On October 1, 1985 the Corrections Corporation of America acquired operation of Bay County, Florida's, main jail at a negotiated daily rate of $24 per prisoner. (Recall from above that Michigan sheriffs' daily state-wide average per-inmate operating costs ranged from $28 per bed to $38 per bed, depending on whether the MSA or the DMB report was the more accurate.) The Bay County Sheriff had requested the County to appropriate 837 per day for operation of the jail. At the time the County was facing numerous lawsuits from inmates and the State Department of Corrections due to overcrowding. CCA immediately remodeled the old 196-bed downtown jail complex at a cost of $700,000 to bring it into State compliance. (That's $3,571 per bed. The reader is asked to remember that the Michigan Sheriffs Association, based on data supplied by the state's county sheriffs and noted above, indicates that 70% of the state's 7,263 beds in place at the time of its 1984 survey were out of compliance with State Corrections Department standards and that it would take in excess of $26.5 million to bring them into compliance. That's more than $5,000 per bed.)

Following remodeling of the old jail, CCA designed and built an expandable 175-bed work-camp facility for $4.3 million. {That's $24,571 per bed for a new – from the ground up – facility. Recall that the Department of Justice study noted above found that when traditional government-built facilities finally came on line, the cost was near $58,000 per bed or more). A further provision of the County's contract with CCA required the company to secure $15 million of liability insurance. CCA retained all former jail employees and hired additional staff . Employee salaries were raised; the new work-camp was air conditioned; a full-time medical staff was added, giving the facility something it had never had before: and, again for the first time, all prisoners were issued pillows.

In response to this private sector lake over" of a government jail, State Representative Dick Locke, who had at one time been a sheriff s deputy, introduced legislation to outlaw private jails and prisons in Florida (recall that the nonprofit Eckerd Foundation was already operating a secure juvenile facility in the state). But Representative Locke did the most extraordinary thing in this day of 'accuse first and investigate later': he visited the CCA jail in Bay County. Fixing it, as he told tie Panama City News Herald "the cleanest and best operated jail I've ever been in," he withdrew his proposed legislation.

Corrections Corporation of America saves Bay County, Florida, over $700,000 per year compared to what it would have cost them to operate the jail under old 'within system' means. Moreover, there is now a new and expanded jail and the County has not had to pay a dime to settle lawsuits because all inmate suits were dropped following the changes initiated by the private contractor. In addition to -he $700,000 saved, the County saves up to $2,000 per day on its road crews without displacing another single employee because improved conditions in the jail under CCA's operation has allowed tie secure release of So workers per day for road work. Finally, CCA makes money on its operation of the Bay County jail. (More on the question of whether or not private firms can, in fact, make money operating jails without doing things which reduce the quality of prison services, will be given below). [46]

When CCA took over operation of the Silverdale Correctional facility in Hamilton County, Tennessee, they immediately remodeled the kitchen; hired full-time medical staff and a full-time counselor-chaplain; added professional dietitians: and made numerous other changes. CCA's contract with Hamilton County, Tennessee, calls for a daily charge of $21 per inmate and saves the local government 12.5% compared to what it used to cost them to operate the facility. No county staff were dismissed and additional staff were hired. CCA covers all its costs at Silverdale and earns only a modest profit. [47]

The new 350-bed minimum security facility completed in Houston, Texas, by CCA in 1984 under contract to the Immigration and Naturalization Service was brought on line in fiveand one-half months at a cost of $14,000 per bed. INS's own estimate for building the facility for itself was two and one-half years and $24000 per bed. CCA's daily charge is $24 per inmate, which covers construction and operating costs [48].