Fri
May 18 2012
10:45 pm

Thomas W. Beasley is best known in Tennessee for having founded Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) (formerly Prison Realty Trust) in Nashville in 1984. His chain of privately owned and operated local, state, and federal prisons today houses 75,000 in 60 facilities and employs 17,000 nationwide.

In 1997, Beasley founded Infrastructure Corporation of America (ICA), also in Nashville. That chain "privatize(d) certain road services traditionally performed by governments."

Beasley also operates at least two for-profit Education Management Organizations (EMOs) in Nashville, a third in Florida, and likely still has an ownership interest in a chain of private colleges.

Beasley founded Community Education Partners (CEP) in Nashville in 1997, with a goal of privatizing certain K-12 public education functions.

That venture appears not to have gone very well in recent years.

In 2009, the Georgia ACLU dropped its federal lawsuit against CEP challenging "the inadequate education provided by the (Atlanta-area) school to its students."

Just this year, in February, a Philadelphia-area student has also filed a civil rights-related suit against CEP.

Beasley operates a second EMO, Accelerated Learning Solutions, out of that same Nashville business location.

Accelerated Learning Solutions is on file with the Florida Department of State, too, under the same Nashville address used by the other two EMOs.

As to his forays in higher ed, it is not clear if Beasley himself founded Education Corporation of America (ECA)--although the entity's name is as dull. ECA, which operated in Tennessee until 1994 but which is now headquartered near Birmingham, AL, "owns and operates private accredited colleges across the United States as well as via the Internet."

What is certain is that Beasley served on its Board of Directors as recently as 2004 (per that House Joint Resolution previously cited above). It was in 2004 that ECA was purchased by Chicago-based private equity investment firm Willis Stein & Partners.

Per ECA's site, included among their colleges is the Virgina College chain, at which students may pay $34,000 tuition to earn an associates degree--but VC makes no guarantees as to the transferability of their course credits to four-year universities.

And Wiki says Corrections Corporation of America is a member of ALEC.

If Beasley's yet running any charter schools in Tennessee through these for-profit EMO's, I haven't found them. Please report back if you should.

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Tamara Shepherd's picture

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Related: Look who's now on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA)--

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey today announced the appointment of Phil M. Baggett to the board of directors of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA).

An experienced entrepreneur and executive, Baggett has founded or co-founded no less than four successful companies.

He is the former president of Community Education Partners, a for-profit education company that provides dropout prevention and disciplinary alternative programs for charter schools in four states.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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I said:

Per ECA's site, included among their colleges is the Virgina College chain, at which students may pay $34,000 tuition to earn an associates degree--but VC makes no guarantees as to the transferability of their course credits to four-year universities.

Here is the new Knoxville-area Virginia College campus, located in the former Fountain City Kroger, on Broadway.

Did I mention Beasley matriculated from West Point and Vanderbilt School of Law?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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From Pittsburgh's City Paper, here are eight news stories to have run between August 2007 and January 2010 concerning problems at Clayton Academy, operated by Beasley's Community Education Partners.

(Skip first two marginally related stories in search list and begin reading with "Reporting Off" from January 2010.)

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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Related: "Gov. Scott Set to Hand Florida’s Prisons to Corporate America."

All 29 in 18 counties.

GEO (formerly Wackenhut) and Corrections Corporation of America donated nearly $1 million toward Scott's inauguration celebrations.

EricLykins's picture

10 Senate Republicans broke

10 Senate Republicans broke ranks on that and the bill was defeated.

BUT, around the time of that defeat, CCA sent out a letter to 48 states saying they had a quarter billion in CASH if anybody wanted to unload some prisons to cover budget shortfalls.

Physical requirements for facilities that would be eligible for purchase by the fund would include:
• A minimum rated occupancy of 1,000 beds;
• A structure age of no more than 25 years;
• A designation that the structure is suitable for immediate occupation or is already occupied by an inmate population; and
An assurance by the agency partner that the agency has sufficient inmate population to maintain a minimum 90 percent occupancy rate over the term of the contract.

from the CCA annual report:

We believe we have been successful in increasing the number of residents in our care and continue to pursue a number of initiatives intended to further increase our occupancy and revenue. Our competitive cost structure offers prospective customers a compelling option for incarceration.

Unsurpisingly, the incarceration rate doubled in the 1990s with the help of some familiar friends

Consequently, bills to lengthen prison sentences abound among ALEC model legislation and one ALEC staffer proudly claims that the organization “really took the forefront in promoting” incarceration during the 1990s.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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ACLU Challenges Corrections Corporation of America CEO to Public Debate About Prison Privatization

(See addl ACLU articles on prison privitazation linked at end of this article.)

EricLykins's picture

bad link

bad link

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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I linked previously in this thread:

Related: Look who's now on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA)--

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey today announced the appointment of Phil M. Baggett to the board of directors of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA).

An experienced entrepreneur and executive, Baggett has founded or co-founded no less than four successful companies.

He is the former president of Community Education Partners, a for-profit education company that provides dropout prevention and disciplinary alternative programs for charter schools in four states.

I can't tell if the companies below are also Beasley (nor was corporationwiki any help), BUT...

In Tennessee, I found Housing Corporation of America, which filed for incorporation in Tennessee on 10/19/98 BUT was actually formed in Utah on 6/6/88. It is now inactive in Tennessee.

In Utah, I found another Housing Corporation of America that appears to be the parent company to the Tennessee entity, since the Utah site says the Utah company was also formed on 6/6/88. The Utah company remains active.

I do note that the inactive Housing Corporation of America in Tennessee used as registered agent a company called C T Corporation System on Gay Street in Knoxville, which is the same registered agent Beasley's ongoing Corrections Corporation of America uses?

IF, IF, IF either the inactive Tennessee company or especially the still active Utah company is also Beasley, could this have anything to do with Phil Bagget, former prez of Beasley's Community Education Partners, being named to serve on the board of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency?

It's reasonable conjecture, I'd say?

Barker's picture

CT Corp.

I wouldn't read a whole lot into anyone's use of CT Corp. as a registered agent. That's what CT Corp. does. Probably half the local corporations I've researched use CT Corp. as their agent. Must be pretty good work, if you can get it.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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Agreed as to the relevance of the registered agent.

It is the case that the "era" in which Housing Corporation of America filed with TN is a fit (that is, someone founded it in '98. and Beasley founded both Infrastructure Corp of Amer and Comm Educ Partners in '97) and the "sound of the name" is comparable (that is, Beasley named so many companies "So-and-so Corporation of America").

But again, I suggested his link to Housing Corporation of America is "reasonable conjecture" because I haven't yet found his name actually attached to the company any place.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

link

Oops--just caught your heads up about my bad link, Eric.

Here it is again:

"ACLU Challenges Corrections Corporation of America CEO to Public Debate About Prison Privatization" (5/10/12)

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