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Letter: Exporting Vermont Prisoners

Monday, December 16, 2013
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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