New Study Details What Happens When a Prison Enters a Community

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Initial perceptions vs. proven realities in Montana community show real impact of CCA partnership prison.

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This research shows how the real benefits of a prison – especially one owned and managed by a tax-paying correctional management business – can differ dramatically from the ideas residents first have

Ten years ago, when CCA entered Shelby, Mont., to build, own and operate Crossroads Correctional Center for the Montana Department of Corrections, some residents had questions about a prison being built there. There were concerns about protecting their families, maintaining the investment in their property and preserving a high quality of life.

The City of Shelby recently released findings from its 10-year analysis, which evaluates safety, social and community services, and property values and compares residents’ thoughts in 1998 about what a prison would mean for their community to what the proven reality was in 2008.

“This research shows how the real benefits of a prison – especially one owned and managed by a tax-paying correctional management business – can differ dramatically from the ideas residents first have,” said Tony Grande, CCA chief development officer. “The study shows that CCA has brought strong jobs, meaningful taxes and active community involvement in a very safe environment for the public.”

“Our 10-year analysis indicates that the private correctional facility is safe and does not cause adverse social problems in a community,” said Larry J. Bonderud, City of Shelby mayor. “We conducted a national analysis prior to our determination that we would seek a correctional partnership with the private sector. We contacted some 20-plus communities that had private correctional facilities in or near them.”

Before CCA built the 660-bed Crossroads facility, the City of Shelby held public hearings that were conducted as part of the site selection process. The city also identified specific areas of interest expressed by a group of residents, whose concerns were tracked and measured at five- and 10-year intervals after the facility opened.

Among the findings at the 10-year point:

Safety

  •     Before Crossroads opened, residents expressed concerns about inmate escapes from the facility. In the 10-year review period, no escapes or attempts have been made at the facility.
  •     Residents previously felt the crime rate might increase. However, the crime rate for Toole County, where Crossroads is located, fell by approximately one-half since the facility opened.
  •     Residents had worried that released prisoners would settle in the Shelby community or in nearby areas. However, findings show that most inmates are not from the local area and, as a result, generally return to their homes and families.

Social and Community Services

  •     Residents initially thought the new prison would increase the demand on public assistance. Instead, the study shows that “many of those individuals who were receiving assistance were taken off the welfare rolls as they garnered employment with the correctional facility.” Additionally, the number of families on state public programs has remained relatively the same from 1998-2008.

Economic Impact – From supporting local business to paying taxes, residents weren’t sure what economic benefits a prison would bring.

Local business support

  •     The Crossroads facility supports local businesses, with five percent of supply purchases being made from Toole County businesses and 75 percent from Montana-based businesses.

Payroll

  •     From 2004 to 2008, the payroll for Crossroads employees nearly doubled, due to pay raises and increased hiring as the prison’s inmate population grew.

Taxes

  •     The decrease in working oil companies and their productivity has had a negative impact on Shelby County’s total taxable value. However, the Crossroads facility contributes nearly $478,332 in taxes (in 2007), substantially offsetting those losses.

Utility payments

  •     Crossroads pays an average of more than $107,000 per year in water, sewer and sanitation services. It also averages nearly $305,000 annually in gas and electricity payments.

Property Values

Residents thought the prison might negatively impact property values. However, property adjacent to Crossroads Correctional Center has grown in value and now benefit from the provision of public utilities, including water, sewer, gas and electricity adjacent to the land.

“CCA is a national company that provides local value,” said Sam Law, warden at Crossroads Correctional Center. “We provide stable jobs and support local businesses. We also offer the State high quality corrections at a cost savings that leaves more taxpayer money for schools, hospitals and other needs. Most of all, we are keeping communities safe.

To view the complete study, visit the CCA Research Institute at http://www.ccaresearchinstitute.com.

About Crossroads Correctional Center

Crossroads Correctional Center was designed and built by CCA, which manages and operates the 664-bed multi-security male facility. With a staff of approximately 180, Crossroads houses inmates for the State of Montana and the United States Marshals Service.

About CCA
CCA is the nation’s largest owner and operator of government-contracted correctional and detention facilities, operating 65 facilities, including 40 company-owned, with approximately 86,500 beds, in 19 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to providing the residential services for inmates, our facilities offer rehabilitation and educational programs, including education, vocation, religious services, life skills and employment training and substance abuse treatment. Visit http://www.correctionscorp.com and http://www.ccacommunities.com.

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Louise Grant, Vice President, CCA Market
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