Three private companies are competing to manage the jails of Memphis’s Shelby County, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Correctional Services Corp. (CSC), based in Sarasota, Fl., says it can save taxpayers at least $45 million over the life of a five-year contract. The GEO Group, based in Boca Raton, Fl., would pay for $170 million in capital improvements, including construction of new jail and prison facilities that it would manage. Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) also is bidding for the business. One local corrections center houses 2,500 inmates; the other has about 2,100.
Because 25 percent of county dollars are spent on criminal justice, the potential savings from privatization represents an attractive alternative for some leaders of the cash-strapped county. CCA, the giant of the private prison industry, is wooing the county with $30 million in cash up front and a new 3,600-bed combined jail and correction complex valued at more than $200 million.