Monday, May 10, 2010

There is little room for meaningful fiscal reform

Until there is meaningful discussion and debate on the California state budget and the formula for funding and allocation to Student Education verse the Prison+Correction System, there can be no meaningful reform.

Did you know that the cost of a single 50-year prison sentence in California is $2,450,000 ($2.45 million dollars per prisoner).

This amount could pay for 277 years of tuition at the University of California; 499 years of tuition at California State University; or 3,926 years of tuition at a Community College.

Since 1984, California has built 21 new prisons and only 4 new universities.

Until we have a meaningful and honest debate on the priorities of our society and how we allow a small number of labor unions to shape and dictate the debate towards their own agenda, there will never be true reform.

Did you know that the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), founded in 1957 is widely considered one of the most powerful political forces in California politics. CCPOA made the largest contribution to the No on 5 Campaign in 2008, contributing one million dollars. The CCPOA union members currently pay $79.87 per month to the union and as of 2002, the union had 31,000 members, at which time union dues totaled $21.9 million per year. Lobbying efforts and campaign contributions by the CCPOA have helped secure passage of numerous legislative bills favorable to union members, including bills that increase prison terms, member pay, and enforce current drug laws. The CCPOA takes the position that correctional officers perform an essential public service that puts their members in great danger, and strives for a safer California. CCPOA critics assert that the union has become too powerful in California politics, that it has used its power to unfair advantage, and that it has been an impediment to constructive debate and openness about the state of California prisons. The union has been criticized for the way it uses its relationship with crime victims, including its financing of two statewide victims' advocacy groups.

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