to 80 percent of its facility staff locally. In fact, we strive to hire as many staff from the community as possible. The exceptions to this – because we always put safety and security first and ensure the highest operational standards – are the critical top management positions (warden, assistant warden and potentially other departmental supervisors). These roles are usually filled by individuals with deep experience in corrections and with CCA. As a national company, CCA promotes career development, and the opportunity to work in a new facility is always attractive to career-minded CCA professionals. Similarly, residents who become employed at a CCA facility are also given opportunities to promote from within and relocate to our other CCA facilities.
Question: What kind of salaries and benefits do CCA employees receive?
Answer: CCA employees enjoy competitive salaries and solid benefits that include comprehensive health coverage, a 401(k) retirement savings plan, a 529 college savings plan for their children, paid time off, flexible spending accounts, long-term and short-term disability coverage and more.
When CCA is operating a facility on behalf of a state or local government, our wages for non-exempt employees are determined by local market wages. Our employees are promoted from within, and our salaries are typically in line with salaries offered within public corrections systems.
When our company operates a prison with a direct contract from the federal government, our employees are paid according to federal wage guidelines.
Question What does CCA bring to communities in terms of financial benefits to the local economy?
Answer CCA brings competitive-paying jobs, valuable property tax revenue, utility payments, construction-related jobs and work for sub-contractors, enhanced infrastructure surrounding the facility site location and strong community support, including a long history of volunteerism and community activism.
Question How much of an impact do CCA’s tax contributions make to communities?
Answer CCA’s entrance into a community brings a critical infusion of capital that makes a real difference. When CCA owns the property on which a correctional facility is built, we pay property taxes to the local community. Public corrections systems do not pay any property taxes. These taxes can average from half a million to a million dollars annually and can be used to support important local services like schools and public safety. The utility payments are often about the same amount on a yearly basis. Additionally, there may be one-time construction impact fees, or taxes, that are assessed upon CCA at the outset of a project - funds that are provided to the local county.
Question How do businesses located near correctional facilities fare?
Answer Business located near CCA facilities often thrive, as employees patronize local business for goods and services. Additionally, other businesses are typically established within the footprint of our facilities, especially in the dining and hospitality services industries.
Question What impact do correctional facilities have on neighboring property values?
Answer CCA correctional centers enhance the economic health of communities by creating jobs. But in addition to employing hundreds of people from the surrounding communities, CCA facilities increase demand for housing and other services that enhance local property values and stimulate business growth. According to a 10-year analysis on the impact of a CCA facility on a community, the City of Shelby, Mont. (where we operate Crossroads Correctional Center), found that property values have not been negatively impacted. Property adjacent to the facility grew in value and now benefits from the provision of public utilities, including water, sewer, gas and electricity adjacent to the land.
Question What economic impact does the construction of the facility bring?
Answer A typical CCA facility generates about 300 immediate construction-related jobs to the local area. CCA’s general contractors work to hire as many qualified sub-contractors as possible from the local area, often comprised of between 50-70 percent local sub-contractors. Additionally, CCA and our contractors ensure that all materials that can be purchased in the community are. And, of course, CCA pays applicable sales taxes on these materials.
Question What other economic impacts will there be besides jobs and taxes?
Answer Providing jobs and contributing to the tax base are important, but CCA facilities stimulate economic activities in a number of other ways as well. For instance, a community with a CCA correctional facility can see added revenues in specialized fields like medical specialists and hospitals. The need for specialized medical services generally leads to enhancing or expanding the availability of specialists and medical services within a community. For example, a heart specialist who sees added business from facility referrals may then expand staff (more doctors and nurses) and add new equipment and facilities, creating greater availability to the community for these services.
Additionally, CCA provides high quality corrections at a significant cost savings. In fact, a recent peer-reviewed study published by the Independent Institute, which received support from the corrections industry, found that facilities like ours save taxpayers between 12% and 58%. These are savings that can be invested in additional public safety and rehabilitation programs.
Question Is CCA a good community partner?
Answer We take pride in building strong relationships and alliances with community and civic leaders, local elected officials, nonprofit organizations, churches, residents and other groups. We also work to proactively educate the media, the community and other interested parties about our industry and our company through regular meetings with our Community Relations Committees, which are active at each facility, and participating in local events. These committee members are neighbors, civic and business leaders, media representatives and elected officials in each CCA community. We're proud that when community leaders talk about their partnerships with CCA, they use words like "a responsible, valuable partner," "good and productive," "accessible to the community," and "model corporate citizen."
Question What demands on local services, such as ambulance services, sheriff’s departments, hospitals, fire departments, or other local departments can a community anticipate with a CCA prison?
Answer Unlike a public prison, a partnership correctional facility pays taxes that support local services, such as police and fire. For example, our local property taxes can average from half a million to a million dollars annually. The use of local hospitals and related medical services can actually benefit the community as a source of revenue. Because inmates may require services from specialists like cardiologists or podiatrists, it’s not uncommon for local medical specialists to expand their operations to accommodate these needs, resulting in greater access to specialized health care that previously was not as readily available. Other communities have noted that the presence of hundreds of trained corrections professionals is a complement to existing law enforcement personnel, resulting in an even safer community. CCA has supported local emergency response services in other communities, including hosting training that enhances overall preparedness of emergency responders.
Question Do local taxpayers assume the responsibility of paying for inmate medical care in a CCA facility?
Answer The financial responsibility for inmate medical care is negotiated between CCA and the contracting government agency of jurisdiction, not with local government or taxpayers.
Design of the Correctional Facility
Question What does a CCA facility look like?
Answer Our real estate, design and construction professionals are committed to building state-of-the-art facilities and well-outfitted correctional campuses. The typical CCA facility design represents an innovative approach to correctional facility site development, building construction systems and operational methods.
Residents are welcome to tour our facilities once they open, where they will find clean, bright interiors. Housing units are large, typically with 28-foot ceilings, including a mezzanine area for sleeping cells and day rooms with tables. Classrooms and vocational training areas look like typical school classrooms, with white boards, computers, desks, wall maps and posters. Dining halls resemble school cafeterias. Indoor or outdoor gymnasiums also look like standard school recreation areas. CCA facilities are new, modern, safe and secure.
Question How is the lighting around CCA facilities?
Answer At CCA facilities, exterior site lighting is designed to minimize light pollution. This is especially true with the newest CCA facilities. This enables us to maintain high security and direct surface illumination, with incredibly low outside visibility. This type of illumination uses some of the most advanced technology available. In fact, you’ll find that little league ballparks in neighborhoods have lighting that is brighter than lighting used in our most recently built correctional facilities.
Question Are CCA facilities close to roadways?
Answer Some of our facilities are located in very remote areas and others are in close proximity to residential areas. In all circumstances, CCA facilities have an open channel of communications with citizens and local authorities, which ensures a high level of communication, safety and collaboration.
Safety and Security
Question How can we be confident that your facilities are safe and secure?
Answer Safety and security is our primary mission at CCA. In fact, it’s the highest responsibility in corrections. It’s why we meet or exceed official government standards in each of our correctional centers. It’s also why our government partners have unfettered access to our facilities and strict oversight through contract monitors. We operate according to our own high operational standards as well as those of our government partners and national accreditation standards set by the independent American Correctional Association (ACA). Our guidelines often include additional requirements and an ongoing monitoring process that may even exceed partnering operational requirements. These factors create an environment of safety and security at CCA facilities.
Question How do you prepare to work with local authorities in the event of an emergency? What is the impact on local emergency responder and medical resources?
Answer CCA facilities work in strong cooperation with local authorities. We typically secure a Memorandum of Understanding from local law enforcement that establishes responsibilities and protocol if law enforcement services are needed at a facility. As part of this, CCA often agrees to reimburse local law enforcement for reasonable actual costs should local law enforcement respond to an incident at the facility and request such reimbursement. Additionally, the tax revenues CCA pays go to support the work of local authorities.
CCA facilities are equipped and staffed to handle incidents. While we certainly work collaboratively with local emergency responders, CCA facilities also contribute internal resources to incident and emergency management.
In rare instances when local emergency responders are needed, the company has a track record of working with agencies to mitigate cost impacts, such as overtime and equipment replacement, when an agency requests them. We are not aware of any other community that has had to increase law enforcement staffing as a direct result of demands from responding to incidents.