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PLN associate editor Alex Friedmann to appear on CNBC program on private prisons

Nashville Business Journal, Jan. 1, 2011.
PLN associate editor Alex Friedmann to appear on CNBC program on private prisons - Nashville Business Journal 2011

CNBC documentary to focus on CCA, prison industry

Nashville Business Journal by Brian Reisinger, Staff Reporter

Date: Monday, October 17, 2011, 2:04pm CDT

Brian Reisinger
Staff Reporter - Nashville Business Journal

Let me know if this tagline draws you in: "This is the story of a dangerous business."

Those are the first words of a trailer on the private prison industry — including Nashville’s Corrections Corp. of America (NYSE: CXW) — set to air Tuesday entitled "Billions Behind Bars." The CNBC documentary says it will go behind the scenes in a multi-billion-dollar industry. One that Nashville, of course, is familiar with.

So the big question, of course, is how this "dangerous business" will come out looking. Of course there’s the physical danger of prison facilities, but there’s also the controversial nature of the private prison industry in general and the documentary shows no signs of pulling punches.

A CCA spokesman said the company was reserving comment until the documentary airs. The trailer, meanwhile, provides various clues: dramatic prison scenes, CCA’s flag waving in the wind, images of Wall Street and a range of interviews. And for those who have followed the controversy surrounding the industry, there will likely be some familiar faces.

The first interview previewed in the trailer, for example, is Alex Friedman, a Nashville activist who argues it is inappropriate for a company that strives for profit to be responsible for corrections. CCA counters that it strives to treat inmates humanely, provides rehabilitation programs and doesn’t lobby in any manner for legislation affecting incarceration levels.

CCA has over the years seen a range of coverage — from controversy to industry analysis to its community efforts. The Nashville Business Journal profiled CEO Damon Hininger nearly one year ago as one of 11 people to watch in 2011.

CNBC will first run the documentary at 8 p.m., and it will re-air several times after that.