CoreCivic, Inc. (NYSE: CXW) (the Company) today released its 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report detailing its steadfast response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the third annual report issued by the Company since 2019.
The report illustrates how the company worked to keep people safe while finding innovative ways to carry out life changing programming that equips individuals to succeed after incarceration. It shows the resiliency of front line professionals who worked tirelessly to protect human life while adapting to safe alternatives to in-person reentry programming. It also highlights the Company's progress in protecting the environment and promoting excellence in its corporate governance.
“Like any enterprise worth its salt, we change to get better,” said Damon Hininger, president and chief executive officer. “We believe in constantly striving to be a better company and to find ways to make the most difference for the people we care for and our country as a whole. I could not be more proud of our team of prepared, energetic and always-eager-to-improve reentry professionals who introduced safe and socially-distanced alternative programming while conforming to evidence-based best practices.”
The 40-page document’s release marks two years since the Company broke ground with the industry’s first ESG report. Previous reports documented substantial progress toward CoreCivic’s first-ever industry initiative to set and achieve five-year reentry goals, an effort that was completed in 2019. The 2020 report defines the Company’s continued commitment to evidence-based practices for reentry, informing future goals and enabling individualized interventions based on a person’s specific needs and their risk of future involvement in the justice system.
While CoreCivic was forced to temporarily suspend some in-person reentry services in 2020 due to COVID-19, limiting its ability to deliver programming at the level it normally would, the Company laid the groundwork for a new, more illuminating approach to reentry. The new approach will continue to set goals for program delivery, which will be disclosed in future reports. However, it will also measure and track performance tied to effective outcomes for individuals in the reentry process, rather than using program completion rates alone.
The report also outlines the Company’s pandemic response, illustrating how CoreCivic’s long-standing infectious disease management plans were adapted to the unique needs of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Company’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated early in the pandemic and continues to operate 24/7 with state-of-the-art software to track and monitor developments in real time. A special Coronavirus Response Committee (CRC) was also assembled, including the Company’s chief medical officer, to manage response efforts and ensure alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. The Company also continually evaluated and adapted supply chains to ensure adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) companywide.
“While any loss of human life carries incalculable costs that millions of families around the world have felt during this crisis, I am grateful for the collective efforts of our facility leaders and staff who worked tirelessly to protect lives over the past year,” Hininger said. “From nurses and correctional officers to supply chain analysts, we put the right people in the right places, and their efforts were nothing short of heroic.”
The report cites findings by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) that contractor-operated U.S. Marshals Service facilities like those operated by CoreCivic were safer, more accountable and more responsive in mitigating risk from COVID-19 than publicly operated facilities.
Other topics covered in the report include:
- Development of 2021 human rights goals, which include implementation of a new human rights policy, facility-level risk assessments and delivery of training to more than 95% of employees
- Work to accelerate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts, including the establishment of a DEI Council and Board-level DEI Committee, conscious inclusion training for leaders, and a comprehensive culture survey to gauge areas for improvement
- Environmental sustainability practices and goals, including smart water controls, LED retrofit projects and green design and operations techniques to reduce the Company’s carbon footprint
- Community support efforts, through which CoreCivic contributed more than $2.7 million to organizations working with formerly incarcerated people, victims of crime, underserved youth and those impacted by the pandemic
- Policy advocacy for state and federal legislation that removes barriers to reentry for justice-involved individuals and reduces recidivism. The Company successfully advocated for, among other measures, restoring Pell Grants, voting rights and expungement opportunities for formerly incarcerated people
- Advocating for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to have states cap intrastate Inmate Telephone Services rates to better enable families to stay in contact with incarcerated loved ones