Thomas W. Beasley

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For the American football player, see Tom Beasley.

Thomas W. Beasley
BornJanuary 8, 1943
EducationSmith County High School
Alma mater United States Military Academy
Vanderbilt University Law School
Occupation Private prisons, lawyer, political activist, businessman
Known forCo-founder of Corrections Corporation of America
Spouse(s)Wendy Williams
Parent(s)Lewis Beasley
Elizabeth Beasley

Thomas W. Beasley (a.k.a. Tom Beasley) (born 1943) is an American lawyer, political activist and businessman based in Tennessee. He served as the chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.

Tennessee Republican Party

The Tennessee Republican Party (TRP) is the affiliate of the United States Republican Party in Tennessee. It is often called the Tennessee Grand Old Party or the TNGOP.


In 1983 he was a co-founder of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a private prison management company. He served as its president and chief executive officer from 1983 to 1987, and as its chairman from 1987 to 1994. As of 2015, it has become the largest prison management company in the United States.

Early life

Thomas W. Beasley was born on January 8, 1943 on a farm owned by his family from the late 1790s in Smith County, Tennessee. [1] [2]

Smith County, Tennessee U.S. county in Tennessee

Smith County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 19,166. In the section known as Middle Tennessee, its county seat is Carthage. The county was organized in 1799 and is named for Daniel Smith, a Revolutionary War veteran who made the first map of Tennessee and served as a United States senator.

He was educated at the Smith County High School in Carthage, Tennessee. [1] He graduated from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York in 1966. [1] [2] He served in the United States Army in Vietnam, the Panama Canal, and Nicaragua. [2] He was awarded a Silver Star and two Bronze Stars. [2]

Carthage, Tennessee Town in Tennessee, United States

Carthage is a town in and the county seat of Smith County, Tennessee, United States; it is part of the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,306 at the 2010 census. It is located on the Cumberland River, which was important to its early development. It is likely best known as the hometown of former Vice President and Senator Al Gore of the Democratic Party and his father, Senator Albert Gore, Sr. The younger Gore announced his 1988 and 2000 presidential bids, as well as his 1992 vice-presidential bid, from the steps of the Smith County Courthouse.

United States Military Academy U.S. Armys federal service academy in West Point, New York

The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point, Army, Army West Point, The Academy, or simply The Point, is a four-year federal service academy in West Point, New York. It was originally established as a fort that sits on strategic high ground overlooking the Hudson River with a scenic view, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. It is one of the five U.S. service academies.

West Point, New York CDP in New York, United States

West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United States. Located on the Hudson River in New York, West Point was identified by General George Washington as the most important strategic position in America during the American Revolution. Until January 1778, West Point was not occupied by the military. On January 27, 1778, Brigadier General Samuel Holden Parsons and his brigade crossed the ice on the Hudson River and climbed to the plain on West Point and from that day to the present, West Point has been occupied by the United States Army. It comprises approximately 16,000 acres (6,500 ha) including the campus of the United States Military Academy, which is commonly called "West Point".

Beasley returned to graduate school after the military. He received a Juris Doctor degree from the Vanderbilt University Law School in 1973. [2] [3] While in law school, he rented a garage apartment from Lamar Alexander. [4] His friend later served as the 45th Governor of Tennessee from 1979 to 1987 and now serves as a United States Senator from Tennessee. [4]

Vanderbilt University Law School

Vanderbilt University Law School is a graduate school of Vanderbilt University. Established in 1874, it is one of the oldest law schools in the southern United States. Vanderbilt Law School has consistently ranked among the top 20 law schools in the nation. It is ranked 12th on Above the Law's 2018 Top Law School Rankings and 18th in the 2020 edition of U.S. News & World Report.

A garage apartment is an apartment built within the walls of, or on top of, the garage of a house. The garage may be attached or a separate building from the main house, but will have a separate entrance and may or may not have a communicating door to the main house. A garage apartment is one type of "accessory dwelling unit" or ADU, a term used by architects, urban planners and in zoning ordinances to identify apartments smaller than the main dwelling on one lot or parcel of land. Other examples of ADU's include granny flats, English basements, mother-in-law suites, and auxiliary units.

Lamar Alexander United States Senator from Tennessee

Andrew Lamar Alexander Jr. is an American politician who is currently serving as the senior United States Senator from Tennessee, a seat he has held since 2003. A member of the Republican Party, he also was the 45th governor of Tennessee from 1979 to 1987 and the 5th United States Secretary of Education from 1991 to 1993.


Beasley worked as a lawyer for the law firm White, Regen, Burch, and Beasley from 1973 to 1977. [1]

He served as the chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 1977 to 1981. [1] [5] Beasley is credited with getting Robin Beard elected to the United States House of Representatives. [1]

Beasley served the chairman of Community Education Partners. [1] He served on the board of directors of the Education Corporation of America and the Horizon Resources Group. [1] He is a member of the American Bar Association and the American Correctional Association. [1]

Corrections Corporation of America

In the early 1980s, Beasely and his former roommate, Nashville lawyer, businessman and Republican presidential fund-raiser for Reagan, Robert Crants [6] [7] :128 met an executive of the Magic Stove Company who "said he thought it would be a heck of a venture for a young man: To solve the prison problem and make a lot of money at the same time" (CCA Source 2003). On January 28, 1983, Crants, Beasley, who was then Tennessee Republican chairman [7] :72 and T. Don Hutto founded Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison management company. [6] [7] :128 [4] [8] :81-82 CCA received initial investments from Jack C. Massey, the founder of Hospital Corporation of America, Vanderbilt University, the Tennessee Valley Authority. [9] [10] Beasley served as its president and chief executive officer from 1983 to 1987, and as its chairman from 1987 to 1994. [1]

In 2000, he was appointed as the interim chief executive officer of CCA and Prison Realty Trust, as the latter firm merged with CCA. [11] In the early 21st century, CCA had become the largest private prison management company in the United States. By 2016, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) along with Geo Group were running "more than 170 prisons and detention centres". CCA's revenues in 2015 were $1.79 billion. [12]


Beasley served on the Tennessee Board of Regents as well as on the board of trustees of Cumberland University, a private university in Lebanon, Tennessee. [1] In 1997, Beasley endowed the Thomas W. Beasley Scholarship at the Vanderbilt University Law School for United States Army veterans. [2] In 2006, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the law school. [2] [3] The Tom 'Wish' Beasley/Alumni Sports Center at Smith County High School is named in his honor. [1]

Beasley served on the boards of trustees of the Tennessee Nature Conservancy and Leadership Nashville. [1] He is a former member of the Nashville Rotary Club. [1] In 2011, the State of Tennessee passed Resolution 248 in his honor. [1]

Personal life

He married Wendy Williams on December 29, 1973. [1] They have three children Apple, Joanie, and Eric Beasley. [1]

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CoreCivic, formerly the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), is a company that owns and manages private prisons and detention centers and operates others on a concession basis. Co-founded in 1983 in Nashville, Tennessee by Thomas W. Beasley, Robert Crants, and T. Don Hutto, it received investments from the Tennessee Valley Authority, Vanderbilt University, and Jack C. Massey, the founder of Hospital Corporation of America.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Bill Haslam, State of Tennessee House Joint Resolution No. 248 Archived 2016-03-06 at the Wayback Machine , April 21, 2011
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Flynns, Beasley honored by law school", Vanderbilt Register, May 22, 2006
  3. 1 2 Vanderbilt Law School: Distinguished Award Recipients
  4. 1 2 3 Wray, Harmon L., Jr. (1986). "Cells for Sale". Southern Changes. Southern Regional Council. 8 (3): 3–6. Retrieved January 25, 2016. Thanks to effective lobbying by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the CCA bid was tabled last year by the Democratically-controlled state legislature. The action came during a special session called for the prison crisis by Republican governor Lamar Alexander, a CCA supporter who once rented a garage apartment to law student Tom Beasley. Alexander has spent seven years overseeing an unconstitutional prison system but has never set foot inside one of his state's prisons.
  5. Matt Pulle, "Elephant in the Room: At only 39, GOP golden boy Gus Puryear is a Bush judicial appointee, but congressional Democrats are targeting his inexperience and deep Republican ties:, Nashville Scene, March 6, 2008
  6. 1 2 Karin Miller (January 4, 1998), Doctor Crants is no doctor -- he's America's private prison warden, South Coast Today
  7. 1 2 3 Byron Eugene Price (2006). Merchandizing Prisoners: Who Really Pays for Prison Privatization?. ISBN   0275987388. prison privatization continues to be one of the most controversial issues in public policy. Although sold to the public as a cost-saving measure, the privatization of prisons has not only led to significant changes in policy making and the management of prisons, but has also generated widespread concern that incarceration has become a profit-making industry. That, in turn, strengthens calls for policies on mandatory-minimum sentencing that keep the prison industry growing. After all, in order to be successful business enterprises, prisons will need occupants.
  8. Quade, Vicki (November 1983). "Jail Business: Private firm breaks in". American Bar Association Journal. Vol. 69 no. 11. pp. 1611–1612. JSTOR   20756517.
  9. Harmon L. Wray, Jr. (1989). "Cells for Sale". Southern Changes: The Journal of the Southern Regional Council . 8 (3). Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  10. Donna Selman and Paul Leighton (2010). Punishment for Sale: Private Prisons, Big Business, and the Incarceration Binge. New York City: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  11. CEO of Prison Realty Trust terminated, Nashville Business Journal, July 31, 2000
  12. Rupert Neate (June 16, 2016), Welcome to Jail Inc: how private companies make money off US prisons, Austin, Texas: The Guardian , retrieved February 13, 2017, In a bid to cut costs, more state prisons and county jails are adding healthcare to the growing list of services that are outsourced to for-profit companies