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Money in State Politics Policy Lockdown Report on Private Prisons Political Influence 2006

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P OL I C Y LO C K- D OW N
PRI SON IN TEREST S COURT POLI TICAL PLAYERS
By

THE INSTI TUTE O N MONE Y IN S TATE P OLITIC S

APRIL 200 6

This publication was made possible by grants from:
Open Society Institute, Prison Expansion/Sentencing Reform Program
Carnegie Corporation of New York, Strengthening U.S. Democracy Program
Ford Foundation, Program on Governance and Civil Society
Joyce Foundation, Program on Money and Politics
Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Program on Democratic Practice
In addition, the Institute thanks the following people for the assistance and expertise they
provided to the project: Phil Mattera, research director of Good Jobs First; Ken Kopczynski of
the Private Corrections Institute in Florida, Alvin J. Bronstein, director emeritus of the ACLU
National Prison Project; and Stephen Nathan, editor of the London-based Prison Privatisation
Report International.
The statements made and the views expressed are solely the responsibility of the Institute.

833 NORTH LAST CHANCE GULCH, SECOND FLOOR • HELENA, MT • 59601
406-449-2480 • FAX 406-457-2091 • E-MAIL institute@statemoney.org
www.followthemoney.org

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TABLE OF CONTEN TS

Executive Summary ................................................................................. 5
Florida ................................................................................................... 16
Texas ..................................................................................................... 29
Indiana ................................................................................................... 38
Oklahoma............................................................................................... 43
California ............................................................................................... 50
Pennsylvania .......................................................................................... 58
Colorado ................................................................................................ 63
Tennessee............................................................................................... 71
Arizona .................................................................................................. 80
Mississippi ............................................................................................. 88
Appendix A: Prison-Interest Contributions by State ............................... 94

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EXE CUTIVE SUMMA RY
Since the early 1990s, the growth of private prisons at the state level and the evolving nature of
state sentencing laws have become familiar legislative topics across the country.
The number of private prisons grew across the United States in the 1990s, in part because a toughon-crime attitude put more people behind bars for longer periods of time. As prison populations
increased, so did the costs to the states. These conditions brought private-prison companies to the
halls of state government with promises of savings.
But what amounted to possible savings for the states also represented potential profits for the firms
getting the business. Thus the shift to privatization was a business move that involved a number of
typical business practices for the firms involved, including the long-established practice of
contributing to political campaigns.
While the companies and their officials were working the halls of state capitols to advocate their
policy positions, they also were opening their checkbooks during campaign season.
During the 2002 and 2004 election cycles, companies involved in private prisons and those
affiliated with them contributed generously to candidates and state political parties. All told, the
companies, their executives, directors and lobbyists gave $3.3 million in 44 states between 2000
and 2004 — a figure that includes contributions from not only private-prison firms, but also the
investment and construction companies, food service providers, health-care management and
counseling services that do business with them.
Florida led all states in contributions, with candidates and political parties there receiving
$647,600, or almost 20 percent of the contributions. Texas and New Jersey followed, with nearly
$519,000 and $323,000 in contributions, respectively. Six states received no private-prison
contributions: Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Companies favored states with some of the toughest sentencing laws, particularly those that had
enacted legislation to lengthen the sentence given to any offender who was convicted of a felony
for the third time. Private-prison interests gave almost $2.1 million in 22 states that had a so-called
“three-strikes law,” compared with $1.2 million in 22 states that did not.
Analysis of campaign contributions made to state-level candidates and political parties also reveals
that private-prison interests:
Gave two-thirds of their money to candidates, who received nearly $2.2
million during the study period. The remainder went to state-level
political party committees.
Favored incumbents, both those seeking re-election and those not up
for election but raising money for future campaigns. These incumbents
received $1.6 million of the $2.2 million given to candidates, while
those challenging a seated incumbent received about one-tenth of that
amount, at $167,250. Candidates vying for an open seat received
$410,830.
Backed winners, giving 65 percent of the candidate contributions to
winning candidates.

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Concentrated their giving on legislative candidates who, if elected, act
on state budgets and sentencing laws. These candidates received almost
half of the money given to candidates — slightly more than $1 million.
Gave heavily to gubernatorial candidates, who propose budgets and set
policy directions and also have the authority to veto laws passed by the
legislature. About $873,300 of the candidate money went to
gubernatorial candidates, who have the power to suggest and to support
privatization as a way of keeping their states’ budgets in balance.
Favored Republicans, giving 64 percent of the industry’s $3.3 million
to Republican candidates and Republican Party committees.
Companies themselves and the lobbyists they hired gave the biggest portions of the funds. The
companies gave almost $1.6 million, or 48 percent of the total. Lobbyists gave nearly $1.1 million,
or 33 percent. The remainder came from company officials, members of the companies’ boards of
directors, construction companies that work on prison projects and firms that subcontract to
provide services to private prisons.
Lobbyists hired by the private-prison industry were the top contributors in 10 states, and the only
source of private-prison money in another seven states.
As part of its analysis of private-prison giving, the Institute looked at corrections legislation and
budgets in 10 states where contributions were highest or where legislators introduced measures of
interest, such as changes to private-prison contracting procedures, private-prison oversight or
sentencing laws.
Some states have recently begun re-examining their corrections policies as overcrowding and high
costs continue.
Lawmakers looked at a wide variety of proposals, some of which would have benefited private
prisons and others that would have shifted state funds away from them. While the success or
failure of the measures can’t be definitively linked to campaign contributions, the companies and
their associates typically targeted their contributions to winners and incumbents, to be as effective
as possible in supporting their agenda. For example:
In Florida, when the prospect of re-opening bids for the operation of
five private prisons surfaced, private-prison vendors lobbied
successfully for the elimination of the commission overseeing the
bidding process.
In Arizona, the industry contributed to 29 of the 42 members of the
committees that heard a 2003 proposal to increase the number of
private-prison beds in the state. Those testifying in favor of the bill
included a vice president of a private-prison firm that stood to benefit
from the original proposal.
Colorado had contracted to house out-of-state prisoners from other
states to alleviate overcrowding issues in those states. But when faced
with its own overcrowding problems, Colorado made plans to prohibit

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out-of-state prisoners. Pressure from the private-prison industry led to
the rejection of the plan.
Texas, known for its tough-on-crime attitude, continues to elect and reelect legislators with that attitude. The industry gave generously to
powerful, well-established legislative leaders and members of
committees hearing measures affecting sentencing.
In Indiana, shortly after becoming governor, Mitch Daniels looked for
ways to turn government services over to the private sector. Within
months, food and nursing services in state prisons were handed over to
the private companies, and the state contracted for the first private
prison in the state.
After taking office, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour emphasized
private prisons as a way of saving money.
PRI VATIZA TION O VER TH E YEARS
Since their inception, private prisons have been sold as a cheaper and more efficient means of
incarcerating offenders. However, in recent years some states have experienced a myriad of
problems with private prisons, from inadequate oversight and misappropriated funds to failure to
meet contractual obligations. For example, a 2005 evaluation by the Florida Department of
Management Services found no evidence that private prisons operating in Florida were operating
at a lower cost than public prisons. The evaluation also found that the state commission
responsible for contracting with the private prison firms failed to adequately administer the
contracts, considered the companies’ interests over those of the state and “consistently failed to
safeguard the state’s interests.”1
Proponents of privatized facilities include the obvious: private-prison companies, construction
companies, their executives and directors, as well as a variety of subcontractors, such as those who
offer health care or food services to private prisons.
And communities struggling with high unemployment and local budget crises are hard pressed to
turn down the financial influx brought by a prison. In some cases, whole communities are
involved in promoting prison construction in their area. Local construction companies,
construction workers, architects, bankers and other small businesses see the benefits. The prospect
of new jobs is hard to ignore.
A long-time proponent of privatization and stricter sentences, the American Legislative Exchange
Council (ALEC) was instrumental in pushing get-tough-on-crime laws. ALEC was formed in
1973 after a meeting of “a group state legislators and conservative policy advocates” who wanted
to create a bipartisan, conserative organization for legislators.2 ALEC members include both
legislators and representatives of private businesses; the organization develops model legislation
on a variety of issues, including criminal sentencing, that can be used by legislators across the

1
“Contract Management of Private Correctional Facilities,” Department of Management Services, Office of
Inspector General, June 30, 2005, p. 7.
2

“Background About ALEC,” American Legislative Exchange Council [on-line]; available from
http://www.alec.org/about/background.html; Internet; accessed April 20, 2006.

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country.3 Legislation the group backed included the three-strikes legislation as well as so-called
“truth-in-sentencing” bills that required convicted criminals to serve a set length of time before
being eligible for parole, usually 85 percent of their sentences. ALEC provided legislators with
model legislation on these topics that was crafted in part by Corrections Corporation of America
when it was a member of ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force.4
But privatization has its critics.
Police unions and law enforcement groups that organize corrections officers have long been vocal
critics of privatized prisons because they see privatization as an erosion of their membership and a
detriment to their ability to bargain collectively for wages and benefits. These labor organizations
have strong lobbies and they contribute respectable amounts to policymakers, as well.
In addition, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other citizens groups have voiced
opposition to private prisons. The ACLU registered opposition to the stricter sentencing laws that
came out of the 1990s, and California chapters advocated specifically for reform of that state’s
“three-strikes law” in 2004. The ACLU also cited the problems that arise when profits are put
before the interests of inmates in a 2001 letter to Sen. Russell Feingold acknowledging his support
of a federal act prohibiting the housing of federal prisoners in private prisons.5
In Alabama, the Rev. Kenneth Glasgow writes: “We should see the urgent cry for more beds as a
short-term solution for what it is – a ploy for enriching the private prison industry.…”6 Rev.
Glasgow is founder and director of The Ordinary People Society, a faith-based organization
involved with social justice issues, including prisoner rehabilitation and ministering to families of
incarcerated individuals.
Still, privatization continues to be a topic in many states.
Oregon stopped sending prisoners to private facilities in other states after scandals and escapes in
the 1990s. However, Oregon is now looking to extra beds in county jails to meet the increased
number of offenders.7
Hawaii sends inmates to private prisons outside the state and paid about $36 million in 2005 to
house 1,850 prisoners on the mainland.8

3

Ibid.

4

Brodie Farquhar, “Where Do Ideas for Legislation Come From?” Casper Star-Tribune, March 13, 2006
[newspaper on-line]; available from
http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2006/03/13/news/wyoming/133e8ce5e0de74e18725712f00272884.txt;
Internet; accessed March 13, 2006.

5
Elizabeth Alexander, “Letter to Senator Feingold on Sponsorship of Public Safety Act,” ACLU , May 8, 2001
[on-line]; available from http://www.aclu.org/crimjustice/sentencing/10297leg20010508.html; Internet; accessed
March 8, 2006.
6

Kenneth Glasgow, “Alabama Voices: Private Prisons Not Proper Solutions for Corrections,” Montgomery
Advertiser, March 10, 2006, sec. Opinion.

7

Alan Gustafson, “Prisons Seek Rental Space As Inmate Numbers Swell,” Salem Statesman Journal, Aug. 15,
2005, [newspaper on-line]; available from
http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050815/NEWS/508150332/1001; Internet,
accessed Sept. 6, 2005.

8

Dayton Kevin, “Jail Riot’s Likely Cause Found,” The Honolulu Advertiser, Aug. 23, 2005, sec. Hawaii, p.1.

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In West Virginia, state officials have not ruled out the possibility of having a new 1,200-bed
facility — needed to address overcrowding — built and run by a private firm.9
The continued need to deal with high numbers of prisoners means private-prison interests will
likely be players in the policy debate for the foreseeable future.
Commenting on a Utah privatization proposal put before that state’s legislature this year, a Salt
Lake Tribune editorial noted: “The prison providers’ checkbooks will be marshaled not only to
promote the interests of one contractor over another, but also in opposition to any reforms that
might reduce the need for prison beds and, thus, for the services of an industry that more than
most … profits from the misery of others.”10
THE MONEY BEHIN D THE POLITI CS
The Institute examined private-prison giving at the state level over the 2002 and 2004 election
cycles. With the assistance of the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First in Washington,
D.C., the Institute created a database of private-prison companies, their executives, directors and
lobbyists. It included investment firms, construction companies, food service providers, and
health-care management and counseling services with interests in private prisons. The Institute
then matched the names in this database against its database of state campaign-contribution
records.
The database includes contributions to state-level candidate committees and state party
committees during the 2002 and 2004 election cycles, including the 2003 gubernatorial recall
election in California. A handful of states hold their elections in odd years, so 2001 elections
would be included in the 2002 election cycle and 2003 elections would be included in the 2004
election cycle. Because campaign fund-raising cycles generally cover a two-year period, the
database includes contributions made during a five-year period — as early as 2000 for states
holding elections in 2001 and going through 2004 for states holding elections that year.
The Institute then selected 10 states in which to examine legislation and budgets, to determine
whether a correlation existed between private-prison industry contributions and proposed or
enacted private-prison policy. Research included analysis of proposed legislation and enacted
policy in areas related to private-prison construction and operation and changes to sentencing
laws, in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania,
Tennessee and Texas.
Contributions in these 10 states totaled more than $2.1 million, representing nearly 65 percent of
the money attributed to the private-prison industry during the period studied.
Selection criteria for the states included the state’s history of sentencing laws, whether or not the
state had enacted a three-strikes law, and whether or not the state had private prisons.
Other important considerations centered around the quality of contribution data, the availability
and accessibility of legislative information, including bill history, committee members, committee
9
“Report Advises New Prison, Possibly Private, for W. Va.” WTOV-9 [on-line]; available from
http://www.wtov9.com/news/5946026/detail.html; Internet; accessed Jan. 10, 2006.
10

Editorial, “Private Prisons: Bill Would Let State Flirt with Disreputable Industry,” The Salt Lake Tribune, Feb.
27, 2006 [newspaper on-line]; available from http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_3544954; Internet; accessed Feb.
27, 2006.

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minutes, witness lists, and votes taken in either committee hearings or on the Senate or House
floor.
Institute researchers followed major corrections proposals through the legislative process, from
introduction to final outcome. Researchers reviewed committee action on the measures and, when
available, identified how committee members voted on the legislation.
Then contributions to individual members of leadership and committee members were tabulated.
If the bill successfully made its way to the floor of both chambers of the Legislature, the
contributions of all members of the Assembly or House and Senate were determined as well as
their vote.
PRI VATE-P RISON GIVING
Private-prison interests gave a combined $3.3 million to state-level candidate committees and state
political parties in 44 states between 2000 and 2004.11 A closer look at their contributions shows a
targeted strategy of giving to candidates most likely to affect the laws and budgets related to
corrections, with large portions of their contributions going to winning candidates and those
already in office and not up for re-election. The companies also focused much of their giving on
legislative candidates, who approve laws and budgets governing corrections in their states.
Picking Winners
Private-prison interests tended to pick winners, as well as maintain their relationship with
incumbents. Nearly $1.8 million of the $2.2 million that private prison interests gave to candidates
went to winners or to officer holders who were not running but were raising money for upcoming
campaigns.
Winners alone received 65 percent of the industry’s contributions, compared with the 12 percent
losing candidates received. Incumbent officeholders who were not running but were raising money
for the next election accounted for another 17 percent of the money private-prison interests gave.
PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS BY CANDID ATE TY PE, 20 00-200 4
TYPE
DEM OCRATS REPUBLICA NS
Winners
$447,752
$960,700
Incumbents Raising Money but not Running
$128,437
$239,027
Losers
$115,600
$146,495
Losing Incumbents
$96,481
$27,396
TOTAL
$78 8,270
$1,373,61 8

TOTAL*
$1,411,852
$367,589
$263,508
$124,427
$2,167,37 6

* Totals include additional money given to nonpartisan and third-party candidates.

Candidates challenging an incumbent received a combined $167,246, or less than 8 percent of the
funds given to candidates. Successful challengers accounted for 59 percent of that amount, raising
$98,111 from private-prison sources.

11
Some states held elections in 2001; the two-year election cycle in those states would include contributions
made in 2000.

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Candidates running for open seats fared better than challengers. They received $410,830 from the
private-prison industry, or 19 percent of the contributions made to candidates.
Contributions from private-prison sources to gubernatorial and legislative candidate committees
accounted for nearly 57 percent of the industry’s contribution total. The average contribution to
gubernatorial candidates was nearly 10 times greater than the average contribution to legislative
candidates.
PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS BY RECIPI ENT TY PE, 20 00-200 4
TYPE
TOTAL
Political Party Committee
$1,136,850
Legislative Candidates
$1,028,309
Gubernatorial Candidates
$873,287
Other Statewide Candidates
$261,479
Supreme Court Candidates
$10,300
TOT AL $3,310,22 6

Sixty-four percent of the contributions from private-prison industry sources went to Republican
candidates and GOP committees. Republicans received just over $2.1 million, compared with the
$1.2 million Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party committees received. Third-party
candidates and nonpartisan candidates received about $5,500.
Picking Political Parties
State political party committees received 34 percent of the industry’s contributions, or more than
$1.1 million in 29 states.
Forty-five percent of those funds, or $510,625, went to Florida’s two political parties. Like several
other states, Florida’s campaign-finance laws allow unlimited contributions to state parties. But in
Florida, contributions to candidates are subject to stringent limits. Contributions to political parties
can be used for a variety of purposes, including advertising, direct mailings and polling that
benefits candidates. Party staff members also recruit candidates and work with them during the
election season.
With restrictions on the amount candidates can receive, individual contributors or companies
could easily give the maximum amount allowed to a candidate’s campaign. In Florida, for
example, contributions are limited to only $500 per candidate per primary and general election.
THE PLAYE RS INV OLVED
Over the years, key leaders in the arena of prison privatization have emerged. This study examined
private-prison operators identified by the Corporate Research Project and by the Institute. The
Project focused on the seven largest firms in the private-prison industry. Institute staff added four
other companies whose names appeared in contribution records. Following is a summary of each
of the companies included in this report:
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) — Headquartered in
Nashville, Tenn., CCA boasts of being the “founder of the private

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corrections industry.”12 CCA manages “over 50 percent of all beds
under contract with private operators in the United States.”13
Contributions from CCA, its executives, directors, and lobbyists totaled
$1.13 million during the study period and spanned 36 states.
GEO Group, Inc. — Formerly a unit of Wackenhut Corp. and known
as Wackenhut Corrections, GEO Group is headquartered in Boca
Raton, Fla. It manages 40 correctional/detention contracts and awards,
representing 43 facilities worldwide and including about 36,000 beds,
with revenues in 2004 of $614.5 million and a net income of $16.8
million.14 Included in those numbers is a 7,500-bed increase that
occurred when GEO Group acquired Correctional Services Corp.
(CSC) in July 2005. Contributions from GEO Group or its predecessor,
Wackenhut Corrections, and their executives, directors and lobbyists
totaled $880,261 during the study period in 19 states.
Community Corrections Corp. — Headquartered in Roseland, N.J.,
Community Corrections Corp. operates 18 facilities in seven states.
Community Corrections Corp. and founder John J. Clancy gave a
combined total $378,750 in six states. The company also does business
as Community Education Centers, Inc.15
Cornell Companies — Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Cornell
currently operates 81 facilities in 17 states and the District of
Columbia.16 Contributions from Cornell Companies, its executives,
directors and lobbyists totaled $184,983 in 19 states.
Correctional Services Corp. (CSC) — Acquired by GEO Group in
July 2005, CSC was originally headquartered in Sarasota, Florida.
Before the acquisition, CSC had 16 facilities with approximately 8,000
beds in six states. Contributions from CSC, its executives, directors and
lobbyists totaled $128,390 in seven states17 during the study period,
which concluded before GEO Group purchased the company.
CiviGenics — Headquartered in Marlborough, Mass., CiviGenics
operates 13 facilities that house more than 3,000 prisoners in 14

12
“About CCA,” Corrections Corporation of America [on-line]; available from
http://www.correctionscorp.com/aboutcca.html; Internet; accessed March 8, 2006.
13

Ibid.

14

“Corporate Profile,” GEO Group, Inc. [on-line]; available from
http://www.correctionalservices.com/corporate.asp; Internet; accessed March 8, 2006.

15

“Breaking the Cycle of Recidivism,” Community Education Centers, Inc. [on-line]; available from
http://www.cecintl.com/Facilities; Internet; accessed March 28, 2006.

16
“Facilities,” Cornell Companies, Inc. [on-line]; available from http://www.cornellcompanies.com/facilities.cfm;
Internet; accessed March 8, 2006.
17

“Corporate Profile,” GEO Group, Inc. [on-line]; available from
http://www.correctionalservices.com/corporate.asp; Internet; accessed March 8, 2006.

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states.18 Contributions from CiviGenics, its executives, directors and
lobbyists totaled $82,259 in four states.
Management and Training Corp. (MTC) — Headquartered in
Centerville, Utah, MTC operates 12 facilities in Arizona, New Mexico,
Ohio, Texas, Australia and Canada, with a total of 9,000 beds.19
Contributions from MTC, its executives, directors and lobbyists totaled
$45,101 in six states.
Avalon Correctional Services of Oklahoma, Maranatha Private
Corrections of California, Minsec Corrections Corp. of Pennsylvania
and LCS Corrections Services of Louisiana — These four companies
gave $91,650 combined, with each contributing only in the state in
which it is headquartered.
In addition, companies that often subcontract with private prisons to provide such services as
construction, health care or food services, gave another $313,356 in contributions.
Giving by the Private-Prison Companies
The private-prison companies themselves gave nearly $1.6 million directly to candidates or party
committees, accounting for nearly half of the contributions from prison interests. Some of the
biggest names in the field — Corrections Corporation of America, Wackenhut Corrections/GEO
Group and Cornell Companies — were among the biggest contributors, giving $1.4 million.
The table below shows the amounts contributed by the private-prison companies included in the
study and the number of states in which they gave contributions. The amounts reflect contributions
only from the companies themselves. Contributions from company executives, directors,
employees and lobbyists are not included in this table.
CON TRIBUTIONS BY PRIS ON COM PANIES , 2000 -2004
COM PANY
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)
Wackenhut Corrections*
Community Corrections Corp.
GEO Group, Inc.*
Cornell Companies
Correctional Services Corp. (CSC)
Management & Training Corp. (MTC)
Avalon Correctional Services
Maranatha Private Corrections
CiviGenics
LCS Corrections Services, Inc.

# O F STAT ES
21
12
6
6
11
6
5
1
1
1
1
TOTAL

AMOUNT
$465,600
$409,200
$353,750
$114,484
$102,430
$100,945
$20,906
$10,000
$5,500
$3,200
$500
$1,586,51 5

* GEO Group formerly operated as Wackenhut Corrections, a unit of Wackenhut Corp.

18
“CiviGenics Services,” CiviGenics, [on-line]; available from http://www.civigenics.com/services.aspx; Internet;
accessed April 12, 2006.
19
“Frequently Asked Questions,” Management & Training Corp. [on-line]; available from
http://www.mtctrains.com/corrections/faq.php; Internet; accessed March 8, 2006.

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Giving by Lobbyists
While the lobbyists included in this report were registered lobbyists for private-prison interests,
they generally worked for multiple clients and causes. However, all their contributions are
included in this report because of the visibility and influence they often enjoy.
Lobbyists have a unique position of access to policymakers responsible for decisions affecting the
fate of any number of legislative issues. In addition, many lobbyists are trained attorneys or former
legislators themselves, extremely experienced in the legislative process. They have familiarity
with not only the issues, but also the massive volumes of law.
Lobbyists gave $1.1 million, or about one-third of the total contributions. The table below details
the lobbyist contributions according to the firms for which they worked.
LOBBYIST CONTRI BUTION S BY A FFILIA TION, 2000-2 004
COM PANY
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)
GEO Group, Inc.20
CiviGenics
Aramark Corp.
Avalon Correctional Services
Cornell Companies
Sysco Food Services Corp.
Management and Training Corp. (MTC)
Correctional Services Corp. (CSC)

# O F STAT ES
30
13
2
5
1
9
2
5
2
TOTAL

TOTAL
$482,915
$346,694
$74,809
$42,685
$42,250
$37,703
$27,575
$21,495
$14,845
$1,090,97 2

Giving by Company Officials
Sixty-nine executives and board members of 23 companies with private-prison interests also
opened their checkbooks, giving more than $385,000 of their own money. Four companies stand
out. Contributions from 13 executives and board members from Corrections Corporation of
America (CCA) make up the combined $183,200 that CCA officials gave. Nine officials from
each of the other three companies — GEO Group, Inc/Wackenhut, Correctional Services
Corporation and Cornell Companies — gave $9,884, $12,600 and $44,850, respectively.
Company officials gave 55 percent of their contributions to candidates and party committees in the
states where they lived. They contributed primarily to legislative and gubernatorial candidates,
giving a combined $317,839. Another $46,250 of their contributions went to state political party
committees.
The following table lists the top 20 contributors among company officials. When officials and
their spouses contributed, the contributions were combined and totaled whether they were given
jointly or individually.
20

Contributions attributed to Wackenhut Corrections or GEO Group, Inc. for the 2002 and 2004 election cycles
are detailed separately in this report. Halfway through the 2004 election cycle, on Nov. 25, 2003, Wackenhut
Corrections changed its name to GEO Group, Inc.

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CON TRIBUTIONS BY COMP ANY OF FICIALS, 200 0-2004

CON TRIBUT OR
Wedell, Henri L. & Marsha
Beasley, Thomas W. & Wendy
Clancy, John J.
Ferguson, John D.
Smith, Donald E. & Tiffany D.
Cunningham, Isabella & William
McDougall, Sean D.
Carothers, Sean B.
Berlind, Roger S.
Phillips Jr., Harry J.
Slattery, James F. & Diane L.
Carothers, Arnold Wayne
Arnold, Sammie
Correnti, Mr. & Mrs. John D.
Burch III, Lucius E.
Eller, Mr. & Mrs. Timothy R.
Prewitt, James F.
Ahlborg, Glenn R.
Babbio, Jr., Lawrence T. & Sheri
Dominicis, Jorge A. & Virginia M.

AFF ILIATION
CCA
CCA
Community Corrections Corp.
CCA
Avalon Correctional Services
Cornell Companies
Minsec Corrections Corp.
Carothers Construction
Lehman Brothers
Cornell Companies
Correctional Services Corp.
Carothers Construction
West Tennessee Healthcare
CCA
CCA
Centex Construction
Cornell Companies
O. Ahlborg & Sons Construction
Aramark Corporation
GEO Group, Inc.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

# OF
STA TES
7
5
1
3
1
2
1
1
2
3
2
1
1
2
4
1
1
2
2
2
TOTAL

HOME
STA TE
TOTAL
$24,750
$115,000
$12,075
$25,575
$25,000
$25,000
$16,975
$17,775
$17,100
$17,100
$15,750
$16,250
$14,700
$14,700
$14,000
$14,000
$2,000
$13,585
$4,800
$12,300
$0
$8,205
$6,750
$6,750
$6,025
$6,025
$2,000
$6,000
$1,000
$5,500
$5,500
$5,500
$5,500
$5,500
$3,425
$5,425
$2,000
$4,950
$2,884
$4,884
$18 0,234 $33 0,024

15

FLO RIDA
By Linda Casey

During the 2002 and 2004 election cycles, Florida political party committees and candidates
received more money from private-prison interests than those in any other state. The $648,700 that
industry interests contributed accounted for nearly 18 percent of the $3.3 million they gave across
the country.
At this same time, Florida lawmakers were considering significant changes not only to the laws
that govern the sentences given to people convicted of crimes, but also to the state commissions
that oversee the operation of private prisons in the state. In fact, by 2004, they had abolished the
Correctional Privatization Commission (CPC), resulting in a significant change in the oversight
and administrative responsibilities of private correctional facilities.
Florida, unique in its approach to correctional facility oversight, created the CPC in 1993. Like
most other states, Florida has a Department of Corrections (DOC) that is responsible for prisoner
custody; unlike any other state, however, its legislature gave the responsibility for contracting for
construction and operation of private correctional facilities to a separate entity, the CPC. The DOC
and CPC responsibilities were separate by design. According to the Office of Program Policy
Analysis and Government Accountability, the “commission was established in a manner to
minimize the influence of the Department of Corrections upon its decisions.”21
Because the CPC operated independently from the Department of Corrections, it had the authority
to “waive any rule, policy, or procedure of the Department of Corrections related to the
operational standards of correctional facilities, if such rules, policies, and procedures are
inconsistent with cost-effective privately operated prisons.”22
But in 2004, under pressure from private-prison firms and amid staff scandals, illegal hiring
practices, and accusations of lax oversight, the Florida Legislature transferred the CPC’s
responsibilities to the Department of Management Services (DMS), in a newly created DMS
Bureau of Correctional Privatization.
The private-prison industry backed the CPC’s abolition because the commission was preparing to
re-bid the operating contracts for three of the private prisons and enforce the requirement that
private prisons operate at a cost at least 7 percent lower than the state’s cost would be.
PRI VATE-P RISON GIVING
Florida’s two state party committees received the bulk of the industry’s contributions in Florida —
77.5 percent during the 2002 election cycle and nearly 80 percent during the 2004 cycle. The
contributions overwhelmingly favored Republican recipients, who were the party in power.

21
“Florida Government Accountability Repor: Correctional Privatization Commission Profile,” Florida Office of
Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, [on-line]; available from
http://www.oppaga.state.fl.us/profiles/1058/right.asp?programnum=1058; Internet; cached version accessed
Nov. 8, 2005.
22

Ibid.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

16

Florida campaign-finance laws allow unlimited contributions to state parties. On the other hand,
contributions to candidate committees are subject to stringent limits of only $500 per candidate
per election, or as much as $1,500 in an election cycle if a special election is needed to decide a
seat. Many individual contributors or companies could easily give the maximum amount allowed
to a candidate’s campaign.
PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S BY R ECIPIENT TYP E, 200 1-2004
TYPE
Political Party Committees
Legislative Candidates
Gubernatorial Candidates
Other Statewide Candidates
TOTAL

DEM OCRATS REPUBLICA NS
$67,100
$443,525
$23,410
$88,223
$500
$12,150
$2,850
$10,950
$93 ,860
$55 4,848

TOTAL
$510,625
$111,633
$12,650
$13,800
$64 8,708

Nearly all of the contributions from private-prison interests came from the companies themselves,
rather than company executives, members of their boards of directors, or subcontractors who work
with the companies. The companies gave about $553,000 of the $648,700 total. Lobbyists who
counted prison interests among their clients gave another $79,000.
Many of the legislative candidates who received funds ended up on committees responsible for
making decisions affecting the state’s corrections industry and private prisons, including the fate
of the bill in 2004 that abolished the oversight commission
House Bill 1875 in 2004 eliminated the embattled Correctional Privatization Commission (CPC),
charged with private-prison oversight. The commission had been targeted for elimination in the
past, but those efforts had failed.
The 2001 Legislature heard two bills to abolish the CPC and transfer its duties to the Department
of Corrections, but SB 832 and HB 727 were amended, and the CPC avoided the axe. The new
legislation (HB 727 as amended) merely directed the commission to limit the activities of its
commissioners and staff.23
By 2004, private-prison interests favored elimination of the CPC because in 2002, a newly
appointed commission decided it wanted to re-open bids for the private-prison contracts rather
than extend the existing contracts.
Alan Duffee, director of the commission before it was abolished, told the Tallahassee Democrat
that Florida lawmakers would direct the commission to extend contracts rather than re-bid them
competitively. The private-prison companies would bring in lobbyists to keep competition out and
protect their interests.24 The problem with privatization, Duffee said, is “when you put government
up against private, for-profit groups, private-for-profit is going to win every time.”25

23

Edwin Bender, “A Contributing Influence: Private-Prison Industry and Political Giving in the South,” Institute
on Money in State Politics, April 28, 2002, p. 20-22.

24

Bill Cotterell, “State Audit Hammers Prison Panel,” Tallahassee Democrat, July 26, 2005.

25

Ibid.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

17

During the six-month period leading up to the demise of the CPC, between October 2003 and
March 2004, the private-prison industry gave 40 legislators a total of $25,450. Thirty-five percent,
or $8,850, of that total was given in the first days of March just before the 2004 session began.
Seventeen of the 40 recipients were members of committees hearing the bill.
Also during that six-month period, the two state political parties received $30,000 in contributions
— $4,000 to Democrats and $26,000 to Republicans. And in April 2004, during the legislative
session, the Florida Republican Party received another $10,000 from the GEO Group, Inc. which
operates three of the six private prisons in Florida.
HIS TORY O F PRIV ATIZAT ION IN FLORI DA
A brief history of Florida’s correctional system provides some insight into the factors impacting
the system.
First, the 1993 Florida Legislature created the five-member Correctional Privatization
Commission (CPC), appointed by the governor, to oversee Florida’s private prisons. The
commission was to contract with private companies to “build and operate prisons at a cost of at
least 7 percent less than the state.”26
Second, Florida granted five private-prison contracts to two companies — Wackenhut Corrections
(later known as GEO Group, Inc.)27 and the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The two
firms opened their facilities between 1995 and 1997; all five still operate today, and a sixth is
slated to open in Jackson County near Graceville in 2008. GEO Group was awarded the contract
to operate the new Graceville facility.28 Gov. Bush had vetoed a 2003 bill calling for construction
of a private prison in Graceville. However, by 2004 the governor conceded, and the 1,500-bed
project is going ahead as planned.
Florida is the only state in the country in which a state corrections department does not administer
private correctional facilities.29 But the state hasn’t been short on administrative and oversight
commissions or agencies with differing roles and responsibilities in regards to correctional
facilities.
The oversight of private prisons originally was given to the now-defunct CPC. The Department of
Management Services (DMS) now has administrative and oversight responsibilities for Florida’s
private prisons. In addition, the Department of Corrections has administrative and oversight
authority over state prisons.
And finally, not to be confused with the CPC, the Florida Corrections Commission, a ninemember board, appointed by the governor, was “established by the Legislature to provide
oversight to the state’s correctional system and provide policy and budget recommendations to the
26

“Florida Corrections Century of Progress —1992-1995,” Florida Department of Corrections [on-line]; available
from http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/timeline/1992-1995a.html; Internet; accessed Dec. 15, 2005.

27
Contributions attributed to Wackenhut Corrections or GEO Group, Inc. for the 2002 and 2004 election cycles
are detailed separately in this report. Half-way through the 2004 election cycle, on Nov. 25, 2003, Wackenhut
Corrections changed its name to GEO Group, Inc.
28

Bill Cotterell, “DMS: Private Prison Will Save $10M; PBA Says Project Will Cost Taxpayers More Long Term,”
Tallahassee Democrat, Oct. 1, 2005, sec. A, p. 1.
29
“Contract Management of Private Correctional Facilities,” Department of Management Services, Office of
Inspector General, June 30, 2005, p. 3.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

18

Governor and Legislature.”30 The commission is also charged with resolving disputes between the
Department of Corrections and private-prison contractors.31 Interestingly, in its November 2003
annual report, the Florida Corrections Commission recommended the transfer of CPC duties to the
Department of Corrections, which runs the state-operated prisons.32 However, the responsibility
remains with the Department of Management Services.
The private prisons opened at a time of continued toughening of Florida’s sentencing laws.
Additional prison beds became necessary in the wake of new get-tough-on-crime policies,
including the so-called “Truth-in-Sentencing Law” that required all offenders to serve a minimum
of 85 percent of their sentences. The state also put into effect laws requiring longer prison terms
for violent offenders, some repeat offenders, and people convicted of crimes in which a firearm
was present.
Florida’s prison population has increased steadily since 1994. In the late 1980s, the Department of
Corrections had instituted so-called “gain time” to allow earlier release of inmates to prevent
anticipated overcrowding. But in December 1994, the early release credits were discontinued,
because of a “reduction in prison admissions and a massive and accelerated prison-building
program.”33 The 2003-2004 Annual Report of the Department of Corrections shows inmate
population increasing from 56,052 in 1994 to 81,974 by 2004.34 The department predicts the
inmate populations could reach 99,870 by 2010.35
PRI VATIZA TION O PPONEN TS
Not everyone in Florida agrees with the value of privatized prisons, including the state’s topelected official — Gov. Jeb Bush. But the strongest opposition comes from the Florida Police
Benevolent Association (FPBA) and in particular its affiliate, the Correctional Officers
Association.
The FPBA is a lobby powerhouse with deep pockets. The association, along with the Correctional
Officers Association and two FPBA-organized political committees (the Law and Order PAC and
the Justice PAC), gave $808,266 to Florida state party committees and candidates during the 2002
and 2004 election cycles.
Just as the private-prison interests favored Republican committees and candidates, so did the
FPBA. Republicans received $574,300, compared with the nearly $234,000 given to Democrats.
30
Florida Corrections Commission [on-line]; available from http://www.fcc.state.fl.us; Internet; accessed Dec.
15, 2005.
31

“Florida Government Accountability Report on the Correctional Privatitization Commission,” Florida Office of
Porgram Policy Analysis and Government Accountability [on-line];
http://www.oppaga.state.fl.us/profiles/1058/right.asp?programnum=1058; Internet; cached version accessed
Dec. 15, 2005.
32

Bill Cotterell, “Senate Panel Votes to Ax Agency; Agency Oversees Several Prisons,” Tallahassee Democrat,
March 26, 2004, sec. A, p. 8.
33

“Historical Summary of Sentencing and Punishment in Florida”, Florida Department of Corrections [on-line];
available from http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/history/index.html; Internet; accessed Dec.15, 2005.
34
“Florida Prison Population Jumps 6.0% Since Last Fiscal Year,” 2003-2004 Annual Report – Inmate
Population, Florida Department of Corrections, [on-line]; available from
http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/annual/0304/stats/im_pop.html; Internet; accessed Nov. 2, 2005.
35

“Bush/Jennings FY 2005-06 Budget Recommendations Supports Department of Corrections Core Mission,”
Florida Department of Corrections, Jan. 18, 2005 [on-line]; available from
http://www.dc.state.fl.us/secretary/press/2005/budget.html; Internet; accessed Nov. 1, 2005.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

19

FPBA contributions came from the four different PACs and went primarily to political party
committees and legislative candidates. The organizations gave about $547,000 to party
committees and $257,300 to legislative candidates. Another $3,500 went to three candidates vying
for the open attorney general seat in 2002 race, including $1,500 to winner Charlie Crist, who is
now running for governor. The FPBA has endorsed Crist in the 2006 governor’s race.36
LEG ISLATI ON AND CAMPA IGN CO NTRIBU TIONS
During the 2003 legislative session, a couple of key bills were introduced to ease sentencing laws.
In 2004, much of the prison-related legislation focused on eliminating the controversial
Correctional Privatization Commission, which had been the target of similar but unsuccessful
efforts in the past.
Sentencing Changes
Two bills to reduce the amount of time prisoners served and, theoretically, to ease prison
overcrowding were introduced in the 2003 Legislature. They would have changed a 1995 law that
required prisoners to serve a minimum 85 percent of their sentences, reducing it instead to 65
percent and allowing the Department of Corrections to increase the amount of “gain time”
prisoners could earn toward reducing their sentences.
Both bills died, with no record of ever having come to a vote in the committee. In fact, Florida
State Archivist Boyd Murphree said no records exist showing that either bill received a hearing or
even that a hearing date was set.37 If the private-prison industry expressed an interest in the
passage or defeat of the gain-time legislation, it is not part of public record.
House Bill 1191, introduced by Democratic Rep. James (Hank) Harper, died in the Public Safety
and Crime Prevention Subcommittee on Criminal Justice. Four of the seven subcommittee
members received contributions from private-prison industry interests before or after the 2003
session.
CON TRIBUTIONS TO HOUS E PUBLIC SAF ETY AN D CRIM E PREV ENTION
SUBCOMMITTEE MEMBERS, 2001- 2004
MEM BER
Meadows, Matthew J.
Forentino, Heather
Garcia, Rene
Antone, Bruce (Vice Chairman)
Kravitz, Dick (Chairman)
Adams, Sandra (Sandy)
Gibson, Hugh H.

DISTRICT
94
46
110
39
19
33
42

PAR TY
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Republican
TOTAL

TOTAL
$1,000
$500
$500
$250
$0
$0
$0
$2,250

36
The Florida Police Benevolent Association’s Web site home page displayed a banner stating “The Florida
Benevolent Police Association Proudly Support Charlie Crist for Governor.” Available from
http://www.flpba.org/index.htm; Internet; accessed Jan. 23, 2006.
37

Telephone interview with Boyd Murphree, Florida State Archivist, Jan. 17, 2006.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

20

Senate Bill 618, an identical measure introduced by Democratic Sen. Les Miller Jr., died in the
Senate Committee on Criminal Justice. All eight members of the committee received contributions
from private-prison interests between Jan. 1, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2004.
CON TRIBUTIONS TO SENA TE CRI MINAL JUSTIC E COMM ITTEE MEMBER S,
2001-2004
MEM BER
Fasano, Mike
Argenziano, Nancy
Crist, Victor D.
Geller, Steven A.
Smith, Rod (Vice Chairman)
Hill Sr., Anthony C. (Tony)
Villalobos, J. Alex (Chairman)
Lynn, Evelyn J.

DISTRICT
11
3
12
31
14
1
38
7

PAR TY
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Democrat
Republican
Republican
TOTAL

TOTAL
$2,250
$1,500
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$500
$500
$250
$8,000

Another pair of bills during the 2003 session responded to revised projections showing that the
state’s prison population exceeded the 2002 projections by 2,695 inmates.38
House Bill 3-D and Senate Bill 4-D allowed the Department of Corrections to add personnel and
provided the funding to do so in the 2003-04 fiscal year if the actual number of inmates exceeded
projections. Both bills asked for an increase of nearly $66 million in the DOC budget and called
for the construction of a new state-operated (not private) facility, as well as construction of
annexes to two existing state-operated facilities. The final bill removed the proposed new facility
and called for re-opening an existing state-operated facility.
The original versions of both measures also asked that the CPC be awarded $75,000 to seek
proposals for the design, construction and operation of a new private facility. But missing from the
final version of the bill was any mention of the CPC. The initiation of any new prison construction
was left to the discretion of the governor.
House Bill 3-D, introduced by Republican Rep. Bruce Kyle, substituted for Senate Bill 4-D. It was
passed and signed into law.
Before being substituted with HB 3-D, the Senate’s version of the bill — introduced by
Republican Sen. Victor D. Crist — won approval in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on
Criminal Justice, with four of the five members voting in favor. The lone Democrat, Sen. M.
Mandy Dawson, voted against it. The bill directed the CPC to request bids for design, construction
and operation of an 1,800-bed prison. In addition, it gave the Department of Corrections the
authority to contract for a 1,380-bed annex at the Santa Rosa Correctional Facility and add
dormitories in existing facilities, while also providing funding for another 1,380-bed annex at the
Washington Correctional Institution.

38

“Senate Staff Analysis and Economic Impact Statement for SB 4-D,” The Florida Senate, Aug. 12, 2003 [online]; available from http://www.flsenate.gov/data/session/2003D/Senate/bills/analysis/pdf/2003s0004D.ap.pdf;
Internet; accessed Dec. 20, 2005.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

21

In the end, the private-prison industry was not afforded the opportunity to bid on a new facility.
CON TRIBUTIONS TO SENA TE CRI MINAL JUSTIC E SUBC OMMITTEE
MEM BERS, 2001-2 004

MEM BER
Fasano, Mike
Argenziano, Nancy
Crist, Victor D. (Chairman)
Dawson, M. Mandy
Constantine, Lee

DISTRICT
11
3
12
29
22

PAR TY
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Republican

SB 4-D
VOT E
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
TOTAL

TOTAL
$2,250
$1,500
$1,000
$500
$0
$5,250

In the Senate’s final floor vote on the House version, HB 3-D, all but three Democratic senators
voted in favor of the measure. Sens. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Lesley (Les) Miller, Jr. and Gary
Siplin all were excused from the vote. This version of the bill did not contain the provision
allowing the CPC to take bids on a new prison.
All but 11 of the 40 senators received contributions from private-prison interests during the 2002
and 2004 election cycles for a total of $38,882. Contributions ranged from a high of $3,500 to
Republican Senate President James King Jr. to $250 to Evelyn Lynn, also a Republican. Those
senators voting in favor of the legislation received a combined $38,382. Of the three members
who did not vote, only Sen. Wasserman Schultz received a $500 contributions from Wackenhut
Corrections.
HB 3-D won House passage on a 90-23 vote, with seven members not voting. Again, the CPC was
not mentioned, and the discretion for any new prison construction was left to the governor. Sixtythree of the 120 House members received private-prison contributions totaling $63,083. Those
members voting in favor of the legislation received $56,573, while those voting against received
$5,010. The seven members who did not vote or were excused received $1,500. The contributions
ranged from a high of $3,173 for one of the measure’s sponsors, Republican Bruce Kyle, to a low
of $100 for Democrat Dan Gelber.
In the end, the private-prison industry was not afforded the opportunity to bid on a new facility.
Interestingly, the industry did not go on record as either in support of or opposition to either
measure.
2004 Legislative Session
By the time the 2004 legislative session began, the focus was back on the Correctional
Privatization Commission, and the writing was on the wall for the embattled commission.
The CPC had experienced a myriad of problems, from staff scandals to allegations of
misappropriated monies. In addition, the private-prison industry was pushing for its elimination
because the commission was planning to re-open the bidding process for the five private-prison
contracts it administered. Legislation in both chambers — House Bill 1875 and Senate Bill 1268
— called for the Department of Management Services to assume the CPC’s duties and
responsibilities for private prisons.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

22

The private-prison vendors, not eager to have their contracts reopened for bid, lobbied to eliminate
the CPC. The St. Petersburg Times reported that CCA and the GEO Group, Inc. “have been
successful since at least 2002 in thwarting efforts to rebid their contracts.”39 A former CPC
director told the Tallahassee Democrat that in the past, the Florida Legislature would direct the
commission to extend rather than re-bid the contracts. But that changed in 2002, when the newly
appointed commission members wanted to re-bid the contracts.40 The elimination of the
commission would take care of that re-bidding issue.
In fact, CPC member Sam Block of Vero Beach told the Tallahassee Democrat that “... the
vendors wanted the commission’s demise just as soon as we said we were going to rebid the
contracts.”41 Another commissioner, Bob Ryals, told the St. Petersburg Times: “They’ve
[Corrections Corporation of America] got their high-powered lobbyists, and I’m just so angry that
I can hardly talk about it.”42
Enmeshed in this debate was the decision about which agency would get the CPC’s duties — the
Department of Corrections or the Department of Management Services. Gov. Jeb Bush wanted to
give the DOC responsibility for private prisons, but the Legislature didn’t share those sentiments.
That’s not what the DMS wanted, either. Its June 2005 report acknowledged its responsibility for
the administration of private prisons, but recommended that the responsibility be turned over to
the Department of Corrections. Even the Florida Corrections Commission had weighed in on the
issue in its 2003 annual report, suggesting the DOC administer the private prisons.
In the end, aided by legislators, the industry’s lobbyists prevailed; the CPC was abolished, with
the DMS assuming its responsibilities. The governor couldn’t veto the bill because he’d made
some budgetary concessions — the victory went to the other side. House Bill 1875, as amended by
conference committee, was signed into law.
Senate Bill 1268, introduced by Sen. Charlie Clary, also would have abolished the CPC. That
measure passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on a unanimous vote.
Private-prison interests contributed to five members of the Senate committee between October
2003 and March 2004. The contributions to those five members accounted for $3,000 of the
$10,500 private-prison interests gave to lawmakers during the six-month period, with $1,000 of
the $3,000 given in March 2004, the month the legislative session started.
The following table details the contributions given to members of the 2004 Senate Appropriations
Committee, showing contributions made in the 6-month period prior to the 2004 legislative
session, as well as the total contributions each of these senators received during the period studied
— the 2002 and 2004 election cycles.

39

Joni James, “Audit: 2 Prison Vendors Overpaid,” St. Petersburg Times, July 27, 2005, sec. B, p. 1.

40

Bill Cotterell, “State Audit Hammers Prison Panel,” Tallahassee Democrat, July 26, 2005.

41

Bill Cotterell, “Prison Contracts Get Another Vote Gov. Bush Spurred Additional Meeting,” Tallahassee
Democrat, May 26, 2004, sec. B, p. 4.
42

Editorial, “Privatization Nightmare,” St. Petersburg Times, May 1, 2004, sec. A, p. 14.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

23

CON TRIBUTIONS TO SENA TE APP ROPRIA TIONS COMMITTEE MEMBERS, 20012004

REC IPIENT
Carlton, Lisa
Jones, Dennis L.
Dawson, M. Mandy
Hill Sr., Anthony C. (Tony)
Dockery, Paula B.
Clary, Charlie
Crist, Victor D.
Diaz de la Portilla, Alex
Klein, Ron
Lawson, Alfred (Al)
Lee, Tom
Miller Jr., Lesley (Les)
Peaden Jr., Durell
Pruitt, Ken (Chairman)
Wasserman Schultz, Debbie (Vice Chair)
Smith, Rob
Villalobos, J. Alex
Webster, Daniel

PAR TY
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Republican
Republican
TOTAL

6 M ONTHS PRIOR
TO SESSIO N
$1,000
$750
$500
$500
$250
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$3,000

TOTAL
$1,500
$2,000
$500
$500
$1,500
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$500
$0
$500
$0
$500
$500
$500
$1,000
$500
$500
$13 ,500

HB 1875, meanwhile, moved ahead after its committee vote and won approval from the full House
on a 118-0 vote, with two representatives not voting. After conference committees ironed out
amendments to the bill, the Legislature unanimously approved it, and the governor signed it into
law. The CPC was eliminated and its duties placed in the hands of the Department of Management
Services (DMS).
In the six-month period leading up to the 2004 session and HB 1875’s introduction, private-prison
interests gave $56,450 — $31,000 to the two state political parties ($5,000 to Democrats and
$26,000 to Republicans) and $25,450 to 40 legislators, favoring Republicans with $18,250 and
giving Democratic legislators $7,200.
Thirty members of the 39-member Senate Conference Committee on HB 1875 received nearly
$27,900 in private- prison contributions during the four-year study period. Of that, $9,000 was
given to 16 senators during the six-month period prior to the 2004 legislative session, representing
nearly one-half of the money those 16 senators received from private-prison interests in the two
cycles combined.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

24

CON TRIBUTIONS TO HB 1 875 SENATE C ONFERENCE CO MMITTEE MEMBERS,
2001-2004

REC IPIENT
Aronberg, Dave
Carlton, Lisa
Argenziano, Nancy
Jones, Dennis L.
Alexander, J.D.
Bennett, Michael S.
Bullard, Larcenia J.
Dawson, M. Mandy
Fasano, Mike
Geller, Steven A.
Hill Sr., Anthony C. (Tony)
Saunders, Burt L.
Wilson, Frederica S.
Wise, Stephen R.
Atwater, Jeff
Dockery, Paula B.
Pruitt, Ken (Chairman)

PAR TY
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
TOTAL

6 M ONTHS PRIOR
TO SESSIO N
$1,000
$1,000
$750
$750
$500
$500
$500
$500
$500
$500
$500
$500
$500
$500
$250
$250
$0
$9,000

TOTAL
$1,000
$1,500
$1,500
$2,000
$1,000
$1,532
$500
$500
$2,250
$1,000
$500
$500
$500
$750
$1,600
$1,500
$500
$18 ,632

House Bill 1875 as amended passed the Senate with only three senators not recording a vote —
Sens. M. Mandy Dawson and James E. King did not vote, while Victor D. Crist was excused. Of
the 21 House members who received contributions from private-prison interest during the sixmonth period prior to the 2004 legislative session, 11 served on the House Conference Committee
on House Bill 1875, which took no recorded vote on the measure. The members are listed below.
CON TRIBUTIONS TO HB 1 875 HO USE CO NFEREN CE COM MITTEE MEMBERS, 20 01-200 4

MEM BER
Kyle, Bruce (Chairman)
Rubio, Marco
Henriquez, Bob
Arza, Rafael
Barreiro, Gustavo A.
Bense, Allan George
Brown, Donald D.
Holloway, Wilbert T.
Kottkamp, Jeff
Robaina, Julio
Troutman, Baxter G.
Murman, Sandra C. (Vice Chair)

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

PAR TY
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
TOTAL

6 M ONTHS PRIOR
TO SESSIO N
$1,500
$1,500
$1,000
$500
$500
$500
$500
$500
$500
$500
$500
$0
$8,000

TOTAL
$3,173
$2,000
$2,250
$500
$1,500
$2,000
$1,500
$1,000
$2,000
$500
$500
$1,500
$18 ,423

25

HB 1875 was approved by the full House, with all members voting in favor except three
Republicans who did not vote — Rep. Gus Michael Bilirakis, Manuel Prieguez and Baxter G.
Troutman.
Why so much emphasis on a bill, that for all practical purposes, eliminates a private-prison
oversight agency? In June 2005, after taking on oversight responsibilities, the Department of
Management Services (DMS) concluded that the CPC had failed to provide adequate oversight
and take appropriate action when contract provisions were not followed. The DMS found
payments were made to vendors for vacant staff positions; overpayment to vendors went unrecouped; contractual requirements and state laws were violated; commissary, telephone and
vendor funds were misused; and contracts were modified, favoring the vendors. The DMS found
that the “CPC consistently failed to safeguard the State’s interests” and the review showed
“numerous instances where vendor’s interest were considered over the State’s interests.”43
The vendors, CCA and Wackenhut Corrections (later known as GEO Group, Inc.), operated the
five private prisons in Florida. A sixth facility contract for design, construction and operation was
granted to GEO Group, Inc. in October 2005 and is scheduled to open in 2007. The $25,450 given
to Florida lawmakers in the six-month period leading up to the 2004 legislative session includes
contributions from those prison companies, their executives, directors and lobbyists.
After the legislative session and the elimination of the CPC, the prison industry continued its
support of Florida’s candidates and party committees. From April through December 2004, the
industry’s contributions totaled $179,842. Once again, contributors favored Republicans, giving
GOP candidates about $13,900 of the $17,767 they gave to legislative candidates, and giving the
Florida Republican Party $145,075 of the $162,075 they gave to state political party committees.
BUD GETS A ND PRI SON PO PULATI ONS
No one has been able to say, with any certainty, whether the private-prison enterprises, sold to the
state as money-saving programs, have succeeded in saving anything.
But one thing is certain — the Florida Department of Corrections’ budget has increased. Its total
operating funds went up 36 percent between FY 1996 and FY 2004, from $1.32 billion to $1.79
billion. The budget increased again for FY 2005, to $2 billion.
As of June 30, 2004, only 6.5 percent of Florida’s prison population was housed in private prisons.
But there’s still a lot at stake.
Currently just two industry giants are under contract with the state. But in a state where the prison
population increased 27 percent over a seven-year period — from 64,333 in June 1996 to more
than 81,974 in June 2004 — prison space may remain at a premium, and the days of empty prison
beds are gone. Predictions call for continued increased numbers. According to the Criminal Justice
Estimating Conference (CJEC), projections show an anticipated prison population reaching 99,870
by 2010.
The 2005-2006 budget added 1,074 new private beds, which will be added to the private prisons
whose contracts the CPC (before it was axed) had attempted to re-bid. The same companies that

43

“Contract Management of Private Correctional Facilities,” Department of Management Services, Office of
Inspector General, June 30, 2005, p. 7.

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26

had successfully avoided the re-bidding and were the subject of a far-from-flattering report are
being awarded additional beds. 44
PRIVATE-PRISON INDUS TRY CONTRIBUTIONS
Prison Industry Contributors
Prison companies are responsible for 85 percent of the industry’s contributions to Florida
candidates and party committees.
The prison industry subcontractors identified for this study included construction firms, food
services and healthcare services. However, they account for only a small percentage of the
contributions in Florida. On the other hand, the two companies operating private prisons, along
with their executives and lobbyists, accounted for $338,557, or 84.5 percent, of the 2002
contributions and $201,517, or 81.2 percent, of the 2004 contributions.
PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS IN FLORID A, 200 1-2004
CON TRIBUT OR
Wackenhut Corrections*
CCA
Bradshaw, Paul R.
Rancourt, David A. & Regan
Bryan, Matthew A.
Dudley, Christopher F.
Villella, Ronald
CSC
Metz, Stephen W.
Daughton Jr., James R.
Sheheane, G. Herb
Becker, Geoffrey
GEO Group, Inc.*
Hance, Kent
Dominicis, Jorge A. & Virginia M.
Zoley, George C. & Donna C.
Calabrese, Wayne H.
Hurley , John M.
Chamizo, Jorge
McKinnon, Pamela
Mirabella, Frank
Yaeger, Donald W.
Keens, Donald

POSITION
Prison company

COM PANY
Wackenhut
WAC KENHUT TOTAL
Prison Company
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
CCA TOTAL
Prison Company
CSC
Lobbyist
CSC
Lobbyist
CSC
Lobbyist
CSC
Lobbyist
CSC
CSC TOTAL
Prison Company
GEO Group
Lobbyist
GEO Group
Prison Company Executive
GEO Group
Prison Company Executive
GEO Group
Prison Company Executive
GEO Group
Prison Company Executive
GEO Group
Lobbyist
GEO Group
Lobbyist
GEO Group
Lobbyist
GEO Group
Lobbyist
GEO Group
Prison Company Executive
GEO Group
GEO GROUP TOTAL

44

TOTAL
$283,450
$28 3,450
$115,250
$23,500
$21,525
$4,932
$4,250
$750
$17 0,207
$81,075
$5,850
$1,200
$500
$75
$88 ,700
$73,284
$5,000
$2,884
$1,500
$750
$750
$500
$500
$500
$500
$250
$86 ,417

Joni James, “Private Prison Contracts May Get a Pass,” St. Petersburg Times, May 5, 2005 [newspaper online]; available from http://www.sptimes.com/2005/05/05/news_pf/State/Private_prison_contra.shtml ; Internet;
accessed Jan. 18, 2006.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

27

CON TRIBUT OR
Aramark Corp.
May, Brian E.
Dudley, Charles F.
Maloy, Patrick R.
Paese, Thomas G.

POSITION
Food Service Subcontractor
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Lobbyist

Adams, Ted
Centex Construction
Bantry Group Corp.
Patchett, R. Dale
Stokes, Spencer F.
Ainslie, Michael L. & Suzanne L.
Bantry Group Corp.
Rapp, Stanley I.
Hensel Phelps Construction Co.
Moss Construction Management
Wexford Health Sources
Sharkey, Jeffrey

COM PANY
Aramark
Aramark
Aramark
Aramark
Aramark
ARA MARK TOTAL
Construction Executive
Centex
Construction Company
Centex
CEN TEX TO TAL
Healthcare Subcontractor
Bantry Group
Lobbyist
MTC
Lobbyist
MTC
MTC TOTAL
Investment Firm Director
Lehman Brothers
Healthcare Subcontractor
Bantry Group
Lobbyist
Cornell
Construction Company
Hensel Phelps
Construction Company
Moss
Healthcare Subcontractor
Wexford
Lobbyist
CiviGenics
TOT AL OTH ER CON TRIBUT ORS
TOTAL

TOTAL
$6,000
$4,000
$1,673
$1,000
$500
$13 ,173
$750
$500
$1,250
$1,000
$600
$150
$750
$1,500
$1,000
$500
$500
$500
$500
$260
$4,760
$64 8,708

MTC = Management & Training Corp.
CCA = Corrections Corporation of America
CSC = Correctional Services Corp.
* GEO Group formerly operated as Wackenhut Corrections, a unit of Wackenhut Corp.

About the Top Three Contributors
GEO Group Inc./Wackenhut tops the 2002-2004 contributor list, with about $369,000 in
contributions. Almost all of those funds — $355,734 — came from the company itself. Company
executives gave $6,130, and lobbyists whose clients included GEO gave $7,000. GEO
Group/Wackenhut operates three private prisons in Florida.
Corrections Corporation of America lobbyists account for $54,957 of CCA’s $170,207 in
contributions, while CCA itself gave $115,250. CCA operates three private prisons in Florida.
A Sarasota-based company with no private-prison contracts in Florida, the Correctional Services
Corp. (CSC) gave $81,075 during the study period, while its lobbyists gave $7,625. CSC was
acquired by GEO Group, Inc. in November 2005.
Lobbyists and Lobbying Firms
Lobbyists account for a large amount of the dollars contributed to Florida lawmakers and party
committees. All lobbyists, with the exception of Aramark Corp., a food services subcontractor,
represented private-prison firms.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

28

TEX AS
By Linda Casey

Texas candidates and party committees ranked second among the states in contributions received
from private-prison interests, with $518,900, thanks largely to the generosity of a high-profile
Texas lobbyist who counted a corrections firm among his clients and whose contributions account
for more than 52 percent of the total attributed to the private-prison industry.
The remainder came mainly from other paid lobbyists for the private-prison industry, prison
companies, their executives and directors. In fact, 70 percent of the funds contributed by privateprison interests came from lobbyists, who often work on behalf of more than one client. Another
14 percent came from individuals who served on the boards of directors for prison firms, while the
companies themselves gave about 9 percent of the total.
Three firms have operated seven private prisons in Texas in recent years: the GEO Group, Inc.,45
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and Management and Training Corp. (MTC).
Currently, GEO Group operates four facilities, while CCA runs two and MTC operates one.
Legislative candidates received the largest portion of the money, with contributions to
gubernatorial candidates a close second. Most of the money given to candidates running for
governor or lieutenant governor went to incumbent Gov. Rick Perry.
PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S BY R ECIPIENT TYP E, 200 1-2004
TYPE
Legislative Candidates
Gubernatorial Candidates
Other Statewide Candidates
Political Party Committees
Supreme Court Candidates
TOTAL

DEM OCRATS REPUBLICA NS
TOTAL
$40,781
$162,550
$203,331
$11,950
$160,163
$172,113
$0
$120,698
$120,698
$250
$17,500
$17,750
$500
$4,500
$5,000
$53 ,481
$46 5,411 $51 8,892

The bulk of the industry’s contributions went to key legislators. Topping the list are chairmen and
members of committees responsible for hearing criminal justice legislation, issues related to
sentencing and issues around the operation of private prisons.
MAI NTAINI NG REL ATIONS HIPS W ITH TH E GATE KEEPER S
Legislative leadership positions in Texas include the lieutenant governor, who acts as the president
of the Senate, and an elected speaker of the House. Rep. Tom Craddick served as speaker for the
legislative sessions covered by the study period, while Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst served as
president of the Senate. Dewhurst received $53,250 from prison interests, while Rep. Craddick
received $34,900.
45

Halfway through the 2004 election cycle, Wackenhut Corrections changed its name to GEO Group, Inc.
Contributions attributed to Wackenhut or GEO Group for the 2002 and 2004 election cycles are detailed
separately in this report.

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29

Incumbents officeholders received $415,000, or 83 percent of the $510,100 that went to
candidates. Incumbents typically have a greater chance of winning their races than do the
candidates opposing them, because of the name recognition they have earned and the fund-raising
contacts they have built up while in office. In fact, 29 percent of the contributions to candidates
went to incumbents who were already in office and were not seeking re-election during the
election cycle in which they received the funds; instead, they were raising money for future races.
Contributions to Legislative Candidates
Texas, known for its tough-on-crime attitude, continues to elect and re-elect legislators with that
same attitude. Lawmakers considered numerous bills involving sentencing and criminal-justice
policy during the legislative sessions between 2003 and 2005. Hundreds of bills were heard in two
committees — the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice and the House Corrections Committee,
both of which hear legislation related to the prison industry, as well as sentencing and criminaljustice issues.
The private-prison industry gave generously to powerful, well-established lawmakers in both
committees. Contributions to the members of those committees account for $42,315, or 8 percent
of the overall total contributions private-prison interests gave in Texas and 21 percent of the
$203,331 given to Texas legislators specifically.
Seven of the 12 representatives who served as members of the House Committee on Corrections
during the 2003 and/or 2005 sessions received prison-industry funds. Two of them — Republicans
Ray Allen and Patrick Haggerty — served in both the 2003 and 2005 legislative sessions. The
other members of the committee served only one session on the committee.
Lawmakers who headed the committees as chairmen or vice chairmen received the largest portion
of the contributions to committee members. In fact, 59 percent of the $20,865 given to members of
the House Corrections Committee went to the chairmen and/or vice chairmen. And 64 percent of
the $21,450 given to members of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice went to the chairman
and/or vice chairmen.
The following tables detail contributions to those committee members
CON TRIBUTIONS TO HOUS E CORR ECTION S COMM ITTEE MEMBER S, 200 1-2004
REC IPIENT
Allen, Ray (Chairman, 2003)
Stick, Jack
Haggerty, Patrick B.
Hopson, Chuck (Vice Chairman, 2003)
Jones, Delwin L. (Vice Chairman, 2005)
McReynolds, Jim
Mabry, John

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

PAR TY
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
TOTAL

2002
$1,500
$1,000
$2,000
$500
$1,000
$0
$100
$6,100

2004
$7,000
$3,765
$1,500
$2,250
$0
$250
$0
$14 ,765

30

TOTAL
$8,500
$4,765
$3,500
$2,750
$1,000
$250
$100
$20 ,865

CON TRIBUTIONS TO SENA TE CRI MINAL JUSTIC E COMM ITTEE MEMBER S, 200 12004
REC IPIENT
Whitmire, John (Chairman, 2003/2005)
Carona, John (Vice Chairman, 2003)
Ogden, Steve
Seliger, Kel (Vice Chairman, 2005)
Williams, Tommy
Ellis, Rodney
Hinojosa, Juan

PAR TY
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
TOTAL

2002
$2,600
$0
$1,500
$0
$1,000
$500
$0
$5,600

2004
$5,100
$3,000
$1,500
$3,000
$1,750
$1,500
$0
$15 ,850

TOTAL
$7,700
$3,000
$3,000
$3,000
$2,750
$2,000
$0
$21 ,450

While the industry giving focused on the two committees responsible for making decisions about
criminal justice, sentencing and the fate of private prisons in Texas, other powerful and influential
legislators were high on the list as recipients of private-prison interest contributions.
As noted earlier, House Speaker Tom Craddick received $34,900 from industry interests during
the 2002 and 2004 election cycles, making him the top recipient among legislative candidates. In
2003, Craddick became the first Texas Republican in more than 130 years to be elected speaker of
the House.46 Craddick’s prison-industry contributions include $21,000 from GEO Group lobbyist
Kent Hance of Texas and $10,000 from Corrections Corporation of America Director Henri L.
Wedell of Tennessee.
Sen. Craig L. Estes topped the Senate list at $7,750. Estes, owner of a Texas chemical and
fertilizer company, also received the bulk of his private-prison contributions from Hance ($2,250)
and Wedell ($3,000).
Legislative Action
The legislation introduced during the study period involved a mixed bag of sentencing laws.
Legislators were faced with a difficult juggling act involving protecting the public safety,
maintaining a consistent tough-on-crime stance, and considering the costs of building and
maintaining more prisons.
Republican Rep. Ray Allen and Democratic Sen. John Whitmire were top recipients of privateprison contributions, and both were prolific authors of corrections-related legislation. In addition
to authoring and sponsoring bills on criminal-justice issues and sentencing laws, among others, the
two lawmakers collaborated on 15 bills.
Rep. Allen, in his seventh term before resigning in January 2006, was a member and past
chairman of the House Committee on Corrections who also served as the chairman of the
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Criminal Justice Task Force.47 ALEC’s
46
“Speaker of the House,” Texas House of Representatives [on-line]; available from
http://www.house.state.tx.us/speaker/bio.htm; Internet; accessed April 12, 2006.
47

“Davis Legislator Named Chairman of National Criminal Justice Taskforce,” Utah House Majority [on-line];
available from http://houseofreps.blogspot.com/2006/03/davis-legislator-named-chairman-of.html; Internet;
accessed April 23, 2006.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

31

membership includes legislators as well as corporate representatives. A longtime proponent of
privatization and stricter sentences, ALEC provides legislators with model legislation on a variety
of topics, including criminal justice issues.48
Between 2003 and 2005, Allen authored 55 of the bills heard in the Committee on Corrections and
also sponsored 13 of the Senate bills heard in that committee. Allen received $8,500 from privateprison interests during the study period.
During the 2004 election cycle, Allen received $2,500 from Wackenhut Corrections; $1,500 from
CCA and $3,500 from CCA Director Henry L. Wedell and his wife, Marsha, of Tennessee; and
$1,000 from lobbyist Dean McWilliams. McWilliams lobbied for CiviGenics, a Massachusetts
firm that operates jails and retention centers in Texas, but did not have ties to the seven private
prisons in Texas.
Rep. Allen made the news in 2004 when it was revealed his staff was using his state office while
doing work on his campaign and for his lobbying firm. Allen’s firm, Service House, has only one
client, the Correctional Industries Association, which according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“supports using prison inmates to work for private companies.”49 But, according to the same
article, “Allen says his company doesn’t lobby in Texas.” Allen resigned his seat in January 2006
to work on his lobbying practice, after earlier announcing he would not seek re-election.50
Between 2000 and 2005, Sen. Whitmire authored 51 criminal-justice bills and sponsored 55 House
bills. Whitmire has served as vice chairman and is currently chairman of the Senate Committee on
Criminal Justice.
During the study period, Whitmire received $7,700 from the private-prison. CCA Corp. and CCA
Director Wedell gave $4,500; Wackenhut gave $2,000; Management and Training Corp. (MTC)
gave $500; MTC lobbyist Allen D. Place gave $100; and GEO Group lobbyist Kent Hance gave
$500, while company executive Wayne H. Calabrese gave $100. A seasoned lawmaker, Whitmire
has served in the Texas Senate since 1993 and previous to that, served in the state House of
Representatives from 1983 to 1993.
In 2005, Allen and Whitmire tried to address prison-capacity problems with House Bill 2193,
which would have “lower[ed] the probationary maximum sentence for nonviolent, low-risk
offenders from 10 years to five and have their sentences come up for review periodically during
their prison terms.”51 In other words, it would have cut in half the time certain offenders were
supervised once they were released from prison. The bill also added beds to halfway houses for
offenders with minor probation violations and increased the number of probation officers, in an
effort to ease prison overcrowding and keep an eye on probationers after they were released from
prison.

48
Brodie Farquhar, “Where Do Ideas for Legislation Come From?” Casper Star-Tribune, [newspaper on-line];
available from
http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2006/03/13/news/wyoming/133e8ce5e0de74e18725712f00272884.txt;
Internet; accessed Mar. 13, 2006.
49

“Blurred Boundaries,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Aug. 28, 2004, sec. B. p. 12.

50

“State Legislator Says He Is Stepping Down,” The Victoria Advocate, Jan. 21, 2006 [newspaper on-line];
available from http://www.thevictoriaadvocate.com/local/state/story/3277791p-3794294c.html; Internet;
accessed April 23, 2006.

51

John Moritz, “Bill Would Loosen Rules for Probation,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 13, 2005, sec. B, p. 8.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

32

The House committee unanimously favored the bill, while it passed the Senate committee with
four votes in favor and three members absent. It also won approval from the full House and
Senate. But Gov. Rick Perry, who received more than $100,000 from private-prison interests,
vetoed the measure when it came to his desk.
The veto came despite little public or legislative opposition. Perry’s spokesman attributed the veto
to the fact the bill reduced the probation sentence for offenders convicted of a third-degree offense
“of assault on a police officer and taking a weapon from a police officer.”52
While private-prison representatives did not testify during hearings on the bill, their financial
participation was not as silent. One opponent to HB 2193 was Sen. Tommy Williams, a committee
member who thought the bill went too far. He warned HB 2193 “would lead to the immediate
early release of as many as 7,000 probationers.”53 Sen. Williams received $2,750 from private
prison interests — $1,000 in each cycle from CCA Director Henri Wedell, $250 from GEO Group
lobbyist Kent Hance in 2004, and $500 from Wackenhut in 2004.
Contributions to Gubernatorial Candidates
Private-prison interests gave the largest segment of their gubernatorial contributions to Republican
Gov. Rick Perry, who received almost $107,000. Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst received
$53,250. Together, their contributions accounted for 31 percent of money given by private-prison
interests in Texas and 93 percent of the money given to candidates at the top of the ticket. In
comparison, the Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor received less than 7
percent of the $172,100 given to gubernatorial candidates.
Perry and Dewhurst won office in 2002 and were not up for re-election in 2004, although both
continued to raise money. And private-prison interests continued to give, with Perry receiving 29
percent of his funds in 2004 and Dewhurst receiving 61 percent of his funds in the off-election
cycle.
Topping Perry’s list of prison-related contributors was GEO Group lobbyist and former
Republican Congressman Kent Hance, with $75,000.
Thomas W. Beasley of Tennessee, CCA co-founder, gave only one contribution in Texas —
$10,000 to Perry in 2002. That put Beasley second on the list of prison-industry contributors to the
governor. CCA itself gave Perry an additional $5,000, while CCA lobbyist Randy K. Haynie gave
two contributions totaling $6,913.
The following table details contributions to Gov. Perry over the four-year period.

52

Sarah Moore, “Prisons Edging Toward Overflow,” The Beaumont Enterprise, June 26, 2005, [newspaper online]; available from
http://www.southeasttexaslive.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=14759623&BRD=2287&PAG=461&dept_id
=512588&rfi=6; Internet; accessed Feb. 8, 2005.

53
John Moritz and Ellena F. Morrison, “House Bill Reduced Terms of Probations,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram,
May 25, 2005, sec. B. p. 1.

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

33

PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS TO GOV. R ICK PERRY, 2 001-20 04
CON TRIBUT OR
Hance, Mr. & Mrs. Kent
Beasley, Thomas W.
Haynie, Randy K.
CCA
Phillips, Jr., Harry J.
Eller, Mr. & Mrs. Timothy R.
Sysco Corp.
Burch III, Lucius E.
Chase, Anthony
McWilliams, Andrea Beynon & Dean

POSITION
COM PANY
Lobbyist
GEO Group
Prison Company Executive
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Prison Company
CCA
Prison Company Director
Cornell Companies
Construction Company
Centex Construction
Food Service Subcontractor
Sysco Corp.
Prison Company Director
CCA
Prison Company Director
Cornell
Lobbyist
CiviGenics
TOTAL

TOTAL
$75,000
$10,000
$6,913
$5,000
$3,000
$2,500
$1,500
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$10 6,913

PRI VATE P RISONS IN TE XAS
In the 1990s, large construction projects costing more than $2 billion increased the number of beds
in Texas correctional facilities. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates and
oversees state prisons, as well as state jails, pre-release centers and medical and treatment centers.
A TDCJ report issued in 2000 detailed the increasing population in all state-run facilities.
According to the report, in order to accommodate an offender population that increased from
48,320 to 146,930 between 1990 and 1999, 70 new facilities were built, adding to the 39 existing
facilities.54 According to Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Karen Hall, Texas had 39
prisons and private pre-release facilities in 1990.55
Today there are 106 facilities — prisons, state jails, pre-release facilities, medical facilities and
substance abuse centers, as well as transfer facilities — housing state-level offenders. Any change
in the number of facilities is due to assimilation, combining two facilities, or the TDCJ turning
jurisdiction of a facility over to another state agency, such as the Texas Youth Commission.
Seven of the prisons are private prisons. The prisoners housed in these private facilities account
for a small number of the state’s prison beds. As of Aug. 31, 2003, the private-prison population
totaled 4,075, or less than 3 percent of Texas’ offender population.56
Although small in comparison to the Texas prison system as a whole, the privatized facilities still
attract the giant private-prison firms to the table.
GEO Group, Inc. currently operates four of the seven facilities, while CCA runs two and MTC
operates one.

54
“Closing Of A Millennium: Reviewing the Past Decade,” Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Financial
Services Division, 2000, p. 8.
55

Telephone interview with Karen Hall, Texas Department of Ciminal Justice, April 4, 2006.

56

“Agency Strategic Plan for the Fiscal Years 2005-09,” Texas Department of Criminal Justice, June 28, 2004,
p. 15.

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34

PRI VATE-P RISON GIVING
Texas candidates and party committees raised $518,892 from private-prison industry sources,
accounting for 16 percent of the $3.3 million the industry gave during the period studied.
GEO Group and CCA, along with their executives, directors and lobbyists, gave 70 percent of the
total contributions attributed to private-prison industry sources during the 2002 and 2004 election
cycles. They accounted for a combined total of almost $363,700 to Texas candidates and party
committees. On the other hand, MTC contributions paled in comparison, totaling only $6,600.
Republican candidate and political party committees fared better than their Democratic
counterparts. Private-prison industry contributors overwhelmingly favored Texas’ Republican
candidates and the Texas Republican Party in the 2002 and 2004 election cycles, giving GOP
committees $465,400, compared with the $53,500 given to Democrats. The contributions to
Republicans — who not only controlled the Texas Legislature, but also held the governor’s office
and other statewide offices — accounted for nearly 90 percent of the campaign funds that privateprison interests gave in Texas during the 2002 and 2004 election cycles.
Lobbyists were the top private-prison industry contributors.57 Key lobbyists who gave during the
study period included:
Kent Hance, a retired Texas congressman who is listed with the Texas
Ethics Commission as representing the GEO Group in 2004. He is also
identified in the press as a lobbyist for Atlantic Shores Healthcare,
Inc.,58 registered as a subsidiary owned by the GEO Group.59 Hance
gave 161 contributions totaling almost $270,000 to Texas candidates,
accounting for nearly three-quarters of the money contributed by
lobbyists affiliated with the prison industry. His contributions went to
many people in key positions involving corrections issues. Lt. Gov.
David Dewhurst, who acts as president of the Senate, received $30,000
from Hance, while Rep. Tom Craddick, who was elected House
speaker in 2003, received $21,000. In addition, Hance gave $4,765 to
members of the two committees hearing private-prison industry-related
legislation, with $3,000 of that amount going to either the chairman or
the vice chairman of the committee.
Hance, arguably one of the best examples of an influential and wellconnected lobbyist, has an impressive set of credentials, ranging from
his stints as a Democratic congressman and chairman of the Texas
57

The lobbyists included in this report do not lobby exclusively for private-prison companies or for prison
subcontractors. While their efforts on behalf of the industry are not exclusive, all of their contributions are
included in this report because, in some cases, they have unlimited access to policymakers. The visibility they
enjoy, because they lobby for other interests, affords them a unique position of access to those individuals
making decisions on the fate of any number of legislative issues. In addition, many are trained attorneys or
former legislators themselves, extremely experienced in the legislative process. They have familiarity not only
with the issues, but also with the massive volumes of law.
58

Lisa Sorg, “Shortchanged,” San Antonio Current, May 19, 2005 [newspaper on-line]; available from
http://www.zwire.com/site/printerFriendly.cfm?brd=2318&dept_id=484045&newsid=14547782; Internet;
accessed Dec. 29, 2005.

59
“What We Do,” GEO Group, Inc. [on-line]; available from http://www.wcc-corrections.com/whatwedo.asp;
Internet; accessed April 12, 2006.

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Railroad Commission, “which regulates the oil, gas and transportation
industries in Texas,”60 to his efforts on behalf of Gov. Perry’s reelection campaign and George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns.61
Hance was a Bush Pioneer, an elite group of donors and fund-raisers
responsible for raising a substantial portion of the money for Bush’s
presidential contests.62
Andrea Beynon McWilliams and Dean McWilliams, whose firm of
McWilliams and Associates lobbies for Civigenics, ranked second
among lobbyists, giving a combined total of $74,550 during the study
period. Almost 70 percent of their contributions went to legislative
candidates, and 71 percent of those funds went to Republicans.
Members of the two committees hearing prison legislation received
$6,000. In 2003, the McWilliams’ were listed as Bush Pioneers.63
Randy K. Haynie, a CCA lobbyist who gave $6,913 to Gov. Rick
Perry’s re-election campaign in 2002.

PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS IN TEXAS, 2001- 2004
CON TRIBUT OR
Hance, Mr. & Mrs. Kent
Floyd, Robert C.
Calabrese, Wayne H. & Rhonda E.
Hurley, John M.
Wedell, Henri L. & Marsha
CCA
Beasley, Thomas W.
Haynie, Randy K.
McDaniel, Demetrius
Burch III, Lucius E.
Lingo, Jr., Irving E.
Puryear Jr., G.A. (Gus)
Shanblum, Laurie
Keel, Lara Laneri
McWilliams, Andrea Beynon & Dean

POSITION
COM PANY
Lobbyist
GEO Group
Lobbyist
GEO Group
Prison Company Executive
GEO Group
Prison Company Executive
GEO Group
GEO GROUP TOTAL
Prison Company Executive
CCA
Prison Company
CCA
Prison Company Executive
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Prison Company Director
CCA
Prison Company Executive
CCA
Prison Company Executive
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
CCA TOTAL
Lobbyists
CiviGenics
CIV IGENIC S TOTA L

TOTAL
$269,963
$1,500
$450
$250
$27 2,163
$49,500
$19,000
$10,000
$6,913
$1,822
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$295
$91 ,530
$74,549
$74 ,549

60
“Lobbyists: Hon. Kent Hance,” Parry, Romani, DeCocini & Symms [on-line]; available from
http://www.lobbycongress.com/hance.html; Internet; accessed Dec. 29, 2005.
61

Hance, Scarborough, Wright, Ginsberg & Brusilow, L.L.P. [on-line]; available from
http://www.hswgb.com/att_kent.htm; Internet; accessed Dec. 7, 2005.

62

“Pioneers for 2004,” Texans for Public Justice [on-line]; available from
http://www.tpj.org/docs/pioneers/pioneers_search_exec.jsp?function=2004Pioneers; Internet; accessed Dec. 7,
2005.

63

“The Bush Campaign Has Named 538 Pioneers,” Texans for Public Justice [on-line]; available from
http://tpj.org/pioneers/newpioneers/all_pioneers.html; Internet; accessed on Feb. 14, 2006.

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CON TRIBUT OR
Cunningham, Isabella & William
Cornell Companies
Phillips Jr., Harry J.
Chase, Anthony
Centex Construction
Eller, Mr. & Mrs. Timothy R.
Echols, Leldon E.
Albright, Michael S.
Place, Allen D. & Tonya
MTC
CSC
Slattery, James F.
Wackenhut Corrections
Sysco Corp.
Aramark Corp.
Cooper, Cary

POSITION
Prison Company Director
Prison Company
Prison Company Director
Prison Company Director

COM PANY
Cornell
Cornell
Cornell
Cornell
COR NELL T OTAL
Construction Company
Centex
Construction Company Executive
Centex
Construction Company Executive
Centex
Construction Company Executive
Centex
CEN TEX TO TAL
Lobbyists
MTC
Prison Company
MTC
MTC TOTAL
Prison Company
CSC
Lobbyist
CSC
CSC TOTAL
Prison Company
Wackenhut
Food Service Subcontractor
Sysco
Food Service Subcontractor
Aramark
Healthcare Subcontractor
U of Texas
Director
Medical Branch
TOT AL OTH ER CON TRIBUT ORS
TOTAL

CCA = Corrections Corporation of America
MTC = Management and Training Corp.
CSC = Correctional Services Corp.
GEO Group formerly operated as Wackenhut Corrections, a unit of Wackenhut Corp.

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TOTAL
$15,750
$5,000
$4,800
$2,250
$27 ,800
$13,000
$5,500
$1,250
$100
$19 ,850
$4,100
$2,500
$6,600
$1,000
$1,000
$2,000
$18,250
$3,000
$2,700
$450
$24 ,400
$51 8,892

IND IANA
By Denise Roth Barber

While states like Florida and Tennessee turned to privatization of state prisons in the 1990s,
Indiana is only now taking its cue, or so it would seem if current events — and campaign
contributions — are a harbinger of things to come.
From 2001 through 2004, seven private-prison interests gave more than $226,000 to state-level
candidates and party committees in the Hoosier State. Most of their contributions — $166,604 —
were made during the 2004 election cycle, when then-incumbent Gov. Joseph Kernan ran an
unsuccessful re-election bid against Republican challenger Mitch Daniels. Hedging their bets,
prison interests gave $52,900 to Daniels and $48,500 to Kernan.
Shortly after Daniels became governor in January 2005, he began to look for ways to “turn over
any area of government to the private sector if it improves state services while cutting costs.”64
This was good news for the private corrections industry. Over the next several months, the Indiana
Department of Correction (DOC) awarded three contracts to private-prison companies:
Philadelphia-based Aramark Corp., a food service provider, won a
contract for food preparation in the state prisons, a service previously
provided by the state.65 The governor hailed this move as saving the
state nearly $12 million per year.66
The DOC then privatized nursing services, also previously provided by
state employees,67 when it awarded its inmate health care contract to St.
Louis-based Correctional Medical Services Inc.
In late August 2005, the Florida-based GEO Group, Inc. won a $53
million68 contract for the operation and management of the New Castle
Correctional facility, the first private prison for state inmates. 69

64
Mary Beth Schneider, “Private Sector Will Run New Castle State Prison,” Indianapolis Star, Aug. 24, 2005
[newspaper on-line]; available from
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050824/NEWS02/508240462; Internet; accessed Dec. 8,
2005.
65
Java Ahmed, “Indiana Department of Correction Saves $11.5 M in Tax Dollars,” Indiana Department of
Correction, May 17, 2005 [on-line]; available from http://www.ai.org/indcorrection/news/0505aramark.htm;
Internet; accessed Dec. 30, 2005.
66
Mary Beth Schneider, “Prisons Go to the 99-Cent Menu,” Indianapolis Star, May 18, 2005 [newspaper online]; available from http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050518/NEWS02/505180421/10;
Internet; accessed Dec. 7, 2005.
67

Java Ahmed, “Indiana Department of Correction Announces New Partnership to Save Over $19 Million,”
Indiana Department of Correction, Aug. 3, 2005 [on-line]; available from
http://www.ai.org/indcorrection/news/0805medical.htm; Internet; accessed Dec. 6, 2005.
68

Political Notebook, “Democrats Rip Daniels on Out-of-State Contracts,” FortWayne.com, Nov. 6, 2005
[newspaper on-line]; available from http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/news/local/13096297.htm;
Internet; accessed Dec. 2, 2005.
69
Java Amad, “The Indiana Department of Correction Selects GEO Group, Inc. to Begin Contract Negotiations
for Operation of the New Castle Facility,” Indiana Department of Correction, Aug. 30, 2005 [on-line]; available
from http://www.in.gov/indcorrection/news/083005NewcastleGEO.htm; Internet; accessed Dec. 30, 2005.

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38

A CLOSE L OOK AT PRISO N-INDU STRY MONEY I N INDI ANA, 2 001-20 04
Seven private-prison companies gave more than $226,000 combined during the four-year study
period. And they might have given more, were they not restricted by the state’s contribution
limits. Although individuals and political action committees could give unlimited amounts to
candidates, corporations could only give a maximum of $5,000 to any statewide candidate and
$2,000 to any legislative candidate in any given year.
Thanks to hefty contributions from one of its lobbying firms, Corrections Corporation of America
(CCA), the nation’s largest owner and operator of private prisons,70 was the largest contributor
among the private-prison interests in Indiana, giving just under $200,000 over the four-year
period.
Barnes and Thornburg, which provided legal and lobbying services for CCA among other
clients,71 gave almost $175,000 in contributions, or 77 percent of the total given. CCA itself
directly contributed $22,750, and Thomas Beasley, one of the company’s founders, gave $2,000.

PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS IN INDIAN A, 200 1-2004
CON TRIBUT OR
Barnes & Thornburg
Beasley, Thomas W.
CCA

Prison Health Services
Aramark Corp.
Correctional Services Corp.
GEO Group, Inc.
Wackenhut Corrections
Cornell Companies

POSITION
Lobbyist
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company

COM PANY
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA TOTAL

Healthcare Mgmt &
Counseling Subcontractor
Prison Health Services
Food Service Subcontractor
Aramark Corp.
Prison Company
CSC
Prison Company
GEO Group
Prison Company
Wackenhut
Prison Company
Cornell
TOT AL OTH ER CON TRIBUT ORS
TOTAL

TOTAL
$174,554
$2,000
$22,750
$19 9,304
$5,500
$5,000
$5,000
$5,000
$5,000
$2,000
$27 ,500
$22 6,804

CCA = Corrections Corporation of America
GEO Group formerly operated as Wackenhut Corrections, a unit of Wackenhut Corp.

In addition to CCA, four other private-prison companies made political contributions, as well,
although to a significantly smaller degree, and focused their giving entirely on the 2004
governor’s race. Correctional Services Corp. gave Democratic Gov. Kernan $5,000, while the
GEO Group Inc., and Wackenhut Corrections gave $10,000 total to his Republican challenger,
Mitch Daniels. Cornell Companies gave $2,000 to Daniels.

70
“About CCA,” Corrections Corporation of America [on-line]; available from
http://www.correctionscorp.com/aboutcca.html; Internet, accessed Dec. 30, 2005.
71

“2004 Employer Registered Lobbyist,” Indiana Lobby Registration Commission, Feb. 10, 2004 [on-line];
available from http://www.IN.gov/cgi-bin/ilrc/ilrc_displayv1.5.pl?file=2004buslis; Internet; accessed Dec. 30,
2005.

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39

Two prison service companies also made contributions to candidates. Prison Health Services Inc.,
which had a contract with the DOC to provide health care services to the state’s prisons and jails,
gave $3,500 to then-Gov. Frank O’Bannon, and $2,000 to the Indiana Democratic Party. Aramark
Corporation, a food service provider, made a $5,000 contribution to Kernan’s re-election
campaign in 2004.
ON THE RE CEIVIN G END
Candidates running for the governor or lieutenant governor seat received $129,650 from prisonindustry contributors, more than half of all the money given over the four years. Not surprisingly,
the 2004 gubernatorial candidates received the lion’s share of that money. Democrat Joseph
Kernan, who became governor in September 2003 after Frank O’Bannon died, received $48,500
during his unsuccessful re-election bid in 2004, slightly less than the $52,900 given to Republican
Mitch Daniels, who won the race. During the 2002 cycle, when he was not even up for election,
then-Gov. O’Bannon received $10,500.
The state political parties and legislative caucuses received $52,800 from prison interests, with the
Indiana Democratic Party receiving $19,050, slightly higher than the $18,250 given to the state
GOP. The four legislative caucuses received a total of $15,500.
PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S BY R ECIPIENT TYP E, 200 1-2004
TYPE
Gubernatorial Candidates
Political Party Committees
Other Statewide Candidates
Legislative Candidates
TOTAL

DEM OCRATS REPUBLICA NS
$58,150
$71,500
$27,400
$25,400
$7,750
$29,700
$3,000
$3,904
$10 9,650
$11 7,154

TOTAL
$129,650
$52,800
$37,450
$6,904
$22 6,804

Candidates running for other statewide offices received a collective total of $37,450, all from
CCA’s lobby firm, Barnes and Thornburg, which had other clients as well.
State Treasurer Timothy Berry received $10,000 during his 2002 re-election campaign and an
additional $5,000 in 2003, after he won. Secretary of State Todd Rokita received $5,000 during his
2002 election campaign and $2,700 after he took office.
The following table details the amounts that the top recipients of industry contributions received.

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TOP RECIP IENTS OF PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S, 200 1-2004
REC IPIENT
Kernan, Joseph E.
Daniels, Mitch
Indiana Democratic Party
Indiana Republican Party
Berry, Timothy J.
O’Bannon, Frank L.
Rokita, Todd
Carter, Steve
Davis, Kathy
Indiana House Democratic Caucus

PAR TY
Democrat
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Democrat

OFF ICE
Governor/Lt. Governor
Governor
Party Committee
Party Committee
Treasurer
Governor
Secretary of State
Attorney General
Lt. Governor
Party Committee

TOTAL
$55,000
$52,900
$19,050
$18,250
$15,000
$10,500
$7,700
$7,000
$6,000
$6,000

Legislative candidates were apparently not high on the priority list for the correction industry,
receiving just $6,904, or 3 percent of the total. All of these funds came from CCA and those
associated with the company. The company was strategic in its giving, however, ensuring its
money went to those who held key legislative positions:
Republican Rep. Jeff Espich, chairman of the House Ways and Means
Committee, received $1,000 during each of the two election cycles.
Then-Sen. Lawrence Borst, a Republican who served as chairman of
the Senate Finance Committee until he lost his re-election bid during
the primary election in 2004, received $1,000 in 2002 and $904 in
2004.
House Democratic Leader Pat Bauer received $1,500 over the two
election cycles.
Democratic Sen. Vi Simpson, ranking minority member of the
Appropriations Committee, received $1,000 during the 2002 cycle.
Sen. Glenn Howard, a Democrat, received $500 in 2003. Howard was a
member of the Senate Corrections, Criminal & Civil Matters
Committee, as well as the state’s Sentencing Policy Study Committee,
which conducts comprehensive reviews of the state’s current
sentencing structure and makes recommendations for reform based on
the reviews.
DID IT PA Y TO P LAY?
An analysis of the contributions by private-prison interests and ensuing state policies actually
showed little to no correlation between the two. For example, CCA also bid on the lucrative DOC
contract to operate the New Castle Facility,72 but lost out to the GEO Group. Yet CCA, along with
Barnes and Thornburg and founder Thomas Beasley, gave $40,900 to Gov. Daniels’ campaign —
72
E-mail correspondence from Java Ahmed, Director of Public & Media Relations, Indiana Department of
Correction, Dec. 2, 2005.

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41

almost five times the $10,000 given by GEO Group in 2004 and in 2003, when it was still called
Wackenhut Corrections.
In addition, Prison Health Services Inc. gave $3,500 to then-Gov. O’Bannon in January 2002 and
$2,000 to the Indiana Democratic Party in June 2001. However, the company lost its bid in 2005
for a renewed contract with the state to provide health care services to Indiana’ prisons and jails.
Instead, the contract was awarded to the St. Louis-based Correctional Medical Services Inc.,
which made no contributions to state-level committees during the four-year study period.
Finally, Aramark Corp., chosen by the DOC to provide the food service for the state’s prisons,
gave $5,000 in 2004 — to Gov. Daniels’ opponent, then-Gov. Kernan.
However, contributions by the prison industry in the Hoosier State may prove to be a sound longterm investment, since the New Castle facility may not be Indiana’s last state prison operated by a
private company. J. David Donahue, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction and a
former senior vice president of a private-prison firm, U.S. Corrections Corp.,73 is considering
building the state’s first private prison.74 An Indianapolis Star article on the topic noted that Gov.
Daniels, when asked whether other prisons might be turned over to the private sector, said: “We’re
for what works — what works for taxpayers, the safety of the public and, for that matter, the
workers of a place like New Castle.”75

73

Mary Beth Schneider, “Private Sector Will Run New Castle State Prison,” Indianapolis Star, Aug. 24, 2005
[newspaper on-line]; available from
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050824/NEWS02/508240462; Internet; accessed Dec. 8,
2005.
74

“Budget Freeze Spurs Talk of Private Prison,” CERTops.com, March 22, 2005 [on-line]; available from
http://www.certops.com/certops/news/mar220504.html; Internet; accessed Dec. 7, 2005.

75
Mary Beth Schneider, “Private Sector Will Run New Castle State Prison,” Indianapolis Star, Aug. 24, 2005
[newspaper on-line]; available from
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050824/NEWS02/508240462; Internet; accessed Dec. 8,
2005.

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OKLAHOMA
By Denise Roth Barber

With incarceration rates consistently among the highest in the world,76 the state of Oklahoma was
notorious for its prison overcrowding. To help address the burgeoning prison population, the state
decided in 1995 to utilize private prisons, rather than to build new facilities itself.77 Less than a
decade later, by 2003, nearly 24 percent of the state’s inmates were housed in private prisons,
significantly higher than the national average of 6 percent.78
During the 2004 fiscal year, the Department of Corrections (DOC) contracted with three privateprison companies to house state inmates, at a cost of almost $71 million in contracts:79
Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) owns and
operates the Cimarron and Davis correctional facilities, each of which
had annual contracts with the DOC of nearly $15 million in 2004. CCA
also operates two other private facilities in the state, although neither
houses Oklahoma inmates.
The GEO Group Inc. (GEO) of Boca Raton, Fla., operates the Lawton
Correctional Facility, with an annual contract in 2004 of $27.9 million.
Houston-based Cornell Corrections operates the Great Plains
Correctional Facility in Hinton, with a 2004 contract of $12.4 million.
In addition, Avalon Correctional Services of Oklahoma City owns and operates several half-way
houses under a contract with the state:80 the Carver Center, the Avalon Correctional Center, the
Riverside Intermediate Sanction Facility and the Turley Correctional Center
To protect their vested interests in the Sooner State, these private-prison companies, along with
their lobbyists and employees, gave $170,500 to 130 state-level candidates and four political party
committees from 2001 to 2004. And they might have given more, were it not for the state’s
contribution limits of $5,000 for individuals and political action committees, as well as an outright prohibition on money coming directly from company coffers.81

76
The History of Private Prison Contracting in Oklahoma,” Oklahoma Department of Commerce [on-line];
available from http://www.doc.state.ok.us/Private%20Prisons/PP_history.htm; Internet; accessed Dec. 15, 2005.
77

Ibid.

78

Bob Doucette, “Private Prison Use Poses Risk to State, Expert Says,” The Oklahoman, Jan. 30, 2003 [online]; available from http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v03/n155/a05.html; Internet; accessed Jan. 25, 2006.

79

“Private Prison Administration FY2004 Annual Report,” Oklahoma Department of Corrections, p. 10 [on-line];
available from http://www.doc.state.ok.us/Private%20Prisons/FY2004%20Annual%20Report%204-4-05.pdf;
Internet; accessed Jan. 25, 2006.

80
Phone Interview with Charity Zamorano, Executive Secretary, Private Prison Administration of the Oklahoma
Department of Corrections, Dec. 19 2005.
81
“Contribution Limits,” National Conference of State Legislatures [on-line]; available from
http://www.ncsl.org/programs/legman/about/ContribLimits.htm; Internet; accessed Jan. 25, 2006.

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Lobbyists representing these prison companies, among other clients, gave a collective total of
$104,550, or 61 percent of all the money given by private-prison interests. Employees gave
$45,700, while the companies gave $20,250 through their political action committees (PACs).
Two of the four private-prison companies — Avalon and CCA — were responsible for 80 percent
of the contributions made during the four-year period. Avalon’s PAC, its employees and lobbyists
gave $70,950, most of which came from lobbyist Tammie Kilpatrick, who gave $42,250 during
the four-year period. The substantial contributions by the company’s PAC and its employees are
not surprising given the fact that the company’s four Oklahoma facilities provided approximately
31 percent of Avalon’s total annual revenue in 2003.82
The second-largest contributor was Corrections Corporation of America. The company’s PAC,
along with its lobbyists and employees, gave $65,100 during the four-year period. CCA lobbyists
gave $28,650, or 44 percent of the total, while board member Henri Wedell and his wife, Marsha,
gave $26,050, or 40 percent of the total. The company’s PAC gave $10,000 in direct
contributions.
Although the GEO Group Inc. did not make any direct contributions to state-level committees, the
company’s presence was nevertheless made known during the campaign seasons, thanks to
contributions from one of the company’s lobbyists, Jim Barker. Barker, who also represented
other clients at the Capitol, gave $31,850, or 95 percent of GEO’s four-year contribution total.
Cornell Companies, in sharp contrast, gave just $300 during the four-year period — $50 from one
of its lobbyists and $250 from the company’s PAC.
PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS IN OKLAHO MA, 20 01-200 4
CON TRIBUT OR
Kilpatrick, Tammie T.
Smith, Donald E. & Tiffany D.
Avalon Correctional Services
Gray, Eric S.
Wedell, Henri L. & Marsha
Adkins, Scott & Angela
Fried, Jim & Otie Ann & Bryan
CCA
Bradley, Jody & Barbara
Exell, Robert B.
Barker, Jim
Lee, Tonya
Hance, Kent
Troy, Anthony F.
Calabrese, Wayne H. &
Rhonda E.

POSITION
COM PANY
Lobbyist
Avalon
Prison Company Executive
Avalon
Prison Company PAC
Avalon
Prison Company Executive
Avalon
AVA LON TO TAL
Prison Company Director
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Prison Company PAC
CCA
Facility Executive
CCA
Prison Company Executive
CCA
CCA TOTAL
Lobbyist
GEO Group
Lobbyist
GEO Group
Lobbyist
GEO Group
Lobbyist
GEO Group
Prison Company Executive

GEO Group
GEO TOTAL

TOTAL
$42,250
$17,100
$10,000
$1,600
$70 ,950
$26,050
$14,400
$14,250
$10,000
$300
$100
$65 ,100
$31,850
$1,050
$500
$200
$100
$33 ,700

82
“Avalon Correctional Services,” Edgar Online [on-line]; available from http://sec.edgaronline.com/2004/04/12/0000872202-04-000008/section2.asp; Internet; accessed Dec. 16, 2005.

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CON TRIBUT OR
Miller, David C.
Pepeel, Dayton
Cornell Companies
Nobili, Mark

POSITION
COM PANY
Prison Company Executive
Wackenhut
Prison Company Executive
Wackenhut
WAC KENHUT TOTAL
Prison Company PAC
Cornell
Lobbyist
Cornell
COR NELL T OTAL
TOTAL

TOTAL
$350
$100
$450
$250
$50
$300
$17 0,500

CCA = Corrections Corporation of America
GEO Group formerly operated as Wackenhut Corrections, a unit of Wackenhut Corp.

STRATEGIC GIVIN G
Corrections-industry interests were quite strategic with their money, directing most of it to those
who ultimately determined the fate of policies and legislation benefiting or regulating them.
Legislative candidates received the largest portion of contributions.
PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S BY R ECIPIENT TYP E, 200 1-2004
TYPE
DEM OCRATS REPUBLICA NS
Legislative Candidates
$52,650
$36,050
Gubernatorial Candidates
$36,100
$11,650
Political Party Committees
$12,600
$15,000
Other Statewide Candidates
$5,500
$450
TOTAL
$10 6,850
$63 ,150

TOTAL
$88,700
$48,250*
$27,600
$5,950
$17 0,000

* Total includes $500 given to an Independent gubernatorial candidate.

Winning candidates received $91,300, while those in office and not even up for re-election
received another $32,600. In total, state officeholders received 87 percent of the private prison
contributions.
In all, 117 legislative candidates received $88,700, and 107 of them served in the Legislature.
Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor received $48,250, with Gov. Brad Henry and Lt.
Gov. Mary Fallin receiving the vast majority — $41,400. Other statewide officeholders received a
total of $5,550, while four state party committees received $27,600, or 16 percent of the total.
The top five recipients all held, or had the potential to hold, key positions affecting the corrections
industry in the state of Oklahoma:
Brad Henry, the successful Democratic gubernatorial candidate in
2002, received $35,750 during the four-year period, including $25,500
during the 2004 cycle when he was not even up for re-election. Avalon
and its lobbyists and employees gave $17,500, followed closely by
CCA, with $14,500. The GEO Group gave $3,750.

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Democratic Sen. Cal Hobson, Senate president pro tempore from 2003
to 2005, received $9,500 from all four private-prison companies.
Hobson was an obvious target, since he was widely known as an
authority on sentencing, corrections budgeting, prison operations and,
at times, as an opponent of private prisons.83
Stephen Michael Largent, the Republican who lost to Henry in the
2002 governor’s race, received $6,000, all from Avalon lobbyists.
Republican Mary Fallin received $5,650, with all but $500 given
during her 2002 winning bid for lieutenant governor.
Republican Rep. Fred Morgan, House minority leader from 1998 to
2002 and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in 2004, received
$5,250 from lobbyists representing Avalon, CCA and GEO Group.
A S OUND R ETURN ON THE IR INV ESTMEN TS?
Private-prison interests gave lawmakers $82,150, almost half of the money doled out by the
corrections industry over the four-year period. To determine if their investment in Oklahoma’s
lawmakers paid off, the Institute examined 16 pieces of legislation introduced during the 2003,
2004 and 2005 legislative sessions, seven of which would have benefited private-prison operations
in the state and nine that would have further regulated or restricted them.
The review showed a mixed bag of results. While all but one of the nine bills adversely affecting
private prisons failed to make it through the legislative labyrinth, bills that would have benefited
the industry met the same fate as well. In all, just two of the 16 bills studied were signed into law
by the governor, one favoring and the other further restricting private prisons.
Legislation Regulating or Restricting Private-Prison Operations
Although much discussion during the 2003 legislative session “centered on the impact of the
rising prison population on the state budget,”84 three bills designed specifically to reduce the
state’s prison population failed to become law:
Senate Bill 832, introduced by Democratic Sen. Frank Shurden, who
received no money from the corrections industry, would have reduced
the sentences of non-violent offenders to preserve space for violent
offenders. Although the bill made it out of the Senate Public Safety and
Judiciary Subcommittee on Appropriations, it failed on the Senate floor
with a tie vote of 21-21.
Senate Bill 789 would have allowed for treatment alternatives in lieu of
sentencing in certain instances. The bill passed out of the Senate 32-13,
but died in the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. Thirty83

Janice Francis-Smith, “Lock-Up Economics: Private Correctional Facilities in Oklahoma,” Journal Record, July
19, 2005.

84

“Highlights of Legislation Passed During the First Regular Session of the 49th Oklahoma Legislature,”
Oklahoma House of Representatives, July 2003, p. 22 [on-line]; available from
http://www.okhouse.gov/2003%20Session%20Highlights.pdf; Internet, accessed Dec. 27, 2005.

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two members of that 70-member committee received a total of $16,150
from private-prison interests during the previous 2002 election cycle
and another $500 in early 2003 when the Legislature was in session.
The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Sen. Dick Wilkerson, received no
money from private-prison interests, although co-sponsor Rep. David
Braddock, also a Democrat, received $550 in 2002.
Sen. Wilkerson and Rep. Braddock also introduced Senate Bill 792 in
2003, which would have created the Capacity Activated Powers Act to
provide for emergency time credits, to facilitate early release from
prison during periods of prison overcrowding. While the bill made it
out of the Senate on a 30-18 vote, it died in the House Corrections
Committee at session’s end without ever coming to a vote. Three of the
nine committee members received $1,200 from the corrections industry
during the preceeding 2002 cycle — Democratic Rep. Ron Kirby
received $300, Democratic Rep. Dale Wells received $700, and
Republican Rep. John Nance received $200.
Several other pieces of sentencing and procedural legislation that would have negatively impacted
or further regulated the private prison industry in the state also failed to become law:
Senate Bill 516, introduced in 2003 by Democratic Sen. Kevin Easley,
who received $3,600 from private prison interests, would have required
purchases of prison facilities be subject to a competitive bid procedure.
The bill never made it out of the Public Safety and Judiciary
Subcommittee on Appropriations.
After his bill to lower sentences of non-violent offenders failed in 2003,
Sen. Shurden attempted to get it passed again in 2004 via Senate Bill
1194. This time, the bill never even made it out of the Senate Public
Safety and Judiciary Subcommittee on Appropriations.
Sen. Shurden also sponsored Senate Bill 1177 in 2004 to create the
Relief Credits Act, to “provide immediate relief to the state during
periods of inappropriate prison conditions or overcrowding when there
are insufficient funds available within the Department of Corrections to
immediately relieve the situation.” The bill was co-sponsored by
Democratic Rep. M.C. Leist, who also received no money from
private-prison interests. SB 1177 made it out of the Senate
Appropriation’s Public Safety and Judiciary Subcommittee but failed
on the Senate floor, 18-25.
Senate Bill 805, sponsored in 2005 by Sen. Keith Leftwich and Rep.
Paul Roan, both Democrats, would have required that private-prison
companies that house federal or other out-of-state inmates and do not
have a contract with the DOC show the DOC that procedures are in
place for assumption of operations by the department in the event of the
contractor’s bankruptcy or inability to perform duties. The bill passed
out of the Senate 39-5, but died in the House Appropriations and
Budget Committee.

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Senate Bill 687, introduced in 2005 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Joe
Dorman, both Democrats, would have given county jails priority
consideration for future contracts for DOC inmates, as long as they met
certain requirements. The bill passed the Senate 39-2, but died in the
House Appropriations and Budget Committee.
Legislation Benefiting Private Prisons
Although lawmakers ultimately rejected several bills to reduce prison sentences, they also rejected
bills to increase the amount of time prisoners served, as well. Republican Sen. Owen Laughlin, for
example, who received $250 from CCA lobbyists, sponsored bills in 2003, 2004, and 2005 that
would have added the possession or use of firearms during a felony to the list of crimes for which
inmates are required to serve a minimum 85 percent of their sentences. The bills were all referred
to the Senate Public Safety and Judiciary Subcommittee on Appropriations, where they
languished.
House Bill 1459, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Ellis and Sen. Frank Shurden, two Democrats who
received no private-prison money, would have added assault and battery of peace officers to the
mandatory minimum percentage time served. After sailing through the House by a floor vote of
94-2, the bill languished in the Senate’s Public Safety and Judiciary Subcommittee on
Appropriations.
However, the same committee did approve Senate Bill 815, a 2005 measure that would have
required a mandatory sentence for arson of historical property. However, this bill died on the
Senate floor with a tie vote of 21-21. Neither of the bill’s Democratic primary sponsors, Sen. Jim
Wilson and Rep. Glen Bud Smithson, received any contributions from the corrections industry.
House Bill 1426, authored in 2003 by Democratic Rep. Paul Roan, who received no contributions
from private prisons, would have given first priority for new contracts to existing private prisons
that already had contracts with the DOC. The bill never made it out of the House Appropriations
and Budget Committee.
The Two Bills That Actually Became Law
Senate Bill 1471, signed into law in 2004, exempts private prisons from restrictions on the types
of out-of-state offenders they may house if they were operating at less than 25 percent capacity as
of Jan. 1, 2004. According to the House of Representatives 2004 Session Highlights, “it was
anticipated that the exemption will enhance the ability of the Sayre facility to compete for out-ofstate inmates.”85 The Sayre facility referenced is the North Fork Correctional Facility, owned and
operated by CCA but vacant at time of print.
CCA lobbyists gave a total of $1,850 to four legislators who helped carry the bill through the
legislative process. CCA board member Henri Wedell and his wife, Marsha, doled out $950 —
$250 to Republican Rep. John Smaligo, who sponsored the bill in the House, $450 to Democratic
co-author Rep. Purcy Walker, and another $250 to Democratic co-author Sen. Jay Paul Gumm.
Gumm received another $600 from Scott Adkins, who lobbied for CCA. Jody Bradley, a prison
warden at CCA’s Sayre facility, and his wife, Barbara, gave $100 to Rep. Purcy Walker and $200
to co-author Sen. Gilmer Neely Capps, a Democrat.

85
“Session Highlights 2004,” Oklahoma House of Representatives, August 2004, p. 23 [on-lne]; available from
http://www.okhouse.gov/2004%20Session%20Highlights.pdf; Internet; accessed Dec. 27, 2005.

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The only other bill to become law was Senate Bill 824, which required private prisons to establish
emergency plans and mutual aid agreements with local law enforcement and the DOC. Sponsored
by Democratic Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Paul Roan, also a Democrat, the bill passed out of
both chambers unanimously. While Leftwich received $250 from CCA lobbyist Bryan Fried in
December 2003, Roan received nothing from corrections givers.
A Close Look at the Senate Public Safety and Judiciary Subcommittee
All but two of the 16 bills studied began their mostly short-lived journeys in the Senate. Of the
nine that would have further regulated or restricted the corrections industry, just four made it out
of the Senate, only to die in the House, while just one of the five Senate bills that would have
benefited private prisons made it over to the House.
One subcommittee and committee, in particular, dealt with a majority of the corrections industry
bills. Fourteen of the 16 bills analyzed in the four-year period were referred first to the sevenmember Senate Public Safety and Judiciary subcommittee of the full Senate Appropriations
Committee, which was made up of all senators. Of the 14 bills, eight bills made it out of the
subcommittee and were then passed by the full Appropriations Committee. Two of the bills would
have benefited the private-prisons industry, while six were not in their favor.
During the 2005 legislative session alone, five of the six bills reviewed went before the
subcommittee. Of those, four that would have further restricted private-prison operations failed,
while one, Senate Bill 815, passed.
With such a mixed bag of results, it cannot be said definitively that the contributions by the
corrections industry were a sound investment. However, the money ensures at the very least that
they are noticed, which goes a long way on any Capitol Hill.

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CAL IFORNIA
By Linda Casey

California prisons are bursting at the seams and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan for
addressing the burgeoning inmate population is “to pursue authority to secure additional inmate
capacity through contracts with other providers.”86 The governor’s 2006-2007 budget proposes
$12 billion for jail and prison construction, adding 83,000 beds over the next 10 years, some of
which would be in two new private prisons.87 Proponents of private prisons see the increase as a
solution to the problem of prison overcrowding. However, the idea has its detractors.
Private-prison advocates and the police unions that organize the correctional officers are on
opposite sides of the privatization issue. And both groups walk the halls of the Capitol and give
generously to California policymakers.
During the 2002 and 2004 election cycles, campaign contributions from private-prison interests to
California candidates and party committees totaled nearly $153,000, accounting for nearly 5
percent of the $3.3 million the industry gave across the country.
During the same time period, California legislators tried but failed to ease prison overcrowding by
modifying sentencing laws and putting in place programs to reduce the high rate at which
prisoners who are released end up returning to prison because of parole violations or because they
committed another crime. Private prisons, as well as unions representing state-employed
correctional officers, opposed these efforts.
Meanwhile, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation budget increased from
nearly $4.5 million in 2002-200388 to $6.6 million for 2004-2005.89
THE COMPA NIES CONTRIB UTING TO CAL IFORNI A POLI TICS
Two private-prison firms operate California’s seven private facilities, called community
correctional facilities. The GEO Group, Inc.90 operates four facilities housing 1,800 inmates, while
Cornell Companies operates three facilities housing 822 inmates.
One of the firms operating prisons in California topped the list of private-prison contributors
during the study period. Wackenhut Corrections (later known as GEO Group, Inc.) gave $34,900
to California committees. The other company — Cornell — gave just $3,000. Meanwhile,
86

Andy Furillo, “State Budget Strategy Is To Build Private Prisons,” Alameda Times-Star, Jan. 16, 2006
[newspaper on-line]; available from http://www.insidebayarea.com/timesstar/news/ci_3407213; Internet;
accessed Jan. 31, 2006.
87

Ibid.

88

“2002-2003 Final Budget Summary,” California Department of General Services Office of State Publishing,
p.384 [on-line]; available from http://www.osp.dgs.ca.gov/OnLine+Publications/Governor's_Budget_Final_Budget_Summary_0203.htm; Internet; accessed April 11, 2006
89
“2005-2006 Final Budget Summary,” California Department of General Services Office of State Publishing ,
p.. 391 [on-line]; available from http://www.osp.dgs.ca.gov/On-Line+Publications/finalbudsummary0506.htm;
Internet; accessed April 11, 2006
90

Contributions attributed to Wackenhut Corrections or GEO Group, Inc. for the 2002 and 2004 election cycles
are detailed separately in this report. Half-way through the 2004 election cycle, on Nov. 25, 2003, Wackenhut
Corrections changed its name to GEO Group, Inc.

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Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which has no contracts, ranked third overall and
second among private-prison firms, with contributions of $23,900.
PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS IN CALIFO RNIA, 2001-2 004
CON TRIBUT OR
Hensel Phelps Construction Co.
Wackenhut Corrections*
CCA
CiviGenics
Argeropulos, Peter N.
Ross, Roy I.
Maranatha Private Corrections
Cornell Companies
Aramark Corporation
Community Corrections Corp.
Kaites, John P.

POSITION
COM PANY
Construction Company
Hensel Phelps
HEN SEL PH ELPS T OTAL
Prison Company
Wackenhut
WAC KENHUT TOTAL
Prison Company
CCA
CCA TOTAL
Prison Company
CiviGenics
Prison Company Executive
CiviGenics
Prison Company Executive
CiviGenics
CIV IGENIC S TOTA L
Prison Company
Maranatha
Prison Company
Cornell
Food Service Subcontractor
Aramark
Prison Company
CCC
Lobbyist
GEO
TOT AL OTH ER CON TRIBUT ORS
TOTAL

TOTAL
$66,275
$66 ,275
$34,900
$34 ,900
$23,900
$23 ,900
$3,200
$1,500
$1,500
$6,200
$5,500
$3,000
$1,000
$500
$100
$10 ,100
$15 2,960

CCA = Corrections Corporation of America
CCC = Community Corrections Corp.
* GEO Group formerly operated as Wackenhut Corrections, changing its name in November 2003.

In 2005, GEO Group, Inc. was tentatively awarded a $20 million contract to operate a San Joaquin
Valley correctional facility. Wackenhut gave two Schwarzenneger committees a total of $58,000
in the latter part of 2003, including $36,800 to his committee supporting the recall of then-Gov.
Gray Davis. According to the Mercury News, GEO gave another $10,000 to a third
Schwarzenneger committee. That contribution was made on May 21, 2005, and is not included in
the data considered for this study. When asked if the decision to award the contract to a donor was
troubling, the governor’s chief fund-raiser, Marty Wilson replied: “We do not mix policy, politics
and money.”91
Another private-prison company, CiviGenics, has been among the players in the privatization
debate. A $5.7 million deal between the state and CiviGenics to re-open Mesa Verde Community
Corrections Facility near Bakersfield, Calif., was discussed but never went through. Gov.
Schwarzenegger’s administration called it off in February 2005 when the California Department of
Corrections decided it didn’t need extra beds.92
Gubernatorial candidates received more of the industry’s contributions than other types of
recipients, due in part to California’s 2003 gubernatorial recall election.
91

Mark Gladstone and Kate Folmar, “Donor Given State Contract,” The Mercury News, Aug. 6, 2005
[newspaper on-line]; available from http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/politics/12319326.htm;
Internet; accessed Sept. 6, 2005.

92

“Conflict Raised Over Corrections Contract,” San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 14, 2005, sec. B, p. 3.

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PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S BY R ECIPIENT TYP E, 200 1-2004
TYPE
Gubernatorial Candidates
Legislative Candidates
Political Party Committees
Other Statewide Candidates
TOTAL

DEMOCRAT S REPUBLICA NS
$3,000
$68,085
$26,900
$30,975
$7,500
$7,500
$7,750
$1,250
$45 ,150
$10 7,810

TOTAL
$71,085
$57,875
$15,000
$9,000
$15 2,960

The gubernatorial recall election attracted contributions from two firms with interests in private
prisons. Prison operator Wackenhut Corrections (later known as GEO Group, Inc.), and Hensel
Phelps Construction Co., which designs and builds correctional facilities.
Wackenhut gave $36,800 to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall Committee, which supported
the recall of Gov. Davis in 2003. The recall effort succeeded, leaving an open race for the
governor’s seat that Schwarzenegger then won.
Wackenhut also gave $21,200 to Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial campaign committee, while
Hensel Phelps Construction gave it $11,600.
THE VOICE S AGAI NST PRIVATIZ ATION
On the other side of the privatization issue, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association
(CCPOA) and the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) have made their
presence known, contributing a combined $3.66 million in the 2002 and 2004 election cycles.
Longtime critics of privatization, the powerful and influential unions gave campaign contributions
to California candidates, state party committees and ballot measures.
PORAC’s Web site asserts: “No other organization can claim the legislative victories that PORAC
has achieved. PORAC has the clout to tie up and/or kill legislative issues that are detrimental to
peace officers.” 93
PORAC favored California Democrats by a ratio of nearly 5-to-1. During the 2002 and 2004
election cycles and including the special election of 2003, PORAC gave $787,300 to Democratic
candidates and party committees. Republican candidates received $164,550 from the union.
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) overwhelmingly supported
Democrats over Republicans in giving $2.46 million during the two election cycles. Democratic
candidates received nearly $1.9 million, or about four times the amount CCPOA gave to
Republicans.

93

“Legislation,” Peace Officers Research Association of California [on-line]; available at
http://www.porac.org/legislation.html; Internet; accessed Dec. 19, 2005.

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COR RECTIO NAL OF FICERS UNION CONTR IBUTIO NS BY RECIPI ENT
TYP E, 200 1-2004
TYPE
CCPOA
Gubernatorial Candidates
$1,101,000
Legislative Candidates
$483,830
Political Party Committees
$632,600
Other Statewide Candidates
$159,500
TOT AL $2,376,93 0

POR AC
TOTAL
$174,670
$1,275,670
$547,217
$1,031,047
$75,000
$707,600
$165,233
$324,733
$96 2,120 $3,339,05 0

SEN TENCIN G AND POLICY CHANG ES
California voters approved Proposition 184 in 1994, better known as the “Three Strikes and
You’re Out” law. It imposed longer prison sentences on convicted felons who had previous felony
convictions. Proposition 66, submitted to the voters in 2004, would have amended the law to
require increased sentences only if the current conviction was for “a violent and/or serious
felony.” In addition, it sought to redefine violent and serious felonies and proposed re-evaluating
the sentences given to offenders who were prosecuted after the 1994 law went into effect.
The familiar arguments of saving money and reducing prison population were used in favor of
Proposition 66. But the measure failed at the ballot box because of a last-minute media blitz paid
for by the powerful California Correctional Police Officers Association, which sided with an
unlikely ally — Gov. Schwarzenegger — to defeat Proposition 66.94 In addition to its support of
California’s three-strikes law as it stood, CCPOA described Proposition 66 as a “get out of jail
free card” that would potentially bring “26,000 felony cases up for review” if sentences were reevaluated.95 Judges, according to the union, have always had the ability to determine if the
sentence they impose matches the crime.
However, the two objectives of saving money and reducing prison populations remained part of
the language used in legislation introduced during all three legislative sessions between 2003 and
2005.
In addition, bills were proposed to address a number of other issues, ranging from enhancing
sentences for existing crimes to putting in place rehabilitative programs designed to reduce the rate
at which a released prisoner commits another offense and is incarcerated again.
THE COMMI TTEES MAKING THE D ECISIO NS
Two committees in each chamber heard the legislation regarding sentencing, crime-related
measures and/or changes to the California Penal Code — the Assembly Committee on
Appropriations and the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, along with the Senate Committee
on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Public Safety. For the most part, the
Appropriations committees in both chambers hear bills relating to fiscal matters.

94

Andy Furillo, “Prop. 66 Foes Prepare TV Campaign,” The Sacramento Bee, Oct. 26, 2004.

95

“A Vote the Preserve Public Safety,” California Correctional Police Officers Association [on-line]; available
from http://www.ccpoanet.org/search/default.php?inc=result_view&table=pres_msg&id=24; Internet; accessed
April 2, 2006.

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The four committees seated a total of 149 members over the study period, with shifting
memberships on the various committees. An analysis of the money they received shows:
Only 11 of those members received prison-industry contributions for a
total of $29,765 during the study period. The money was split almost
evenly between Democrats, who received $14,150, and Republicans,
who received $15,615.
No member of the Assembly Appropriations Committee received
private-prison industry contributions during the 2004 legislative
session.
One Republican member of the 2005 Assembly Appropriations
Committee received private-prison interest money. Assemblywoman
Mimi Walters received $2,125 from Hensel Phelps Construction during
the 2004 election cycle.

LEG ISLATI ON AND CONTRIBUTORS
The study looked at five pieces of legislation between 2003 and 2005. One would have amended
California’s three-strikes law, one looked at changing the way offenders are sentenced to parole,
and three attempted to address the issue of recidivism — the term used when a person released
from prison commits another offense and returns to prison. Recidivism is considered one of the
contributing factors to the problem of overcrowded correctional facilities in California.
California’s recidivism rate, which is at 79 percent, is higher than that of any other state.96
2003 Legislation
During the 2003 Legislature, Democratic Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg introduced Assembly
Bill 112 to amend the state’s three-strikes law by requiring the third strike to be a serious or
violent felony offense. She said the bill: “…would take the ‘Three Strikes’ law back to the people
to decide whether or not all strikes should be serious or violent felony convictions, before
subjecting people to three strike enhancements.”97 Because AB 112 affected the 1994 ThreeStrikes Law, previously enacted through the initiative process, it would need to it go back to
California voters in the form of an initiative. It would not be a “get out of jail free card,”98
according to the author, but rather it would “stop wasting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars by
not locking persons up for life [for] committing non-serious or non-violent crimes.”99

96

Daniel Macallair, “The Death of Prison Reform,” The San Diego Union-Tribune, Jan. 18, 2006.

97

“Comments: AB 112 Bill Analysis to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations Hearing on May 28, 2003,”
Official California Legislative Information [on-line]; available from http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/0304/bill/asm/ab_0101-0150/ab_112_cfa_20030819_172609_asm_comm.html; Internet; accessed on Jan. 26,
2006.
98

Ibid.

99

“Comments: AB 112 Bill Analysis to the Assembly Third Reading on Jan. 13, 2003,” Official California
Legislative Information [on-line]; available from http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/03-04/bill/asm/ab_01010150/ab_112_cfa_20030530_193839_asm_floor.html; Internet; accessed on Jan. 26, 2006.

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The bill passed out of two Assembly committees before it died in the “inactive file,” where bills
are held as dormant or dead until the sponsor transfers them out of the file for a floor vote by the
full chamber.100
The Assembly Committee on Public Safety approved Assembly Bill 112 on a 4-3 vote and
referred it to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, where it passed 14-8.
Both committees voted primarily along party lines.
Two of the seven Assembly Public Safety Committee members received prison-industry
contributions during the study period. Republican Todd Spitzer, who voted against AB 112,
received $3,000 in the 2002 election cycle and another $1,000 in 2003 and $6,200 in 2004.
Democrat Rudy Bermudez received $3,200 in 2003. Both legislators voted against repealing the
three-strikes law.
The private-prison industry gave a total of $6,790 to four members of the Assembly
Appropriations Committee — $5,800 during the 2002 election cycle and $990 during the 2004
cycle. The committee’s vice chairwoman, Republican Patricia C. (Pat) Bates, voted against AB
112. She received $2,300. Democrat Marco Antonio Firebaugh voted in favor of the measure and
received $3,000 from Cornell Companies. Assemblyman Firebaugh was the only member who
received industry money and voted in favor of the measure. The only Democrat voting against AB
112, Lou Correa, received $500 from Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The industry
gave Lynn Daucher $990 during the 2004 election cycle. She voted against AB 112.
Less than a week after the Appropriations Committee approval, Assemblywoman Goldberg,
requested that the bill be moved to the inactive file. Her legislative aide, Curtis Notsinneh, said
AB 112 was left in the inactive file because “the vote was not there” to pass the measure. He said
the California Legislature lacks the will to change the three-strikes law, adding: “That’s
unfortunate. People [the legislators] don’t want to seem to be soft on crime.”101
No representative of the private-prison industry appeared as a proponent or an opponent of the bill,
but the California Correctional Peace Officers’ Association (CCPOA) is listed in opposition to the
bill because the CCPOA saw it as a weakening of the three-strikes law it has strongly supported.
PORAC did not appear as a proponent nor as an opponent. And in contrast to the private-prison
industry, every member of the Public Safety Committee took contributions from either the
CCPOA or PORAC or both. CCPOA and PORAC gave a combined $56,850 to members of the
Assembly Public Safety Committee. The committee vice chairman, Republican Jay LaSuer,
received more union money than any other member of the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee:
$13,000 from PORAC and $4,750 from CCPOA. Democrat Rudy Bermudez received the secondhighest amount, with $8,000 from PORAC and $6,500 from CCPOA.

100

“Inactive File,” California State Legislature Glossary [on-line]; available from
http://www.legislature.ca.gov/quicklinks/glossary.html#I; Internet; accessed Jan. 27, 2006.

101

Telephone interview with Curtis Notsinneh, legislative aide to Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, April 12,
2006.

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2004 Legislation
The California Legislature considered three separate measures to reduce the state’s recidivism rate
in 2004. Although one of the measures passed, it was vetoed.
Sen. John Vasconcellos, a Democrat, introduced Senate Bill 1399 in the 2004 Legislature. The
measure required the Department of Corrections to “evaluate each inmate and prescribe and
implement a program that addresses the psychosocial, educational and vocational needs of the
inmate in order to prepare him or her to lead a constructive life upon release.”
The measure passed both chambers only to be vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger.
The private-prison industry did not appear publicly on Senate Bill 1399. The Department of
Corrections and the Department of Finance were the only opponents to publicly voice their
opposition.102 In his veto message to the Legislature, Gov. Schwarzenegger said he remained
committed to “comprehensive prison reform” but believed SB 1399 would “interfere” with efforts
currently being taken.103
SB 1399 was approved by the six members of the Senate Public Safety Committee.
Five out of six of the committee members voted in favor of SB 1399, but only two received
private-prison contributions, and those contributions were given long before the 2004 session. Sen.
Vasconcellos, the bill’s author and the Democratic vice chairman of the committee, received a
$3,000 contribution from CCA in May 2001. Democrat Gloria Romero received a $3,200
contribution from Wackenhut Corrections in June 2003.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of SB 1399 on a straight party-line vote,
with all eight Democrats voting in favor and four of the five Republicans voting against. One
senator, Republican Ross Johnson, did not vote. None of the committee members received
contributions from private-prison interests.
Two other bills addressing recidivism did not make it as far as Senate Bill 1399. They were:
Senate Bill 1468 by Democratic Sen. Jackie Speier. The bill would
have required that recidivism rates be reduced within a certain
timeframe and would have placed in law a timetable requiring a 5
percent reduction by Jan. 1, 2006, increasing to a 20 percent reduction
by Jan. 1, 2009. Sen. Speier said the state’s recidivism rate of 67
percent to 80 percent was “unconscionably high,” adding: “We need a
game plan to reduce recidivism. Education is key. Programs that
successfully reduce parolee failures will cut crime and eliminate need
to build more prison[s] and hire more employees.”104 Private-prison
102

“Bill Analysis for the Senate Rules Committee,” Official California Legislative Information [on-line]; available
from http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/03-04/bill/sen/sb_13511400/sb_1399_cfa_20040825_093929_sen_floor.html; Internet; accessed Jan. 31, 2006.

103

“SB 1399 Veto,” Official California Legislative Information, Sept. 24, 2004 [on-line]; available from
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/03-04//bill/sen/sb_1351-1400/sb_1399_vt_20040924.html; Internet; accessed
Jan. 31, 2006.

104

“Comments: SB 1468 Bill Analysis to the Senate Committee on Public Safety,” Official California Legislative
Information, April 27, 2004; accessed from http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/03-04//bill/sen/sb_14511500/sb_1468_cfa_20040426_142621_sen_comm.html; Internet; accessed Jan. 31, 2006.

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interests did not testify on the measure, but the CCPOA opposed it
because the bill would have prohibited wage increases for prison
guards if the recidivism rate did not reach a prescribed level. The bill
died in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Republican Sen. Chuck Poochigian introduced Senate Bill 1715, which
would have required the Department of Corrections to start assessing
an inmate’s risk of recidivism at the time of incarceration, rather than at
the time of parole. The Senate Public Safety Committee approved the
measure and referred it to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where
it died. No private-prison interests voiced public opposition or support
for SB 1715, but the CCPOA was listed as a proponent of the measure.
2005 Legislation
In the 2005 Legislature, Assemblyman Mark Leno introduced a bill aimed at changing the length
of time an offender spent on parole. Assembly Bill 505 sought to reduce the number of nonviolent offenders being returned to prison for minor technical parole violations such as missing a
meeting with a parole officer.
AB 505 passed out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee and the Assembly Appropriations
Committee but failed to get enough votes during a vote by the full Assembly.
No private-prison interests voiced public opposition or support for AB 505, and only one
Republican member of each committee received contributions from private-prison industry
sources. Assemblyman Todd Spitzer received $6,200, and Assemblywoman Mimi Walters
received $2,125.
The CCPOA is listed as a proponent of the legislation. The union gave $13,750 to members of the
Assembly Committee on Public Safety during the study period. PORAC contributed to every
member of the committee for a total of $31,100. AB 505 sponsor and Committee Chairman Mark
Leno received $3,000 from CCPOA and another $6,000 from PORAC. Vice Chairman LaSuer
received $17,750. Rep. Spitzer, who received $6,200 from private-prison industry sources, also
received $4,600 from PORAC.
CCPOA gave a total of $18,150 to the members of the 2005 Assembly Appropriations Committee,
while PORAC gave those committee members a combined $41,550. Republican Assemblywoman
Walters, the only member of that committee to receive a contribution from private-prison sources,
also received $1,000 from CCPOA.

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PEN NSYLVA NIA
By Denise Roth Barber

Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections (DOC) received $1.3 billion from the state’s general
fund for the 2004-2005 annual budget, behind only the education and public welfare agencies.
However, that soon may not be enough, if the state’s incarceration rates continue to climb. Since
1998, the state’s prison population has increased 13 percent.105
Although no state prisoners are currently housed in privately owned or operated prisons in
Pennsylvania, private firms already operate in the Keystone State. Houston-based Cornell
Companies, Inc., for example, operates 20 facilities and treatment centers through contracts with
federal and local governments.106 And Cornell is scheduled to begin operating the Moshannon
Valley Correctional Facility, a federally contracted prison, in the spring of 2006.107
To protect their current operations in the state and foster potential new ones, private-prison
interests gave Pennsylvania state-level candidates and party committees more than $117,000 from
2001 through 2004. One company and the executive of another firm gave a total of $56,130, or 48
percent of the total, while lobbyists representing these companies, among other clients, gave just
under $50,000, or 42 percent. Aramark Corp., a Philadelphia-based food service subcontractor,
gave the remaining $11,500.
PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS IN PENNSY LVANIA , 2001 -2004
CON TRIBUT OR
Cornell Companies
Steck, Matthew J.
Rapp, Stanley I.
Keenan, Mary M.
Greenlee, William & Barbara
Marsico, Andrew

POSITION
Prison Company
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Lobbyist

Bradshaw, Paul R.
McBrayer, W. Terry

Lobbyist
Lobbyist

Paese, Thomas G.
Aramark Corp.
Kuller, Laura

Lobbyist
Food Service Subcontractor
Lobbyist

McDougall, Sean D.

Prison Company Executive

COM PANY
Cornell
Cornell
Cornell
Cornell
Cornell
Cornell
COR NELL T OTAL
CCA
CCA
CCA TOTAL
Aramark
Aramark
Aramark
ARA MARK TOTAL
Minsec Corrections
TOTAL

CCA = Corrections Corporation of America

105

Jeffrey A. Beard, “Budget Presentation,” Department of Corrections, March 2005 [on-line]; available from
http://www.cor.state.pa.us/stats/lib/stats/2005budgetpresentation.pdf; Internet; accessed Dec. 14, 2005.
106
“Cornell Facilities Search,” Cornell Companies, Inc. [on-line]; available from
http://www.cornellcompanies.com/facilities2.cfm?state=PA; Internet; accessed Dec. 13, 2005.
107
“Moshannon Valley Correctional Facility,” Cornell Companies, Inc. [on-line]; available from
http://www.cornellcompanies.com/facilities3.cfm?fac_id=17; Internet; accessed March 8, 2006.

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TOTAL
$41,430
$1,662
$1,381
$1,100
$300
$100
$45 ,973
$30,000
$1,500
$31 ,500
$13,050
$11,500
$850
$25 ,400
$14,700
$11 7,573

THE RECIP IENTS OF PRI VATE-P RISON MONEY
After facing stiff opposition to private-prison operations by the previous administration,108 prison
interests focused their giving on the open 2002 gubernatorial race, contributing $52,750 to two of
the candidates in that race. Then-State Auditor Bob Casey received $32,750, and Ed Rendell, who
defeated Casey in the Democratic primary, received $20,000. Rendell’s unsuccessful opponent in
the general election, then-Attorney General Mike Fisher, received just $1,000 from prison interests
during the entire 2002 election cycle.
Casey received most of his prison money, $25,500, from Cornell, which made no contributions to
Rendell’s campaign. One lobbyist for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) also gave only
to Casey, although significantly less, at $1,500. Aramark Corp., on the other hand, highly favored
Rendell, with the company itself giving $10,000 to his campaign and company lobbyists
contributing another $2,500. Casey received just $250 from an Aramark lobbyist. Minsec
Corrections Corp. another private-prison firm, hedged its bets, with executive Sean McDougall
giving $7,500 to Rendell and $5,000 to Casey.
During the four-year study period, private-prison interests contributed more heavily to
gubernatorial and other statewide candidates than they did to legislative candidates.
PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S BY R ECIPIENT TYP E, 200 1-2004
TYPE
Gubernatorial Candidates
Other Statewide Candidates
Legislative Candidates
Political Party Committees
TOTAL

DEMOCRAT S REPUBLICA NS
$52,950
$1,000
$1,100
$35,881
$7,000
$17,042
$100
$2,500
$61 ,150
$56 ,423

TOTAL
$53,950
$36,981
$24,042
$2,600
$11 7,573

The open attorney general’s race in 2004 also commanded attention, since Mike Fisher, as
attorney general, had previously held up plans to open two privately operated prisons in Clearfield
County.109 As attorney general, Fisher had contended that state law did not allow a private
company to run a prison inside the commonwealth and said he would file suit if one tried to
open.110
Republican Tom Corbett, the victor in the attorney general’s race, received $3,231 from privateprison interests. David Barasch, who lost in the Democratic primary, received $1,100 from
lobbyists representing Cornell. Democrat Jim Eisenhower, who lost to Corbett in the general
election, received nothing from private-prison interests.
State Treasurer Barbara Hafer, though not up for election in 2002, nonetheless received more than
$32,000 from prison interests that election cycle, due largely to a one-time contribution of $30,000
108

Tom Gibb, “Judge Clears Private Prison; State Still Strongly Opposes It,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 11,
2001, sec. D, p. 6.
109
Tom Gibb, “Clearfield Residents Pan a Plan for County-Owned Private Prison,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
March 5, 2000 [newspaper on-line]; available from http://www.postgazette.com/regionstate/20000305prisonreg4.asp; Internet; accessed Jan. 3, 2006.
110

Ibid.

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from Paul Bradshaw, founder of Southern Strategy Group, a lobbying firm which lists CCA
among its clients.111
The table below shows the industry’s contributions to statewide candidates during the four-year
study period.
PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS TO STATEW IDE CA NDIDATES, 20 01-200 4
REC IPIENT
Casey Jr., Bob
Hafer, Barbara
Rendell, Ed
Corbett, Tom
Barasch, David
Fisher, Mike
Kukovich, Allen G.

PAR TY
Democrat
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Democrat

OFF ICE
Governor
Treasurer
Governor
Attorney General
Attorney General
Governor
Lt. Governor

STA TUS
Lost-Primary Election
Did Not Run
Won
Won
Lost-General Election
Lost-General Election
Lost-Primary Election
TOTAL

TOTAL
$32,750
$32,650
$20,000
$3,231
$1,100
$1,000
$200
$90 ,931

Contributions to Legislative Candidates
Prison interests put somewhat less money into legislative races during the four-year period, but
targeted their contributions well. They gave a total of about $24,000, contributing to 13 candidates
in 2002 and 17 candidates in 2004. All but $500 of the funds went to winning candidates or those
already in office but not up for re-election — in other words, those who would decide the fate of
bills affecting the private-prison industry over the next two years.
A close look at the legislators who received political contributions from the corrections companies
over the two election cycles reveals that the companies’ giving was anything but random. Not only
did they give to those in a position to vote up or down on relevant bills, they also ensured their
money went to those in powerful positions to determine if legislation would even be enacted upon.
For example:
Republican Rep. Sam Smith, House majority leader since 2003, raised
the most money from private-prison interests, receiving $4,062 during
the 2004 election cycle, all from Cornell interests.
Republican Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, elected majority whip in 2001 and a
member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, received $2,900 during the
2002 cycle, $2,500 of which came directly from Cornell.
Republican Sen. Jake Corman, who supported Cornell’s proposed
prison to house federal inmates,112 received $2,680, all in direct
contributions from Cornell over the two election cycles.

111
“About SSG,” Southern Strategy Group [on-line]; available from
http://www.sostrategy.com/page_ssg_client_list.asp; Internet; accessed Dec. 9, 2005.
112

Tom Gibb, “Private Prison in Clearfield County Still Has a Big Hurdle to Jump,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jan.
30, 2000 [newspaper on-line]; available from http://www.post-gazette.com/regionstate/20000130prison4.asp;
Internet; accessed Jan. 3, 2006.

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Republican Rep. John Perzel, speaker of the House since 2003 and
majority leader from 1995 to 2002, received $2,100 over both cycles —
$2,000 from Aramark lobbyist Thomas Paese, who also lobbied for
other clients, and $100 from Minsec Corrections executive Sean
McDougall.
Democratic Rep. H. William DeWeese, House minority leader in 2005,
received $1,000 from Aramark on Nov. 11, several days after the 2004
election.
Democratic Sen. Vincent Fumo, minority Appropriations Committee
chairman since 1995, received $1,000 from Cornell. Members of the
Appropriations Committee are responsible for developing the state
budget and all money-related bills must pass through this committee
before they are voted upon by the Senate.
A RETURN ON THE IR INV ESTMEN TS
Several pieces of legislation introduced since 2003 were designed to reduce the inmate population
and the DOC’s budget — some at the expense of the corrections industry. However, most of the
bills failed to make it through the legislative labyrinth. For example:
While the DOC was awarding a contract to a private-prison supply
firm, a bill was introduced in the House in late March 2005 that would
have prohibited the use of public funds to privatize or outsource the
commissary services of state correctional institutions. House Bill 1136
stalled out in the House Appropriations Committee.
Democratic State Rep. Harold James, who received no money from
private-prison interests, sponsored so-called “good time” bills that
would have established a system of earned time for deserving prisoners,
thus reducing the time they spent behind bars. Although he was
minority chairman of the Judiciary’s Crime and Corrections
Subcommittee, Rep. James was unable to get either of his two bills
(House Bills 1121 in 2003 and 1133 in 2005) out of the full House
Judiciary Committee.
Rep. James also sponsored House Bill 751, which would have
abolished mandatory minimum sentences for certain non-violent
offenses. This bill met the same fate as James’ other ones.
Another piece of legislation, Senate Bill 880, would have prohibited the
Department of Corrections from using state money to privatize or
outsource nursing services. Introduced in 2003, SB 880 never made it
out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Just one of the 10 senators who
sponsored the bill — Sen. Allen Kukovich — received any money from
private-prison interests before the bill was introduced in July 2003.
Cornell gave Sen. Kukovich $200 in 2002, the year he ran and lost in
the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.

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However, one measure designed to help reduce both the state’s prison budget and population was
signed into law. Senate Bill 217 provided for alternative drug offense sentencing. Unanimously
approved by the House and Senate, the bill was signed into law by Gov. Rendell in November
2004.
LOO KING D OWN TH E ROAD AHEAD
As mayor of Philadelphia, Ed Rendell privatized many services, including some jail services.113 In
keeping with his past, as governor, Rendell implemented a strategic sourcing initiative to address
the state’s budget woes. As part of this initiative, the state awarded two private contracts in 2005
to provide food and commissary supplies to the state’s 26 correctional facilities, previously
provided by the state. W.S. Lee and Sons, of Altoona, won the contract to supply food to the
state’s correctional institutions, among others, in a move estimated to save the state nearly $14
million, according to the governor’s office.114 Keefe Supply Group was selected to supply
inventory to the commissaries in the state’s 26 correctional institutions, a move the governor’s
office estimates will save the state $3 million.115 Neither of these two contractors had contributed
to state-level committees in Pennsylvania from 2001 through 2004.
In addition, Rendell has also expressed his support for Cornell’s private prison to house federal
inmates in Clearfield County.116 Combined, these actions may be seen as green lights for the
private prison firms’ future prospects in the Keystone State.

113

Paul Kengor, “Pennsylvania: The Privatization State,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jan. 17, 2003 [newspaper
on-line]; available from http://www.post-gazette.com/forum/comm/20030117edken1117p1.asp; Internet;
accessed Dec. 13, 2005.

114

“Savings From Governor Rendell’s Strategic Sourcing Program Top $118 million,” Pennsylvania Governor’s
Office [on-line]; available from http://www.governor.state.pa.us/governor/cwp/view.asp?a=3&q=439211;
Internet; accessed March 21, 2006.

115

“Strategic Sourcing Savings Reach $138.5 Million With Medical Services Contract,” Pennsylvania Governor’s
Office [on-line]; available from http://www.governor.state.pa.us/governor/cwp/view.asp?a=3&q=441234;
Internet; accessed Dec. 14, 2005.

116

“Cornell Companies Announces Start of Construction of the Moshannon Valley Correctional Facility,” Cornell
Companies, Inc ., Oct. 7, 2004 [on-line]; available from http://www.cornellcompanies.com/news2.cfm?nid=12;
Internet; accessed Dec. 12, 2005.

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COLORADO
By Linda Casey

Similar to other states, Colorado is faced with an increasing number of inmates and not enough
prison beds to go around. And like other states, policymakers are looking to the private sector for
one part of the solution — increasing the number of private-prison beds.
However, a 2005 private-prison performance report conducted by Colorado’s State Auditor
produced a lengthy list of recommendations to the Department of Corrections (DOC) regarding
the five private prisons already operating in the state. The recommendations ranged from ensuring
adequate inmate medical and nutritional services to staffing issues and sufficient monitoring of the
operations of the private facility
Despite that report, the state will award a bid in 2006 to begin construction of private facilities to
house 2,250 male inmates, with the expectation of having the first 750 beds available by February
2008 and completing the project in August 2009. The DOC also is seeking an additional bid for
750 private beds for female inmates.117
Two firms currently operate the five private prisons in Colorado. Corrections Corporation of
America (CCA) runs four of the prisons, while GRW Corp. operates one.
CCA is already ahead of the competition in the bidding process for the new facilities, because it
“already has the land and the necessary zoning.”118 And any concerns brought about by the 2005
audit have been addressed to the DOC’s satisfaction, according to CCA spokesman, Steve
Owen.119
During the 2005 legislative session, when a bill was introduced prohibiting Colorado’s private
prisons from housing out-of-state prisoners, “a representative of … Corrections Corporation of
America warned it might have to close a prison for lack of funds if the bill passed.”120
The plan to prohibit out-of-state prisoners was rejected in a telling example of the influence a
special interest can have on the legislative process.
As of April 2005, 2,800 of Colorado’s 18,000 inmates were incarcerated in private prisons.
However, not all of them were in Colorado. According to the 2005 audit, Colorado’s prisons
haven’t had enough room since the 1980s. So in 2004, the Department of Corrections sent 128
male inmates to a Mississippi prison.
For this report, the Institute looked at four different pieces of legislation relevant to private prisons
in Colorado. One dealt with easing prison overcrowding, and another sought to prohibit out-ofstate inmates. The other two measures directly affected private prisons: one sought to make
117

Ann Imse, “Crowley Prison Owner Has Bidding Edge,” Rocky Mountain News, March 6, 2006, [newspaper
on-line]; available from
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/cda/article_print/0,1983,DRMN_15_4517540_ARTICLE-DETAILPRINT,00.html; Internet; accessed March 7, 2006.

118

Ibid.

119

Ibid.

120

Jim Tankersley, “States May Pull Inmates; Private Prisons Hurt by Scandal Over Sexual Misconduct,” Rocky
Mountain News, June 21, 200, sec. A, p. 4.

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private-prison contractors more financially accountable and the other dealt with the bidding
process for private facilities. Only the latter was signed into law. But the private-prison industry
fared well, because the outcome of all four measures was beneficial to the industry.
Along with the two firms operating in the state, three other private-prison interests contributed to
Colorado’s candidates and political party committees. Probably aware of the fact Colorado is
facing serious overcrowding, these private-prison companies are letting their presence be known
and are getting in line for possible contracts to increase the number of private-prison beds.
Industry-related companies, their executive, directors and lobbyists who gave to Colorado
candidate and/or party committees are shown in the following table.
PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS IN COLORA DO, 20 01-200 4
CON TRIBUT OR
Hensel Phelps Construction Co.
CCA
Christiansen, Margaret M.
Burch III, Lucius E.
Beasley, Thomas W.
Ferguson, John D.
Grande, Anthony
Wedell, Henri L. & Marsha
Community Corrections Corp.
Wackenhut Corrections
Walker, G.R. (Gil)

POSITION
COM PANY
Construction Company
Hensel Phelps
HEN SEL PH ELPS T OTAL
Prison Company
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Prison Company Director
CCA
Prison Company Executive
CCA
Prison Company Executive
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Prison Company Director
CCA
CCA TOTAL
Prison Company
CCC
Prison Company
Wackenhut
Prison Company Executive
GRW Corp.
TOT AL OTH ER CON TRIBUT ORS
TOTAL

CCA = Corrections Corporation of America
Wackenhut Corrections now operates as the Geo Group, Inc.

Contributors associated with the two private-prison companies holding Colorado contracts gave
nearly $32,000. CCA accounted for $23,200 of the total, while its executives, directors and
lobbyists combined for the other $8,425. The $300 attributed to GRW Corp. came from GRW’s
founder, Gil R. Walker, who gave $300 to Republican Rep. Diane Hoppe. Interestingly, that
contribution is the only contribution GRW or its founder gave during the 2002 and 2004 election
cycles, in spite of the fact GRW has facilities in eight states, including Colorado.121
As the top-contributing industry interest, Hensel Phelps Construction Co. gave $25,000 to the
Colorado Republican Party and $10,000 to the gubernatorial team of Bill Owens and Jane Norton.
The construction company, whose projects include several facilities for the Federal Bureau of
Prisons, lists two Colorado projects it has completed, but neither are among the five private
prisons operating in Colorado at this time. Hensel Phelps’ portfolio includes a wide range of
projects across the country.
121

“Project Experience,” GRW Corp. [on-line]; available from http://www.grwcorporation.com/experien.html;
Internet; accessed Dec. 12, 2005.

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TOTAL
$35,000
$35 ,000
$23,200
$3,625
$2,500
$1,000
$500
$400
$400
$31 ,625
$9,600
$5,000
$300
$14 ,900
$81 ,525

WHE RE THE MONEY WENT
The pattern of prison-industry giving in Colorado is similar to that of other states. Republican
candidates and party committees received more than Democrats.
Like Florida, state political party committees in Colorado received the largest share of privateprison interest funds. Also like Florida, Colorado places tight limits on the contributions
candidates can receive. The state political parties can use the money to support candidates or pay
for such as expenses as advertising, mailings and staff. Both political party committees in
Colorado received private-prison contributions, but the donations to the party in power, the
Republicans, eclipsed those given the Democrats by a ratio of nearly 19-to-1. Republicans
received $34,050, compared with the $1,800 given to the Democratic Party.
All contributions to gubernatorial candidates went to Republican Bill Owen and his running mate,
Jane Norton, during the 2002 election cycle.
PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S BY R ECIPIENT TYP E, 200 1-2004
TYPE
Political Party Committees
Gubernatorial Candidates
Legislative Candidates
Other Statewide Candidates
TOTAL

DEM OCRATS
$1,800
$0
$3,000
$0
$4,800

REPUBLICA NS
$34,050
$28,500
$14,025
$150
$76 ,725

TOTAL
$35,850
$28,500
$17,025
$150
$81 ,525

SEN TENCIN G AND POLICY CHANG ES
Colorado joined several other states in the mid-1990s by enacting its version of the so-called
three-strikes legislation. The habitual-offender law, as it’s referred to in Colorado, triples the
maximum sentence for a crime if it’s the third felony an offender has committed. It also requires
life sentences for habitual offenders who commit a violent crime.122
Six legislative committees typically hear legislation dealing with prisons, sentencing laws and
criminal justice issues. The House and the Senate each has an Appropriations Committee, a
Judiciary Committee and a State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
During three legislative sessions, lawmakers tried to hold private prisons more accountable, as
well as ease overcrowding, by increasing the amount of time non-violent offenders could earn
toward reducing their sentences. All but one of the efforts failed, however. The only measure that
won approval was House Bill 1100 in 2004, which set out specific guidelines for competitive
bidding on private-prison construction.
Following is a look at some of the key bills considered by the Legislature.

122

Anne Imse, “Colorado’s Prison Space to Run Out This Year,” Rocky Mountain News, Jan. 4, 2006, sec.
Local.

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2003 Legislative Session
Senate Bill 328 sought to reduce the amount of time certain prisoners convicted of non-violent
offenses would have to serve, by changing the so-called “earned time” computations. The measure
would have increased earned time from 10 days to 12 days per month for inmates who
demonstrated consistent progress to their case manager or parole officer, were serving a sentence
in the Colorado DOC for the first time and were serving time for an offense that was a non-violent
felony offense.
The bill, introduced by Republican Senate Appropriations Chairman David T. Owen, passed both
chambers of the Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Bill Owens. Gov. Owens, having vetoed
similar bills in the past, had promised to “take a serious look” at SB 328 but in the end rejected the
measure.123 In the following legislative session, he stopped just short of promising to veto any
measure that sought to save money by reducing sentences.124
The governor received $28,500 from private-prison sources during the 2002 election cycle —
$15,000 from three private-prison firms and $3,500 from their executives. Another $10,000 came
from the Hensel Phelps Construction Co.
Both the Senate and House Appropriations committees approved the measure. The following
tables detail contributions to committee members and their votes on the bill.
CON TRIBUTIONS TO 2003 SENATE APPR OPRIATIONS C OMMITTEE MEM BERS

REC IPIENT
Hillman, Mark D.
Teck, Ronald J. (Vice Chairman)
Owen, David T. (Chairman)
Lamborn, Doug
Chlouber, Ken
Dyer, Jim
Grossman, Dan
Keller, Walter
Phillips, John R.
Reeves, Peggy

PAR TY
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Democrat
Democrat

VOT E ON
SB 03-328
Yes
Excused
Yes
No
Yes
Excused
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
TOTAL

TOTAL
$1,100
$750
$500
$250
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$2,600

123

John J. Sanko, “Senate Considers Bills to Reduce Prison Time; Lawmakers Back Lighter Penalties for Drug
Possession,” Rocky Mountain News, April 26, 2003, sec. A, p. 19.
124

John J. Sanko, “Don’t Skimp On Prisons, Owens Says,” Rocky Mountain News, Feb. 28, 2004, sec A, p. 16.

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CON TRIBUTIONS TO 2003 HOUSE APPRO PRIATI ONS CO MMITTEE MEMBERS

REC IPIENT
Young, Brad (Chairman)
Hoppe, Diane
Berry, Gayle A.
Plant, Tom
Fairbank, Rob
Stengel, Joe
Butcher, Dorothy B.
Garcia, Michael
Weissmann, Paul
Williams, Tambor
Witwer, John (Vice Chairman)

PAR TY
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Democrat
Republican
Republican

VOT E ON
SB 03-328
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
TOTAL

TOTAL
$1,250
$1,200
$850
$750
$250
$50
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$4,350

2004 Legislative Session
In 2004, lawmakers considered and approved House Bill 1100, providing specific guidelines for
competitive bid proposals on the construction of private prisons. The bill specifically required the
DOC to request competitive proposals and gave the agency authority to plan for the construction
of private prisons and seek proposals for private facilities if the state’s building fund did not have
enough money to pay for the cost of a state prison that would be needed to handle projected
inmate populations.
This bill was sponsored by Sen. Owen, who told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was
trying to “deal with the lack of state funds to build prisons by implementing a planning process for
building new private prisons.”125
The only recorded support for the bill came from the Colorado Department of Corrections.
Opponents, meanwhile, included the Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, whose mission is “to
“reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado,”126 and AFSCME Council 76, a union
representing government workers.
Stephen Raher of the Criminal Justice Reform Coalition told the committee that “private beds are
generally not much cheaper than state-built beds.”127 AFSCME representative Dave Childs
expressed concern for jobs held by the government workers his organization represents.128

125

“Final Bill Summary for HB04-1100 for the Senate Committee on Judiciary,”Colorado General Assembly [online]; available from
http://www.leg.state.co.us/Clics2004a/commsumm.nsf/db6b21d4aa40b66b87256815005e23be/7a54901434b3f
3fa87256e30007194fa?OpenDocument; Internet; accessed Feb. 6, 2006.

126
“About Us,” Criminal Justice Reform Coalition [on-line]; available from http://www.ccjrc.org/index_mem.html;
Internet; accessed March 6, 2006.
127

“Final Bill Summary for HB04-1100 for the Senate Committee on Judiciary,” Colorado General Assembly
[on-line]; available from
http://www.leg.state.co.us/Clics2004a/commsumm.nsf/db6b21d4aa40b66b87256815005e23be/7a54901434b3f
3fa87256e30007194fa?OpenDocument; Internet; accessed Feb. 6, 2006.

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67

Gov. Owens signed HB 1100 into law in 2004. In 2002, private-prison interests were more
generous to the governor’s re-election campaign than they were to members of either committee
hearing HB 1100. The governor received $28,500, compared with the combined total of $650 the
industry gave to House committee members.
The Legislature and the governor believed Sen. Owen’s assertion that the state could save money
by using private prisons. Cherie Greco from the Department of Corrections told the Senate
Judiciary Committee that state-run facilities for medium-security prisons cost $62.66 to $88.18 per
prisoner per day compared with private-prison costs of $50.37 per day.129
In the end, HB 1100 benefited the private-prison industry, in spite of the fact it called for
competitive bidding and a closer eye on the bidding process, because the bill required the DOC to
begin taking bids on the construction of new private prisons.
PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS TO GOV. O WENS, 2001-2 004
CON TRIBUT OR
Hensel Phelps Construction Co.
Community Corrections Corp.
CCA
Wackenhut Corrections
Burch III, Lucius E.
Beasley, Thomas W.

POSITION
COM PANY
Construction Company
Hensel Phelps
Prison Company
CCC
Prison Company
CCA
Prison Company
Wackenhut
Prison Company Director
CCA
Prison Company Executive
CCA
TOTAL

TOTAL
$10,000
$5,000
$5,000
$5,000
$2,500
$1,000
$28 ,500

HB 1100 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Only
House committee members received private-prison industry contributions for a combined total of
$650. Democratic Rep. Betty Boyd and Republican Rep. Lauri Clapp received $150 each from
Community Corrections Corp. (CCC).
That same firm gave two Republicans, Chairwoman Lynn Christian Hefley and Rep. Richard D.
Decker, $100 each. And CCA lobbyist Margaret M. Christiansen gave $100 to Rep. Cheri Jahn
and $50 to Rep. Joe Stengel; both are Democrats.
The vote in the House Judiciary Committee was 10-0, with member Rep. McGihon excused. The
measure unanimously passed the seven-member Senate Judiciary Committee.

128
“Final Bill Summary HB04-1100 for the House Committee on Judiciary,” Colorado General Assembly [online]; available from
http://www.leg.state.co.us/Clics2004a/commsumm.nsf/db6b21d4aa40b66b87256815005e23be/752c632e557a3
26687256e1c0073a643?OpenDocument; Internet; accessed Feb. 6, 2006.
129

“Final Bill Summary for HB04-1100 for the Senate Committee on Judiciary,” Colorado General Assembly
[on-line]; available from
http://www.leg.state.co.us/Clics2004a/commsumm.nsf/db6b21d4aa40b66b87256815005e23be/7a54901434b3f
3fa87256e30007194fa?OpenDocument; Internet; accessed Feb. 6, 2006.

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2005 Legislative Session
Two efforts to place limits on private prisons failed during the 2005 legislative session.
House Bill 1353 tried to place some of the financial burden for prison costs on private-prison
providers that contract with the Department of Corrections. It required the contract to “specify the
department’s maximum financial obligation to the provider” and put a maximum cap of $61
million on any contract. If total reimbursements by the state exceeded that limit, the prison
provider would have to house additional inmates without cost to the state.
The measure won approval in the House Appropriations Committee on a 7-6 vote.
Three of the 13 committee members received money from private-prison industry interests and
only one of them voted against the measure — Chairman Tom Plant, a Democrat, who received
$250 from Community Corrections Corp. and $500 from CCA.
The other two recipients, both Republicans, voted in favor of the measure: Rep. Keith King
received $250 from CCA, while Rep. Diane Hoppe received $1,200: $500 from CCA, $150 from
Community Corrections Corp., $250 from CCA lobbyist Margaret M. Christiansen, and $300
from GRW Corp. founder Gil R. Walker.
In addition, 10 other representatives received a total of $1,175 from private-prison interests. Nine
of the 10 voted in favor of HB 1353 when it came to the full House for a vote; it passed that
chamber on a 43-22 vote.
However, it didn’t fare as well in the seven-member Senate Committee on State, Veterans and
Military Affairs. Only one committee member voted in favor: Republican Sen. Doug Lamborn. He
also was the only committee member to receive industry contributions; CCA gave Sen. Lamborn
$250.
The only public opposition recorded on HB 1353 came from CCA representative Scott Spendlove,
who told the Senate Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs that the bill placed a lower
cap on the reimbursement rate than the rate set in the general appropriation bill approved earlier in
the session.130
A second measure, House Bill 1212, would have prohibited all out-of-state inmates from being
housed in any Colorado prison. The measure was introduced by Democratic Rep. Buffie
McFadyen, who told the Rocky Mountain News “it’s in the state’s best interest not to have
criminals from other states housed in Colorado facilities.”131 Some of McFadyen’s concerns
centered around two riots at the privately operated Crowley County Correctional Facility, one in
1999 when Correctional Services Corp. operated the facility and one in 2004 when it was run by
CCA.
Colorado has contracted to house out-of-state prisoners from Washington, Hawaii and Wyoming
to alleviate overcrowding issues in those states. Faced with its own overcrowding problems,
Colorado’s Department of Corrections asked Washington and Wyoming to move the balance of
130

“Final Bill Summary for HB05-1353 for the Senate Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs,”
Colorado General Assembly [on-line]; available from
http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics2005a/commsumm.nsf/b4a3962433b52fa787256e5f00670a71/61aeba55b26b41
9b87256ff8006f5329?OpenDocument; Internet; accessed April 13, 2006.
131

Jim Tankersley, “States May Pull Inmates,” Rocky Mountain News, June 21, 2005, sec. A, p. 4.

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69

their prisoners by summer’s end in 2005. Both states have moved prisoners back to their state of
origin or to other states. Wyoming had begun moving female inmates out of Colorado when
allegations of sexual misconduct between the inmates and guards surfaced. Hawaiian officials are
being pushed by a number of lawmakers who want Hawaiian female inmates who are housed in
Colorado to be moved “immediately.”132
HB 1212 failed to make it out of the House Judiciary Committee. Testimony in opposition came
from county officials concerned about the economic impact of private prisons on counties. They
feared the loss of the property and sales taxes paid by the private-prison firms. The Department of
Corrections also testified against the bill.133
CCA representative Josh Brown told the committee that CCA had incurred all the costs for
damages to the prison during the 2004 riot and has taken steps to correct the factors that led to the
riot.
The plan to prohibit out-of-state prisoners was rejected, “after a representative of … Corrections
Corporation of America warned it might have to close a prison for lack of funds if the bill
passed.”134

132

Ibid.

133

“Final Staff Summary of Meeting for the House Committee on Judiciary,” Colorado General Assembly, Feb.
24, 2005 [on-line]; available from
http://www.leg.state.co.us/Clics2005a/commsumm.nsf/b4a3962433b52fa787256e5f00670a71/9477010422c8aa
7587256fb20068448d?OpenDocument; Internet; accessed on Feb. 6, 2006.

134

Ibid.

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70

TEN NESSEE
By Rachel Weiss

One of the largest private prison-operators in the country — the Corrections Corporation of
America (CCA) — calls Tennessee home. CCA also owns one and operates all three of the private
prisons housing state prisoners in Tennessee. West Tennessee Healthcare also provides prison
healthcare at the Whiteville Correctional Facility as part of its services. Whiteville Correctional
Facility is owned and managed by CCA.
These two companies and individuals associated with them donated to Tennessee candidates and
political parties in the 2002 and 2004 election cycles, giving almost $81,350. CCA and its
executives and lobbyists gave 92 percent, or $75,225, of this money. West Tennessee Healthcare
executives contributed $6,125. CCA also donated $125,000 to help restore the Tennessee
governor’s mansion in Nashville.135
Often, industries contributing to state-level candidates wish to have some influence over
legislation that will affect their businesses. In the 103rd and 104th legislative sessions, held between
2003 and 2006, lawmakers considered legislation to expand state oversight of the private-prison
industry, as well as legislation designed to make the contracting and review process easier for the
industry. Both proposals were rejected
PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS IN TENNES SEE, 2 001-20 04
CON TRIBUT OR
Wedell, Henri L. & Marsha
Ferguson, John D.
Beasley, Thomas W.
Grande, Anthony
Puryear Jr., G. A. (Gus)
CCA
Brown, Joshua N.
Carr, Anne
Beasley, Wendy
Lingo Jr., Irving E.
Andrews, William F.
Burch III, Lucius E.
Quinlan, J. Michael
Bouldin, Kenneth A.
Smith, J. Cleve
Poss, Nathan
Arnold, Sammie
Bledsoe, Bruce

POSITION
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive
Lobbyist
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Director
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive
Lobbyist
Lobbyist

COM PANY
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA TOTAL
Healthcare Subcontractor Trustee
West TN Healthcare
Healthcare Subcontractor Trustee
West TN Healthcare
WEST TENN ESSEE HEALTH CARE T OTAL
TOTAL

CCA = Corrections Corporation of America

135

“Big Money Fixing Up Executive Mansion,” Associated Press, Feb. 6, 2006.

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71

TOTAL
$24,750
$16,975
$10,075
$3,000
$3,000
$2,950
$2,750
$2,750
$2,000
$2,000
$1,700
$1,000
$1,000
$800
$250
$225
$75 ,225
$6,025
$100
$6,125
$81 ,350

Democrats received 55 percent of the money, including $5,500 that went to the House and Senate
caucus committees that work to elect Democratic legislative candidates. Republicans received 45
percent. About 57 percent of the contributions went to candidates who won their races, while 36
percent went to losing candidates. The remainder went to the caucus committees and one
incumbent candidate who did not run for re-election; that candidate received $125.
PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S BY P ARTY, 2001-2 004
CON TRIBUT ORS
CCA
West Tennessee Healthcare

DEM OCRATS
$44,675
$100
$44 ,775

REPUBLICA NS
$30,550
$6,025
$36 ,575

TOTAL
$75,225
$6,125
$81 ,350

In Tennessee, individuals may give $2,500 to gubernatorial and other statewide candidates, and
$1,000 to legislative candidates per primary and general election. Political action committees
(PACs) may give $7,500 to gubernatorial, statewide, and state Senate candidates per election.
However, candidates for statewide office may accept only 50 percent of their total campaign funds
from PACs. State House candidates can accept $5,000 per election from PACs. Both House and
Senate candidates are limited to $75,000 from PACs.
PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S BY R ECIPIENT TYP E, 200 1-2004
TYPE
Legislative Candidates
Gubernatorial Candidates
Political Party Committees
TOTAL

DEMOCRAT S REPUBLICA NS
$28,425
$13,125
$10,850
$23,450
$5,500
$0
$44 ,775
$36 ,575

TOTAL
$41,550
$34,300
$5,500
$81 ,350

GUBERNATO RIAL RACE AT TRACTS CONTRIBUTIO NS
Forty-two percent of the money, or $34,300, went to four candidates for governor in 2002. Almost
87 percent, or $29,800, came from CCA executives and lobbyists. Private-prison contributions to
the two general-election candidates, Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Van Hilleary,
represented less than 1 percent of the amount each raised for his campaign. CCA lobbyists and
executives favored Hilleary, giving him $15,200, while Bredesen, the eventual winner, received
$10,600.
CON TRIBUTIONS TO TENN ESSEE GUBERN ATORIA L CAND IDATES , 2001 -2002

REC IPIENT
Hilleary, Van
Bredesen, Phil
Henry, James M.
Smith, Charles E.

PAR TY
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Democrat

STA TUS
Lost-General Election
Won
Lost-Primary Election
Lost-Primary Election
TOTAL

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

CCA
$15,200
$10,600
$3,750
$250
$29 ,800

WEST TN
HEA LTHCAR E
$4,500
$0
$0
$0
$4,500

72

TOTAL
$19,700
$10,600
$3,750
$250
$34 ,300

OTH ER REC IPIENT S OF P RISON- INDUST RY MON EY
Legislative candidates received $41,550 from private-prison interests during the study period. The
two companies and their executives and lobbyists gave $13,975 in 2002 and $27,575 in 2004.
Almost 93 percent — or $38,475 — went to incumbents. These contributors also gave heavily to
candidates who won their races. Twenty-three of the 32 candidates to whom the industry
contributed money in 2002 won their races, or 72 percent; one candidate did not run for reelection. In 2004, the percentage was even greater: 85 percent. The industry gave to 48 candidates,
41 of whom won their races.
CON TRIBUTIONS TO LEGI SLATIV E CAND IDATES BY PA RTY, 2 002-20 04
YEA R
2002
2004

DEM OCRATS
$8,975
$19,450
$28 ,425

REPUBLICA NS
$5,000
$8,125
$13 ,125

TOTAL
$13,975
$27,575
$41 ,550

Contributions from the prison industry favored Democratic legislative candidates over their
Republican counterparts. Democratic candidates received 68 percent of the total contributions to
legislative candidates. Most of the money was given in the 2004 election cycle, when Democrats
received two times as much as Republicans.
John D. Ferguson, a prison executive with CCA, also gave $5,500 to Democratic state party
committees. The House Senate Democratic Caucus received $3,000, and the Senate Democratic
Caucus received $2,500. No Republican committees received contributions.
The Democrats controlled both houses of the General Assembly after the 2002 elections; in 2004,
the Republicans won a narrow margin in the Senate, while Democrats retained control in the
House. All but $1,000 of Ferguson’s money to party committees was given in 2002.
COMMITTEE CONNE CTIONS
The Select Oversight Committee on Corrections is a joint legislative committee made up of seven
senators and seven representatives. According to the Tennessee Blue Book — the official manual
of state government — the committee is responsible for reviewing Department of Correction
operations, programs and expenditures for prison construction. The committee also issues a
written comment on any piece of legislation that might impact the corrections system. It may not,
however, make recommendations on whether the bill should pass or not.
In 2002, when elections were held for the 103rd General Assembly that met in 2003 and 2004, five
of the 14 members of the committee received a total of $1,850 from CCA and its executives. In the
2004 elections for the 104th General Assembly (2005 and 2006), nine of the 14 eventual members
received a total of $4,500 from CCA executives and lobbyists.
In addition, the top legislative recipients of industry funds were in high-level positions.

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73

TOP LEGIS LATIVE RECIP IENTS OF PRI SON MO NEY, 2 002-20 04
REC IPIENT
Ramsey, Ron
Henry, Douglas
Jones Jr., Ulysses
Wilder Sr., John S.
DeBerry, Lois

PAR TY
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Democrat
Democrat

OFF ICE
Senate
Senate
House
Senate
House

TOTAL
$2,700
$2,200
$2,000
$2,000
$1,750

In fact, the legislators who received the most money from prison-industry contributors during the
2002 and 2004 election cycles were those who held leadership positions within the Legislature as
a whole and in committees, as well.
Sen. Ron Ramsey became the Senate Majority Leader in 2004 and has
been chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus since 2002.
Sen. Douglas Henry is the chairman of the Senate Finance, Ways &
Means Committee.
Rep. Ulysses Jones Jr. is chairman of the House State and Local
Government Committee, which hears many of the bills affecting the
Department of Correction and the prison industry.
Sen. John Wilder, a Democrat, is speaker of the Senate and in that
position, not only appoints members and officers of committees but
also serves as lieutenant governor. Although the Senate was controlled
by Republicans after the 2004 election, Wilder remained the speaker
after two Republicans voted for him over the Republican candidate.136
Rep. Lois DeBerry serves as House speaker pro tempore for the 104th
General Assembly and sits on the Select Oversight Committee on
Corrections.
LEG ISLATI VE HIG HLIGHTS
In Tennessee, most bills relating to corrections go through the House and Senate Judiciary
committees or the State and Local Government committees. Legislators with seats on committees
that control the state’s purse strings, such as the Finance and Ways and Means Committees, are
also powerful. In Tennessee, the House Calendar and Rules Committee schedules when and if
bills will be debated on the House floor. If the committee decides a bill has no merit, it can refuse
to let it come for a vote on the floor, even if the bill has been through the committee process.
Members of this committee wield enormous power over a bill.
Although many bills pertaining to prisons and the private corrections industry were introduced in
both the 103rd and 104th legislative sessions in Tennessee,137 three proposed changes stand out: one
136
Richard Locker, “Wilder Keeps Speaker Post With GOP Help,” The Commercial Appeal, Jan. 12, 2005, sec.
B, p. 1.
137

The 104th General Assembly will end in late April or mid-May of 2006.

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74

to remove from state law the requirement that private prisons must provide a savings of at least 5
percent, compared to a similar state-run facility, a second to create a reporting and monitoring
process for private institutions holding out-of-state prisoners, and a third to revise Tennessee’s
sentencing laws in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Blakely v. Washington.
Tennessee legislators also faced numerous bills relating to health care during the 103rd and 104th
legislative sessions because of a financial crisis with TennCare, the state’s unique and extensive
Medicaid program.138 Executives of West Tennessee Healthcare, a not-for-profit health system,
contributed $6,125 in the 2002 and 2004 cycles. The bulk of the cash — $4,500 — went to the
Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2002, Van Hilleary. Five legislative candidates received the
rest of the money.
The 5 Percent Cost Rule
The fate of this legislation over both legislative sessions demonstrates that although the privateprison industry contributes to members of key legislative committees, money does not always
equal success in getting favorable legislation passed. Currently, Tennessee law requires that any
proposed contract between the state and a prison contractor cost at least 5 percent less than the
state’s estimated cost for providing the same service. According to the Select Oversight
Committee on Corrections, changing this law would affect only the South Central Correctional
Facility in Clifton. The other two private prisons in Tennessee operate under contracts with
individual counties and are not affected by this provision.139
Bills in both sessions would have allowed prison proposals to be accepted as long as the cost
estimate from the private-prison contractors was less than the state’s cost, with no minimum
savings. In the 103rd session, Democratic Reps. Randy Rinks and Ulysses Jones Jr. introduced
HB534. In the 2002 election cycle, they received $250 and $1,000 respectively from an executive
with CCA. Democratic Sen. Jim Kyle, who was not standing for re-election in 2002 and did not
receive money from the industry that election cycle, introduced the Senate version, SB738. The
bills were assigned to their respective State and Local Government Committees, where they died.
The 104th General Assembly saw a similar bill: SB1283 authored by Republican Sen. Ron
Ramsey. During the 2004 election cycle, Sen. Ramsey received $2,500 from CCA executives and
$200 from a West Tennessee Healthcare executive. Rep. Rinks, who received $500 during the
2004 election cycle from one CCA executive, introduced the House version of the bill: HB1818.
Although the bill originally contained language to eliminate the 5 percent rule, it generated
controversy after it was amended to eliminate the legislative review of private prison services. The
job of oversight would then fall solely to the Department of Correction and the governor.140
One amendment to the bill re-inserted the 5 percent requirement for any state contracts with
private prisons. A later amendment required the state to establish performance and cost criteria for
138

William M. Welch and Julie Appleby, “States Watching Tennessee’s Health Care Plan for the Poor,” USA
Today, July 5, 2004 [newspaper on-line]; available from http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-07-05medicaid-cover_x.htm; Internet; accessed March 13, 2006.
139

Comment on SB1283/HB1818, Select Oversight Committee on Corrections, March 7, 2005 [on-line];
available from http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/Joint/Committees/socc/corr.htm; Internet; accessed March 21,
2006.

140
Judith R. Tackett, “Morgan: State Poor at Watching Contracts,” The Nashville City Paper, May 10, 2005
[newspaper on-line]; available from
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/index.cfm?section=9&screen=news&news_id=41345; Internet; accessed
March 20, 2006.

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75

proposals and contracts for private prisons prior to awarding any contract but was far less specific
than the original language in Tennessee law.
On March 7, 2006, the amended SB1283 finally passed the Senate State and Local Government
Committee on a 5-4 party line vote, with all the Republicans voting for it and all the Democrats
against it.141 Sen. Ramsey, who not only sponsored the bill but also was serving as Senate majority
leader, pulled the bill from the Senate floor on March 9, 2006, and it has not seen action since.142
SB1283 has generated some controversy, with the Tennessee State Employees Association
vowing to kill it.143
State Oversight of Private Prisons
According to the Select Oversight Committee on Corrections, Tennessee has no law to regulate
privately owned prisons when they bring in prisoners from other states.144 The company does not
have to provide information to the state about the type or number of prisoners being moved into
Tennessee. In the 103rd session, Republican Sen. Jeff Miller introduced SB542, which would have
required the comptroller of the treasury and the commissioner of correction to develop a plan to
monitor private-prison management contracts not involving Tennessee prisoners, as well as a
reporting process. Sen. Miller did not receive any prison-industry contributions.
The House version of this bill was HB547, introduced by Republican Rep. Bob McKee, who
received $250 from a CCA executive in the 2002 election cycle. The bills were assigned to the
State and Local Government committees in their respective chambers; both bills died in committee
without seeing any action.
CON TRIBUTIONS TO MEMBERS OF STATE & LOC AL GOV ERNMEN T
COM MITTEES, 200 1-2004
REC IPIENT
Ramsey, Ron
Jones Jr., Ulysses*
DeBerry, Lois
Cohen, Steve*
Todd, Curry
Tindell, Harry
Rinks, Randy (Bear)
Langster, Edith Taylor
Miller, Larry J.
Burchett, Tim
Kent, Joe
Kurita, Rosalind
Yokley, Eddie

PAR TY
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Democrat
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Democrat
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Democrat

OFF ICE
Senate
House
House
Senate
House
House
House
House
House
Senate
House
Senate
House

TOTAL
$2,700
$2,000
$1,750
$1,500
$1,250
$1,050
$750
$600
$600
$500
$500
$500
$500

141

Beth Rucker, “CCA Wants to Eliminate Comparison with State Prison System,” Knoxville News Sentinel,
March 6, 2006 [newspaper on-line]; available from www.knoxnews.com/kns/state/
article/0,1406,KNS_348_4521914,00.html; Internet; cached version accessed March 20, 2006.
142

“State Workers Oppose Bill Easing Private Prison Oversight,” Associated Press, March 12, 2006.

143

Ibid.

144

“Comment on HB547/SB542,” Select Oversight Committee on Corrections, March 10, 2003 [on-line];
available from http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/Joint/Committees/socc/corr.htm; Internet; accessed March 21,
2006.

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76

REC IPIENT
Bunch, Dewayne
Haynes, Joe M.
Hensley, Joey
Litz, John
Pruitt, Mary
Vincent, Jim

PAR TY
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Republican

OFF ICE
House
Senate
House
House
House
House
TOTAL

TOTAL
$450
$300
$250
$250
$250
$200
$15 ,900

*Rep. Ulysses Jones Jr. and Sen. Steve Cohen both were chairmen of their respective State & Local
Government Committees during the 103rd and 104th General Assemblies.

In the 104th Assembly, Sen. Jeff Miller again introduced a bill to require the state to develop an
oversight process to regulate the prison industry and out-of-state prisoners. The bill is SB315.
Again, it was referred to the Senate State and Local Government Committee, where it still sits at
the time of this report.
Sentencing Laws
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 24, 2004, in Blakely v. Washington that judges could no
longer increase a defendant’s sentence based on facts established after a jury trial.145 Before this
ruling, judges could sentence a defendant to a longer prison term than was set out by state
guidelines if the judge found there were aggravating factors that justified the increased sentence.146
Aggravating factors in Tennessee include a previous criminal history, using a gun in a crime,
violation of parole terms, and a victim who was vulnerable because of age or disability.147
Although the lawsuit focused on Washington state laws, the effects of the ruling were felt
nationwide. Because Tennessee had similar guidelines to those in Washington, officials had to
make changes to their sentencing policies. Gov. Bredesen established a panel of judges, lawyers
and state legislators to decide how the state should respond to the ruling.148
SB2249 and its House counterpart, HB2262, started as bills revising DUI statutes. However, an
amendment to the bill gutted the original language and enacted the panel’s solution to the demands
of Blakely. In effect, the bill allowed judges more flexibility for sentencing defendants. Before the
ruling, Tennessee had presumptive sentencing guidelines, which meant the state legislature set out
sentences that judges must impose.149 SB2249 gave judges discretion on how much time they
could add or subtract from the base sentences required by state law.150

145

Kathleen Hunter, “Ruling Casts Doubt on Some State Sentencing Systems,” Stateline.org, Aug. 18, 2004
[on-line]; available from
http://www.stateline.org/live/ViewPage.action?siteNodeID=136&languageID=1&contentId=15742; Internet;
accessed March 16, 2006.

146

Don Stemen and Daniel F. Wilhelm, “Supreme Decision Focuses State Attention on Sentencing Regimes,”
State News (a Council of State Governments publication), June/July 2005.
147
“Amendment No. 1 to SB2249,” Tennessee General Assembly [on-line]; available from
http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/bills/currentga/billLookUp.asp; Internet; accessed March 17, 2006.
148

Duncan Mansfield, “Governor Forms Panel on Sentencing Change – Bredesen Opposes Ruling Vacating
Longer Terms,” The Commercial Appeal, July 23, 2004, sec. B, p. 2.
149

Don Stemen and Daniel F. Wilhelm, “Supreme Decision Focuses State Attention on Sentencing Regimes,”
State News (a Council of State Governments publication), June/July 2005
150
“Bill Summary for SB2249/HB2262,” Tennessee General Assembly [on-line]; available from
http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/bills/currentga/Summary.aspx?BillNumber=SB2249; Internet; accessed March
16, 2006.

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T E N N E S S E E D E P A R T M E N T O F C O R R E C T I O N B U D G E T , 2 0 0 2 - 2 0 0 5 151
From fiscal year 2002-2003 to fiscal year 2004-2005, the Department of Correction budget grew
more than 9 percent. Although the state faced a fiscal crisis in early 2003 and many state
departments saw their budgets cut under Gov. Bredesen’s first budget proposal for fiscal year
2004,152 the Department of Correction saw a slight 4.2 percent increase in its operating budget.
The increase was due in no small part to the rise in the number of prisoners housed in Tennessee
prisons. Some neighboring states chose to release certain nonviolent felons early, but Tennessee
lawmakers were not enthused about that idea to help balance their state’s budget.153 As another
step to reduce department expenses, Tennessee cut reimbursement rates for county facilities
holding state prisoners.154
According to Tennessee Department of Correction annual reports for each fiscal year, state prison
population levels rose from a daily average of 17,372 prisoners in FY2001-2002 to 19,141 in
FY2004-2005. The Department expected it could meet demand for prison space until at least 2008
by adding 2,000 beds to the system.155 These beds will be used for federal prisoners, in addition to
state inmates. From 1995 to August 2002, the percentage of felons receiving parole fell from 34.9
percent to 24.7 percent,156 increasing the number of prisoners to be housed.
TEN NESSEE DEPAR TMENT OF COR RECTIO N BUDG ET, 20 01-200 5
FISCAL
YEA R
2001-2002
2002-2003
2003-2004
2004-2005

OPERATING
BUD GET
$504,307,300
$522,091,100
$543,903,100
$570,745,200

TOTAL
EXPENDITU RES
$449,708,900
$475,685,500
$497,569,600
$526,280,600

PRIVATE PRISON
CON TRACT LIABIL ITY*
$52,526,147
$60,629,323
$79,124,311
$80,058,800

* This figure represents the maximum amount for which the department may contract for private-prison services.
However, the actual amount spent may be less, depending on prisoner populations in a given fiscal year.

151

Unless otherwise footnoted, all budget numbers were collected from Annual Reports made available on the
Department of Correction Web site, http://www.tennessee.gov/correction, or from contacts with the DOC staff.
Contract liability represents the state’s estimated cost of private prisons to the state, not the actual expenditures
made during that fiscal year.
152

Richard Locker, “Broad Cuts Balance Bredesen's $21.4 Billion Budget — But Cities, Highways, Even St.
Jude Would Take Hits,” The Commercial Appeal, March 11, 2003, sec. A, p. 1.
153

Duren Cheek, “Early Inmate Release Gets Cool Response,” The Tennessean, Jan. 27, 2003 [newspaper online]; available from
http://www.tennessean.com/government/archives/03/01/28133470.shtml?Element_ID=28133470; Internet;
accessed March 24, 2006.

154

Skip Cauthorn, “State Inmates Crowd Jail,” The Nashville City Paper, Feb. 26, 2004 [newspaper on-line];
available from http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/index.cfm?section=9&screen=news&news_id=31015; Internet;
accessed March 17, 2006.

155

“Tennessee Prisons’ Head Count Up 4.7%,” Associated Press, June 2, 2004.

156

Duren Cheek, “Early Inmate Release Gets Cool Response,” The Tennessean, Jan. 27, 2003 [newspaper online]; available from
http://www.tennessean.com/government/archives/03/01/28133470.shtml?Element_ID=28133470; Internet;
accessed March 24, 2006.

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In Gov. Bredesen’s first two budgets after the 2002 election — FY2003-2004 and FY2004-2005
— the Department of Correction received about $13.7 million each year in additional funds to
increase prison capacities. In FY2001-2002, budget increases totaled $14.6 million, but the total
was not itemized to provide insight into how much might go to expand the number of available
prison beds. The same is true for the more than $2.6 million in budget increases in FY2002-2003.
The estimated maximum cost of the contracts the state has with private prisons grew from 11.6
percent of the departmental budget in 2002-2003 to 14.5 percent in 2003-2004. The maximum
liability for prison contracts in 2004-2005 was 14 percent of the operating budget.
In addition, the Department of Correction reorganized its management structure to place more
emphasis on rehabilitating prisoners to reduce recidivism rates and prison populations.157

157

“Tennessee Prisons’ Head Count Up 4.7%,” Associated Press, June 2, 2004.

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ARIZONA
By Linda Casey

Private-prison interests — primarily lobbyists — gave $77,267 to Arizona candidates during the
2002 and 2004 election cycles. The contributions largely went to legislative candidates, 74 percent
of whom won their seats.
Private prisons have a strong interest in Arizona. Two companies operate prisons within the state,
while three hold Arizona inmates in facilities in other states. Their interests were clear in
legislation considered in recent sessions, including a 2003 proposal that increased the number of
private-prison beds in the state and a 2005 measure that called for a constitutional amendment to
cap the population in state-run prisons and transfer any prisoners above that cap to privately run
facilities.
Contributors favored Republican candidates — not surprising in a state where 62 percent of the
lawmakers are Republicans and the Democratic governor has termed private prisons “an option of
last resort,” questioning whether they cost the state less “than a well-run (public) system.”158
Republicans received nearly 90 percent of the industry contributions.
Interestingly, like Colorado and Florida, Arizona’s contribution limits are among the lowest in the
country, at $270 per legislative candidate per election in 2002 and $280 in 2004. However, unlike
other states in this report, including Colorado and Florida, neither of Arizona’s major state party
committees received money from the industry or its representatives.
PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S BY R ECIPIENT TYP E, 200 1-2004
TYPE
DEM OCRATS REPUBLICA NS
Legislative Candidates
$7,315
$57,582
Other Statewide Candidates
$165
$6,725
Gubernatorial Candidates
$220
$5,260
TOTAL
$7,700
$69 ,567

TOTAL
$64,897
$6,890
$5,480
$77 ,267

Lobbyists registered as representatives of the private-prison industry gave 84 percent of the money
Arizona candidates received from private-prison sources. Twenty lobbyists from 10 firms
represented, among other clients, five private-prison firms and one food service subcontractor,
Aramark Corp. Their contributions totaled almost $65,500.
The top-contributing lobbyist was John P. Kaites with Public Policy Partners. According to the
Arizona Secretary of State, the GEO Group, Inc. is among the organizations and businesses for
which Public Policy Partners lobbies. A former Arizona legislator, Kaites is currently an attorney
with Ridenour Hienton. He received the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC)
Outstanding Legislator of the Year Award in 1998.159 ALEC backed many of the tougher

158

Bill Hart, “Private-Prison Push Stalls in State,” The Arizona Republic, Oct. 18, 2003.

159

“Professionals: John P. Kaites,” Ridenour, Hienton, Kelhoffer, Lewis & Garth PLLC [on-line]; available from
http://www.rhhklaw.com/professionals/kaites.html; Internet; accessed April 13, 2006.

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sentencing policies that helped increase state prison populations in the past decade and made
model legislation available to legislators.
Ron Ober and Jason E. Isaak with Policy Development Group, Inc. ranked second and fourth
among the lobbyists contributing during the study-period. The Secretary of State lists Corrections
Corporation of America (CCA) among that firm’s clients. Kristen R. Boilini was the third-largest
giver among lobbyists. Boilini, with KRB Consulting, is listed with the Secretary of State as a
lobbyist for Correctional Services Corp. (CSC).
THE COMPA NIES
Four private prisons in Arizona house 2,900 offenders. In addition, the state to house 2,936
inmates in out-of-state, private facilities.
Both firms operating prisons in Arizona gave contributions. CSC executives and lobbyists gave
$18,920 to rank second among private-prison contributors, while Management and Training Corp.
and its lobbyists gave almost $6,900. CSC also housed Arizona inmates at its Newton, Texas,
facility during the study period. Individuals affiliated with CCA gave $21,500. Until recently,
CCA held Arizona inmates at two of its out-of-state facilities; currently, it houses Arizona inmates
only at its Watonga, Okla., facility. GEO Group, Inc. lobbyists gave $16,500; the company
contracts with Arizona to hold prisoners at its Pecos, Texas, facility.
The following table details industry contributions during the study period.
PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS IN ARIZON A, 200 1-2004
CON TRIBUT OR
Ober, Ron & Gail Gordon
Isaak, Jason E. & Cynthia E.
MacDonald, John D. & Vanessa
Hush, Gary A. & Cara
Sanchez, Edward J.
Regner, Janet K.
Walker, Paul J.
McBrayer, W. Terry
Wedell, Henri L. & Marsha
Senseman, Paul C.
Boilini, Kristen R. & Robert W.
Slattery, James F. & Diane L.
Lambert, Michael T. & Mary E.
Rau, Russell S. & Denise
Wagner, Bernard A.
Cotler, Ira M. & Denise M.
Matthews, Robert
Mentzer III, John R.
Garretson, Michael C.
Hall, Elizabeth

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

POSITION
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Prison Company Director
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive
Prison Company Executive

COM PANY
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA
CCA TOTAL
CSC
CSC
CSC
CSC
CSC
CSC
CSC
CSC
CSC
CSC
CSC TOTAL

81

TOTAL
$8,234
$6,653
$2,410
$1,660
$750
$745
$470
$270
$250
$150
$21 ,592
$7,320
$7,205
$1,790
$665
$600
$540
$380
$220
$100
$100
$18 ,920

CON TRIBUT OR
Kaites, John P.
Duger, Meghaen M.
Dellartino, Marcus
Barnes, Stan
Calkins, Ian H.
Lara, Alice L.
McGerty, Sarah Elizabeth
Dorn, Thomas C.
MTC
Stokes, Spencer F.
Williams, G. Michael
Ihrke, Jay D.

POSITION
Lobbyist
Lobbyist
Lobbyist

COM PANY
GEO Group
GEO Group
GEO Group
GEO TOTAL
Lobbyist
Cornell
Lobbyist
Cornell
Lobbyist
Cornell
Lobbyist
Cornell
COR NELL T OTAL
Lobbyist
MTC
Prison Company
MTC
Lobbyist
MTC
MTC TOTAL
Lobbyist
Aramark
Prison Company Executive
Wackenhut
OT HER CO NTRIBU TIONS TOTAL
TOTAL

MTC = Management & Training Corp.
CCA = Corrections Corporation of America
CSC = Correctional Services Corp.
GEO Group formerly operated as Wackenhut Corrections, a unit of Wackenhut Corp.

LEG ISLATI ON AND POLICY CHAN GES
Five pieces of legislation considered in recent legislative sessions sought to either modify
Arizona’s sentencing laws, increase the number of private-prison beds in the state, address
overcrowding by requiring the Department of Corrections to transfer prisoners to private prisons,
or prohibit out-of-state prisoners from being housed in Arizona’s private prisons.
2003 Legislation
Introduced during a special session of the legislature held in part to address prison overcrowding,
House Bill 2019 increased the number of prison beds and created a fund, derived from driving
under the influence (DUI) fines, to finance the construction and operation of prisons. Through a
series of twists and turns not uncommon for some pieces of legislation, HB 2019 made its way
through House and Senate committees, as well as conference committees appointed to iron out
differences between the versions approved by the two chambers. Eventually, after a number of
changes, the measure made its way to the governor’s desk and was signed into law.
The original measure called for 3,000 private-prison beds with 1,600 beds going to two private
prison facilities –- Phoenix West and Florence West, both operated by Correctional Services Corp.
The remaining 1,400 beds were to go to out-of-state contractors.
The final version signed into law provided for 1,000 new state-operated beds and 1,000 new
private beds and did not specify the location of the private beds. In addition, funding was
authorized for temporary out-of-state beds; the Department of Corrections estimated the funding
would provide for an additional 2,064 beds.

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82

TOTAL
$13,972
$2,434
$100
$16 ,506
$3,960
$2,350
$1,000
$350
$7,660
$6,370
$256
$250
$6,876
$5,662
$50
$5,712
$77 ,267

And the portion of the bill dealing with funds derived from DUI fines took an interesting turn, as
well. It initially called for the funds to be deposited in what was called the “Prison Overcrowding
Fund.” That language was amended to the less harsh “Prison Construction and Operations Fund.”
Arizona Department of Corrections Director Dora Schriro opposed HB 2019, questioning —
among other things — the original proposal to expand existing private facilities without going
through a competitive bidding process and to limit the expansion to sites the state felt were
unsuitable for the proposed size of the expansion. She also said the proposal did not provide
enough additional housing to deal with the overcrowding situation.160
Russell Rau, CSC senior vice president, testified in support of the original proposal and told the
House Judiciary Committee that Phoenix West and Florence West “were constructed with
infrastructure in place to support future expansion.”161
And Joe Masella with the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association opposed HB 2019
saying “this plan will cost the state money in the long run … private companies are in the business
to make money.”162
The Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association made no campaign contributions during the
2002 and 2004 election cycles.
The bill passed the House Judiciary and Appropriations committees, the Senate Appropriations
Committee and conference committees in both chambers before becoming law.
Twenty-nine of the 42 members of the committees that heard this legislation received a combined
$23,276 from private-prison interests during the 2002 and 2004 election cycles.
Eight of the 12 members of the House Judiciary Committee received contributions from privateprison industry sources for a combined $3,820. Topping the list was Republican Rep. Bob
Robson, who signed on to HB 2019 as a sponsor. His contributions, totaling $1,845, came from
seven lobbyists representing one of four firms and from Aramark Corp., a food-service
subcontractor.
The vote in the House Judiciary Committee was 8-3, with one member excused. All of the votes in
favor came from Republicans. The three dissenting votes came from the two Democrats, Steve
Gallardo and Wally Straughn, and from Libertarian Yuri Downing. Only Rep. Straughn received
an industry-related contribution — $110 from Aramark lobbyist G. Michael Williams.
The following table shows those committee members who received contributions, as well as their
vote on HB 2019.

160

“Minutes of a Special Meeting: Arizona House Committee on Judiciary,” Arizona State Legislature, Nov. 13,
2003, [on-line]; available from
http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/46leg/2S/comm_min/House/1113JUD+2SS
%2EDOC.htm; Internet; accessed Feb. 16, 2006.
161

Ibid.

162

Ibid.

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83

CON TRIBUTIONS TO 2003 HOUSE JUDIC IARY C OMMITTEE MEM BERS

REC IPIENT
Robson, Bob
Pierce, Gary
Gray, Chuck
Graf, Randall J.
Straughn, Wally
Yarbrough, Steve
Miranda, Ben R.
Hubbs, Carole (Vice Chairwoman)

PAR TY
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Democrat
Republican

HB 2019
VOT E
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Absent
Yes
TOTAL

2002
$440
$500
$0
$250
$0
$0
$0
$0
$1,190

2004
$1,405
$455
$350
$0
$110
$110
$100
$100
$2,630

Nine of the 17 members of the House Appropriations Committee received private-prison industry
contributions for a combined total of $7,378. Another member, Rep. John Huppenthal, received a
$110 contribution from CCA lobbyist Jason Isaak while running for Senate in 2004; he returned
the contribution.
Contributions to the chairman and vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee
accounted for the largest portion of private-prison donations to Appropriations Committee
members. Chairman Russell K. Pearce and Vice Chairman Bill Konopnicki, both Republicans,
received $3,280 and $1,038, respectively. CSC executives gave a combined $1,670 to Rep. Pearce,
including a $220 contribution from CSC Senior Vice President Russell S. Rau.
The House Appropriations Committee amended HB 2019 on a voice vote, striking the section
dealing specifically with the private facilities at Phoenix West and Florence West. It then passed
the amended bill on a straight 9-5 party-line vote, with three members absent.
The following table details contributions to committee members and their votes on the amended
version of the bill. Seven other committee members received no industry contributions; three
voted in favor of HB 2019, two voted against and two were absent. And Rep. Huppenthal, who
voted in favor, returned a contribution from a CCA lobbyist in 2004, as noted above.
CON TRIBUTIONS TO 2003 HOUSE APPRO PRIATI ONS CO MMITTEE MEMBERS

REC IPIENT
Pearce, Russell K. (Chairman)
Johnson, Karen S.
Konopnicki, Bill (Vice Chairman)
Biggs, Andy
Hart, Joe
Gray, Linda
Lopez, Linda
Barnes, Ray
Lopes, Phil

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

PAR TY
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Democrat

HB 2019
VOT E
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Absent
No
TOTAL

2002
$880
$385
$0
$0
$270
$300
$0
$0
$0
$1,835

2004
$2,400
$905
$1,038
$675
$225
$0
$150
$110
$40
$5,542

84

The measure also passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee, where 12 of the 13
members received a combined total of just over $12,000 from private-prison interests. Topping the
list of recipients were Chairman Robert Burns and Vice Chairman Jim Waring. Republican Sen.
Slade Mead, who voted in favor of the bill, received no industry contributions during the study
period.
CON TRIBUTIONS TO 2003 SENATE APPR OPRIATIONS C OMMITTEE MEM BERS

REC IPIENT
Burns, Robert (Chairman)
Waring, Jim (Vice Chairman)
Martin, Dean
Giffords, Gabrielle
Verschoor, Thayer
Anderson, Mark
Harper, Jack W.
Soltero, Victor
Bee, Timothy S.
Cannell, Robert
Rios, Pete
Arzberger, Marsha

PAR TY
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Democrat

HB 2019
VOT E
Yes
Yes
Yes
Not Voting
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Not Voting
No
TOTAL

2002
$1,735
$650
$650
$900
$0
$300
$0
$350
$270
$0
$0
$100
$4,955

2004
$736
$1,595
$1,185
$350
$1,130
$350
$625
$200
$252
$375
$275
$50
$7,124

Before becoming law, HB 2019 went to conference committees in both chambers. Only the
Republican members of the three-member conference committees — Robert Burns, Timothy Bee,
Bill Konopnicki and Russell K. Pearce —received private-prison contributions. All four voted in
favor of the measure. The two other members received no industry money and did not vote.
2004 Legislation
In 1993, Arizona passed a truth-in-sentencing law requiring inmates to serve 85 percent of their
sentences. For the remaining time, eligible inmates can earn credit toward an early release at the
rate of one day for each six days they serve with good behavior.163
House Bill 2320, described in its title as parole eligibility for non-violent offenders, sought a
change in the calculation of early release credits from one day for each six days served to one day
for each two days served, thus providing the possibility of earlier release. The bill’s sponsor,
Republican Rep. Marian A. McClure, told the House Committee on Public Institutions and
Counties that the bill dealt with prison overcrowding, but the questions and testimony centered
around the definition of a violent crime.
HB 2320 never made it out of committee. The last action taken on the measure shows it as being
“discussed and held” in committee.

163

House Bill Summary of HB 2320, Arizona House of Representatives, [on-line]; available from
http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/46leg/2r/summary/h.hb2320_01-2904_pic.doc.htm; Internet; accessed Feb. 16, 2006.

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85

While representatives of the private-prison industry did not appear publicly in support or
opposition to HB 2320, four members of the eight-member committee received private-prison
interest contributions, including the bill’s sponsor, Rep. McClure. She received $1,020, while
Republican Rep. Gary Pierce received $955, Republican Rep. Phil Hanson received $512, and
Democratic Rep. Wally Straughn received $110.
2005 Legislation
On the other side of the issue was stricter sentencing. House Bill 2447 would have been Arizona’s
version of the so-called “three-strikes” law, increasing the sentences for repeat offenders and,
theoretically, increasing the prison population. After amendments in the House Appropriations
Committee, HB 2447 called for sentencing offenders who had two or more previous serious
offenses to 35 years in prison.
But the measure, held after it passed out of the 15-member House Appropriations Committee,
never made it out of the House. HB 2447 was approved in committee on a party-line vote of 10-4,
with one Democratic member, Rep. Amanda Aguirre, absent. The four votes in opposition came
from the other Democratic members of the committee.
The bill’s primary sponsor, Republican Rick Murphy, did not receive contributions from the
private-prison industry. But nine of the 12 Republican sponsors did, totaling $11,435. Of that,
$8,755 came from lobbyists and $2,480 from prison companies and their executives.
Private-prison interests also contributed to six of the House Appropriations Committee members,
with the largest amount going to committee Chairman Russell K. Pearce.
For the most part, contributions to these six members came during the 2004 election cycle from
private-prison industry lobbyists. However, Rep. Pearce received $1,670 of his total from CSC
and CSC executives, as well as $200 from Management and Training Corp. The rest came from
industry lobbyists. Rep. Pearce received $880 of his private-prison contributions during the 2002
election cycle.
The following table shows those committee members who received contributions.
CON TRIBUTIONS TO 2005 HOUSE APPRO PRIATI ONS CO MMITTEE MEMBERS
REC IPIENT
Pearce, Russell K. (Chairman)
Knaperek, Laura
Farnsworth, Eddie
Biggs, Andy
Weiers, Jim
Brown, Jack A.

PAR TY
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Republican
Democrat

HB2 447 VO TE
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
TOTAL

TOTAL
$3,280
$850
$830
$675
$350
$325
$6,310

Two other bills dealing specifically with private prisons in 2005 never made it through the
process.

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86

Senate Bill 1268 would have prohibited the transfer of prisoners from another state to private
prisons in Arizona without the approval of the Department of Corrections director.
According to Amy Eichsteadt of the Arizona Senate Resource Center, Senate Bill 1268 “didn’t get
anywhere. There is no documentation on why. It could have been for any number of reasons. It
was either held in committee or maybe there was no time.”164
Three of the five Democratic sponsors of SB 1268 received contributions from private-prison
industry lobbyists. Sen. Gabrielle Giffords received $1,250, Sen. Robert Cannell received $375
and Sen. Harry Mitchell received $275.
Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 1003 originally called for an amendment to the Arizona
Constitution “requiring any increase in the prison population to be transferred to private prisons.”
Heard in the Senate Government Accountability and Reform Committee, the measure received a
3-2 vote on a motion to “do pass as amended/strike everything.”
The “strike everything” amendment is exactly as it sounds. The bill was gutted of its original
intent and passed on to the House with new intentions and a new title, dealing no longer with
prisons but with trust lands and airport leases.
Four of the five members of the committee received contributions from the private-prison
industry. The measure’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Jack W. Harper, received $625 from lobbyists
for private-prison interests; Harper also was chairman of the Senate Government Accountability
and Reform Committee.
Committee Vice Chairman Robert Burns, a Republican, received $2,471, with $1,640 coming
from lobbyists.
One of the two senators voting against the motion to strike everything was Democrat Richard
Miranda, who received $1,570, including $1,060 from five different CSC executives. The balance
came from industry lobbyists.
Republican Sen. Thayer Verschoor received $1,130 from industry lobbyists.

164

Telephone interview with Amy Eichsteadt of the Arizona Senate Resource Center, Feb. 16, 2006.

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MIS SISSIP PI
By Rachel Weiss

The private-prison industry in Mississippi has long been a source of monetary contributions to
candidates and political parties, as well as of political strife. During the waning days of the 2001
session, Mississippi legislators passed a bill to provide $6 million dollars for empty prison space,
arguing they were saving jobs at public prisons and private facilities. Then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove
vetoed the bill, but the Senate and House overrode the veto.165 Although the years following have
not been as contentious, the prison industry still wields influence over Mississippi lawmakers and
the political process.
After Haley Barbour became governor in 2004, he increased emphasis on private prisons as one
way to save the state money. Legislation passed in 2004 and 2005 juggled budget and public
safety priorities. Some new laws loosened Mississippi’s truth-in-sentencing rules that require
certain felony offenders to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences before being eligible for
parole; at the same time, other laws qualified new offenses for the 85-percent standard.
Mississippi is home to three state-run prisons, 11 regional or county-run prisons and six private
prisons. The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) operates three of these private prisons.
The GEO Group, Inc. (formerly Wackenhut Corrections) operates two, and Cornell Companies
operates a youth facility.
WHE RE THE CASH GOES
In 2002 and 2003, prison-industry contributors gave $63,250 to 27 Mississippi candidates and the
Mississippi Democratic Party. Of this money, $28,850 went to Democratic candidates and causes,
while $31,900 went to Republican candidates.
Mississippi holds elections for state-level offices every four years, so it held only one election
during the study period, in 2003. Candidates could receive contributions during the two-year
period of 2002 and 2003.
The following table shows how industry contributors apportioned their funds.
PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S BY R ECIPIENT TYP E, 200 2-2003
TYPE
DEM OCRATS REPUBLICA NS NON PARTISANS
Legislative Candidates
$20,350
$10,100
$0
Gubernatorial Candidates
$7,500
$21,300
$0
Other Statewide Candidates
$0
$500
$2,500
Political Party Committees
$1,000
$0
$0
TOTAL
$28 ,850
$31 ,900
$2,500

165

Edwin Bender, “A Contributing Influence: The Private Prison Industry and Political Giving in the South,”
Institute on Money in State Politics, April 30, 2002, pgs. 16-19.

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88

TOTAL
$30,450
$28,800
$3,000
$1,000
$63 ,250

Four companies and individuals associated with them contributed to Mississippi candidates and
party committees during the study period, as detailed below.
PRI SON-IN DUSTRY CONTR IBUTIO NS IN MISSIS SIPPI, 2002- 2003
CON TRIBUT OR
Carothers, Sean B.
Carothers, Arnold Wayne
Carothers Construction

POSITION
Construction Company Executive
Construction Company Executive
Construction Company

Wackenhut Corrections
Sage, Al & Leanne
Hester, Clare L.
Lundy, John
Medlin, Spencer E. (Buddy)
CCA
Burch III, Lucius E.
Wedell, Henri L.
Hargett, Edward

COM PANY
Carothers Construction
Carothers Construction
Carothers Construction
CAR OTHERS TOTAL
Prison Company
Wackenhut
Prison Company Executive
Wackenhut
WAC KENHUT TOTAL
Lobbyist
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Lobbyist
CCA
Prison Company
CCA
Prison Company Director
CCA
Prison Company Director
CCA
CCA TOTAL
Prison Company Executive
CMS
TOT AL OTH ER CON TRIBUT ORS
TOTAL

CCA = Corrections Corporation of America
CMS = Correction Management Services
Wackenhut Corrections now operates as the Geo Group, Inc.

These four companies have a vested interest in who controls Mississippi’s purse strings. The two
private-prison firms want to ensure money continues to flow to their prisons in the form of
payments for state prisoners held there. Carothers Construction, a large construction firm that
builds prisons in addition to its other general contractor work, could benefit from the state
deciding to open additional prisons or expand existing facilities. The company has built or
expanded six facilities in Mississippi to date, two of which were prisons operated by CCA. Three
other prisons were operated by regional or county authorities, while one renovation occurred at the
Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.166 And Corrections Management Services, run by a
former warden, provides substance abuse counseling, adult education class and other prisoner
education services in Mississippi.167
The companies’ desire to continue or to increase state investment in the prison industry is reflected
in their campaign contributions. At least five of the top 10 recipients of money were running for
offices in which they would wield influence over the state’s budget processes. Republican Haley
Barbour, who defeated incumbent Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, was the top recipient of
money from these companies. He received $10,800 from Carothers Construction and its
executives, as well as from executives with CCA and Corrections Management Services.
166
“Project Experience: Correction/Detention,” Carothers Construction [on-line]; available from
http://www.carothersconstruction.com/home/experience/correction; Internet; accessed Dec. 12, 2005.
167

Patrice Sawyer, “PEER: Jail Costs Too High,” The Clarion-Ledger, July 17, 2001 [newspaper-online];
available from http://orig.clarionledger.com/news/0107/17/a02.html; Internet; accessed March 29, 2006.

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TOTAL
$14,000
$6,750
$2,500
$23 ,250
$19,600
$1,650
$21 ,250
$5,450
$4,500
$3,750
$2,000
$1,000
$1,000
$17 ,700
$1,050
$1,050
$63 ,250

Musgrove, meanwhile, received $7,500 from Carothers Construction and its executives, as well as
from executives with CCA and Wackenhut.
Private-prison interests gave a total of $18,300 to two gubernatorial candidates in the 2003
election cycle, accounting for 29 percent of the total that prison interests gave to all candidates in
the cycle. The governor proposes a spending package to the legislature for consideration and also
holds veto power over any legislation the body sends back.
TOP RECIP IENTS OF PRI SON IN DUSTRY MONEY , 2002 -2003
REC IPIENT
Barbour, Haley
Tuck, Amy
Reynolds, Thomas U. (Tommy)
Musgrove, Ronnie
Gordon, Jack
Dickinson, Jess
Robertson, Tommy
Flaggs Jr., George
Carmichael, F. Videt
Huggins, Robert G. (Bunky)
Malone, Bennett

PAR TY
Republican
Republican
Democrat
Democrat
Democrat
Nonpartisan
Republican
Democrat
Republican
Republican
Democrat

OFF ICE
STA TUS
TOTAL
Governor
Won
$10,800
Lt. Governor
Won
$10,500
House
Won
$10,000
Governor
Lost-General Election
$7,500
Senate
Won
$2,750
Supreme Court
Won
$2,500
Senate
Won
$2,500
House
Won
$2,050
Senate
Won
$1,700
Senate
Won
$1,500
Senate
Won
$1,300

Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck received slightly less than Barbour from the prison interests: $10,500. Reelected in 2003, Tuck holds a powerful position in Mississippi. The lieutenant governor acts as
president of the Senate, appointing all Senate committee members, as well as committee chairmen
and vice-chairmen. She also sits on the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, which she heads on a
rotating basis with the speaker of the House.
During the study period, Rep. Thomas U. Reynolds — who collected $10,000 from executives of
Carothers Construction to rank third among recipients of prison-interest funds — held seats on
several committees, including Judiciary A and Ways and Means. The House Judiciary Committee
has two divisions: Judiciary A deals with the committee’s civil justice issues and Judiciary B with
the criminal justice topics.168
Sen. Jack Gordon was chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, while Sen. Tommy
Robertson was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Each chamber of the legislature has an
Appropriations Committee to handle bills that would spend the state’s money. The Senate Finance
Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee handle bills to raise money, such as tax
measures, exemptions and bond issues.
Several more top recipients served on House and Senate committees reviewing budget matters
during the 2004 and 2005 sessions. Reps. George Flaggs Jr. and Bennett Malone and Sen. Robert
G. Huggins figured prominently on the top recipient list and served on their respective House and
Senate Appropriations committees. Sen. F. Videt Carmichael was on the Senate Finance
Committee. In addition, all four held positions on House and Senate committees that exercise

168

Carole Cannon, “Let the Games Begin,” Jackson Free Press, Jan. 13, 2004 [on-line]; available from
http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/cover_more.php?id=2252_0_9_210_M; Internet; accessed Feb. 14, 2006.

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control over legislation affecting the Department of Corrections and private prisons. Flaggs was
chairman of the House Juvenile Justice Committee, Malone was chairman of the House
Corrections Committee, Huggins was chairman of the Senate Corrections Committee, and
Carmichael served on the Corrections Committee.
Another three candidates who held places on Corrections or Appropriations committees each
received $1,000 from prison industry contributors. Clearly, prison contributors carefully doled out
the largest checks to those candidates they believed would be able to wield the most influence over
matters of importance to them, including spending and corrections policy.
Very little money went to party committees; only the Mississippi Democratic Party received
prison-industry contributions. Wackenhut Corrections gave the party $1,000.
WHA T THE CASH CAN INF LUENCE
The State Budget
When Gov. Barbour’s office released the FY2005 budget proposal in early 2004 — covering the
period from July 1, 2004, to June 30, 2005 — it reflected the priority he put on using more private
prisons to save money.169 It was consistent with the priorities he set out in his first State of the
State address on Jan. 26, 2004. Those priorities included “controlling spending” and increasing
use of private prisons to control costs while still combating crime.170 Although the Department of
Corrections Fiscal Year 2005 budget decreased 4 percent from the 2004 levels — the first
decrease since FY 2001 — the scheduled private-prison payments jumped more than 30 percent
from Fiscal Year 2004. In fact, from FY 2000 through FY2004, private-prison payments held
steady at 13.9 to 14.5 percent of the budget. In FY 2005, the payments totaled almost 20 percent
of the department’s budget.171
MIS SISSIP PI PRI SON SP ENDING , FISC AL YEA RS 200 3-2005
FISCAL
YEA R
2003
2004
2005

COR RECTIO NS
BUD GET
$276,713,877
$289,195,791
$277,222,758

PRIVATE PRISON
PAYMENTS
$41,185,139
$41,982,087
$54,823,422

% OF TOTA L
14.8%
14.5%
19.8%

The Legislation
The first bill Gov. Haley Barbour signed into law after taking office in 2004 was designed to keep
open a private prison operated by CCA.172 House Bill 544 allowed the Tallahatchie County
Correctional Facility to house maximum-security inmates. Previously, it had housed only
169
Emily Wagster Pettus, “Barbour’s Plan Would Cut Jobs, Governor Aims to Close Budget Gap,” Associated
Press, Jan. 29, 2004.
170
“State of the State Address,” Governor Haley Barbour, Jan. 26, 2004 [on-line]; available from
http://www.governorbarbour.com/StateoftheState04.htm; Internet; accessed Dec. 5, 2005.
171

“Mississippi Department of Corrections Schedule of Costs By Category (All Programs) FY 1992-2005,”
Mississippi Department of Corrections [on-line]; available from http://www.mdoc.state.ms.us; Internet; accessed
Dec. 5, 2005. Includes all data in the paragraph and the following table.
172

Andy Kanengiser, “Barbour Signs Bill to Keep Prison Open,” The Clarion-Ledger, Feb. 4, 2004 [newspaper
on-line]; available from http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0402/04/m02.html; Internet; accessed Dec. 5, 2005.

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91

minimum- and medium-security inmates. Wisconsin and Alabama both sent prisoners to
Tallahatchie during this time.173 After the bill passed, inmates from Hawaii and Colorado filled the
spaces left by Alabama inmates returning to their own state.174
House Bill 544 was co-authored by Rep. Thomas U. Reynolds, who received $10,000 from
Carothers Construction executives in 2003 during his re-election campaign. Although the prison is
located near his district,175 CCA did not contribute to Reynolds’ 2003 campaign. Henri Wedell, a
director with CCA, did contribute $1,000 to Gov. Barbour’s campaign.
Barbour signed House Bill 544 into law on Feb. 3, 2004.
Shortly after HB 544 expanded the capacity of Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, Sen.
Robert G. (Bunky) Huggins introduced Senate Bill 2676, which authorized the Department of
Corrections to place state prisoners in private facilities in Tallatachie County. Huggins received a
total of $1,500 from Wackenhut Corrections and from a CCA executive. While HB 544 took only
12 days to become law, SB 2676 took about three months. In late 2004, Mississippi signed a
contract with CCA to house more than 100 maximum-security prisoners at Tallahatchie,176 to
replace the out-of-state inmates.
REC ENT SE NTENCI NG REV ISIONS IN MI SSISSI PPI
Sentencing laws in Mississippi are complex. For crimes committed before June 30, 1995, a
convicted offender is required to serve 25 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for
parole. For crimes committed from July 1, 1995, to Dec. 31, 1999, an offender must serve 85
percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole. If the parole board grants parole to an
offender, he or she must serve the remaining 15 percent of the sentence under state supervision.
After Jan. 1, 2000, certain nonviolent, first-time offenders are eligible for parole after serving 25
percent of their sentences.177
In recent years, legislators have introduced numerous bills to change the current 85 percent “truth
in sentencing” requirements to reduce Mississippi’s high incarceration rate.178 For instance, in
2004, HB654 by Rep. Bennett Malone won approval. It allowed prisoners with permanent medical
conditions for which there is no hope of recovery to be released after serving at least one year of
the sentence if the state believes it will “incur unreasonable expenses” by keeping the prisoner
locked up. These offenders will remain under the supervision of the state through the Department
of Community Corrections. Sex offenders do not qualify for release under this bill.
Other sentencing changes approved in 2004 and 2005 included:
173

Ibid.

174

Andy Kanengiser, “Barbour Signs Bill to Keep Prison Open,” The Clarion-Ledger , Feb. 4, 2004 [newspaper
on-line]; available from http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0402/04/m02.html; Internet; accessed Dec. 5, 2005,
and Holbrook Mohr, “State Moving Inmates to Private Prison,” Memphis Commercial Appeal, Oct. 27, 2004, p.
5.
175

Emily Wagster Pettus, “House OK’s Bill to Aid Prison – Tallahatchie Facility Stands to Lose Inmates,”
Memphis Commercial Appeal, Jan. 24, 2004, p. 4.
176

Holbrook Mohr, “State Moving Inmates to Private Prison,” Memphis Commercial Appeal, Oct. 27, 2004, p. 5.

177

This summary is from “What is Parole?” Mississippi Parole Board [on-line]; available from
http://www.mpb.state.ms.us; accessed Feb. 14, 2006.

178
Shelia Hardwell Byrd, “Mississippi Has Second-highest Incarceration Rate in Nation,” Associated Press,
Nov. 13, 2003.

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HB686, also introduced by Rep. Malone in 2004. It tripled the number
of days by which certain inmates could reduce their sentences by
participating in approved educational or instructional programs.
SB2680 in 2004. This measure added to the types of offenses that
require an offender to serve 85 percent of the sentence before being
eligible for parole. SB2680 required certain people convicted of DUI
offenses that resulted in the death or serious injury of another person to
serve 85 percent of their sentences
The Prison Overcrowding Emergency Powers Act (HB1734), which
would allow the governor to move up parole dates for certain
nonviolent offenders if the state’s prisons became too crowded or if the
Department of Corrections experienced a budget deficit. The measure,
approved in 2005, had been law once. But it lapsed in 2004 when
legislators allowed it to die under a sunset clause. The provision
allowing the governor to release prisoners to alleviate a deficit was
added to the 2005 bill and was not in the earlier version of the law.179
SB2988 in 2005, allowing parole for certain first-time offenders
sentenced for possession of drugs. In it, however, were provisions that
denied eligibility for parole to offenders serving time for certain felony
child abuse crimes or certain sex crimes against children.

179
John Fuquay, “Early Release Program for Inmates Weighed,” The Clarion-Ledger, March 30, 2005 [on-line];
available from
http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050330/NEWS010504/503300368/1205; Internet;
accessed Feb. 14, 2006.

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APP ENDIX A

PRI VATE-P RISON CONTRI BUTION S BY S TATE, 2000-2 004
The following table details private-prison giving in each of the 50 states and indicates the 23 states
with so-called “three-strikes” laws currently in place. The table includes the total contributions
from all private-prison industry interests by state for the 2002 and 2004 election cycles, which
includes contributions going back as far as 2000 for states that held elections in 2001. The 10
states studied in depth are in bold.

STA TE
Florida
Texas
New Jersey*
Indiana
Georgia
Oklahoma
California
Pennsylvania
New Mexico
Colorado
Hawaii
Tennessee
Arizona
Mississippi
Alaska
Illinois
Idaho
Louisiana*
New York
Wisconsin
Ohio
Connecticut
Utah
Minnesota
Kentucky
Alabama
Virginia*
Maryland
Vermont
Montana
Rhode Island
West Virginia
Kansas

The Institute on Money in State Politics  2006

3-STRIKES LAW
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No

TOTAL
$647,608
$518,892
$322,700
$226,804
$173,793
$170,500
$152,960
$117,573
$108,350
$81,525
$81,450
$81,350
$77,267
$63,250
$62,045
$56,100
$49,300
$45,882
$38,625
$22,546
$20,545
$19,725
$18,733
$17,339
$14,485
$13,950
$12,300
$11,420
$9,970
$9,580
$9,025
$8,758
$8,250

94

STA TE
3-STRIKES LAW
Wyoming
No
Michigan
No
Washington
Yes
Missouri
No
North Carolina
Yes
Massachusetts
No
Arkansas
Yes
South Carolina
Yes
Nevada
Yes
Maine
No
Oregon
No
Delaware
No
Iowa
No
Nebraska
No
New Hampshire
No
North Dakota
Yes
South Dakota
No
TOTAL

TOTAL
$6,700
$6,600
$6,225
$5,000
$4,875
$3,500
$2,000
$1,100
$1,000
$500
$125
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$0
$3,310,22 6

* State held elections in 2001, so its two-year election cycle would include
contributions made in 2000 and 2001.

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95

 

 

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