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Letter: Exporting Vermont Prisoners

To the Editor:

I want to address the mis characterizations of our company, Corrections Corporation of America, in the Nov. 30 editorial, “Vermont Should Stop Shipping Prison Inmates Out of State,” and share how we partner with Vermont to provide safe, secure housing and quality rehabilitation and re-entry programming for inmates.

At CCA, we believe we have an opportunity and a responsibility to help inmates develop the skills and values they need to be successful when they leave prison. For example, according to a recent study from the RAND Corp., offenders who participate in correctional education programs have a 43 percent better chance of not returning to prison than those who do not. At CCA’s Lee Adjustment Center in Kentucky, which houses inmates for the Vermont Department of Corrections, inmates have the opportunity to earn their GED, the equivalent of a high school diploma. Just this year, 36 inmates at Lee have earned their GED. The inmates may also participate in faith-based programs such as the Institute of Basic Life Principles course, which teaches responsibility and anger management to further reduce recidivism, or in substance abuse or vocational programs. This range of offerings helps ensure that Vermont inmates are better prepared to return to their communities once released.

CCA provides our government partners in Vermont and around the country flexible options to address difficult correctional challenges such as overcrowding. What’s more, CCA is able to provide these services at a cost savings. Earlier this year, our industry supported a study by highly respected academics at Temple University. Using the government’s own data, the professors found that contractor-operated prisons save between 12 and 58 percent in long-run costs. CCA is proud to provide recidivism-reducing programs, taxpayer savings, secure facilities and general flexibility in our partnership with Vermont and other local, state and federal partners. We look forward to continuing to be just one part of the solution to the correctional challenges facing our country.

Steve Owen

Senior Director of Public Affairs

Corrections Corporation of America

Nashville, Tenn.

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Vermont considers itself a pretty enlightened place, and in many ways, it is. But it also has its blind spots. One of them was cast in sharp relief last week in a report that highlighted Vermont’s practice of shipping prison inmates out of state to be incarcerated in privately run, for-profit correctional facilities. This ought to be halted sooner rather …

Letter: Focus on Prisoners, Not Profits

Monday, December 16, 2013

To the Editor: In a Dec. 10 letter (“Exporting Vermont Prisoners”), Steve Owen, the head PR person for Corrections Corp. of America, the nation’s largest for-profit prison firm, bemoaned the “mischaracterizations” of his company in your Nov. 30 editorial. That company houses hundreds of Vermont prisoners in out-of-state facilities, far from their families. I write as one who served six …