Thomas W. Beasley
|January 8, 1943
Dixon Springs, Tennessee, U.S.
|Smith County High School
| United States Military Academy
Vanderbilt University Law School
|Private prisons, lawyer, political activist, businessman
|Co-founder of Corrections Corporation of America
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.
In 1983 he was a co-founder of CoreCivic, formerly 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.
Thomas W. Beasley was born on January 8, 1943, on a farm owned by his family from the late 1790s in Smith County, Tennessee.
He was educated at the Smith County High School in Carthage, Tennessee.He graduated from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York in 1966. He served in the United States Army in Vietnam, the Panama Canal, and Nicaragua. He was awarded a Silver Star and two Bronze Stars.
Beasley returned to graduate school after the military. He received a Juris Doctor degree from the Vanderbilt University Law School in 1973.While in law school, he rented a garage apartment from future Tennessee governor and U.S. senator Lamar Alexander. As governor, Alexander supported CCA's takeover of the Tennessee prison system and was also among the top recipients of CCA campaign donations.
Beasley worked as a lawyer for the law firm White, Regen, Burch, and Beasley from 1973 to 1977.
He served as the chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 1977 to 1981.Beasley is credited with getting Robin Beard elected to the United States House of Representatives.
Beasley served the chairman of Community Education Partners.He served on the board of directors of the Education Corporation of America and the Horizon Resources Group. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the American Correctional Association.
In the early 1980s, Beasley and his former roommate, Nashville lawyer, businessman and Republican presidential fund-raiser for Reagan, Robert Crants : 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 : 72 and T. Don Hutto founded Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison management company. : 128 : 81–82 CCA received initial investments from Jack C. Massey, the founder of Hospital Corporation of America, Vanderbilt University, the Tennessee Valley Authority. Beasley served as its president and chief executive officer from 1983 to 1987, and as its chairman from 1987 to 1994.
In 2000, he was appointed as the interim chief executive officer of CCA and Prison Realty Trust, as the latter firm merged with CCA.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.
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.In 1997, Beasley endowed the Thomas W. Beasley Scholarship at the Vanderbilt University Law School for United States Army veterans. In 2006, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the law school. The Tom 'Wish' Beasley/Alumni Sports Center at Smith County High School is named in his honor.
Beasley served on the boards of trustees of the Tennessee Nature Conservancy and Leadership Nashville.He is a former member of the Nashville Rotary Club. In 2011, the State of Tennessee passed Resolution 248 in his honor.
He married Wendy Williams on December 29, 1973.They have three children Jeb, Matt, and Kristin Beasley.
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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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