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Undue Influence of California's Prison Guards' Union: California's Correctional-Industrial Complex

NCJ Number
V Schiraldi
Date Published
4 pages
Recently passed legislation in California to deal with rising crime rates will cost taxpayers over $500 million a year, add over 21,000 offenders to the State's already overcrowded prison system, and increase the size and influence of the prison guards union.
The Three Strikes law and legislation mandating life sentences for certain first-time sex offenders and reduced good time allowances for specified offenders will require the construction of nearly 90 prisons. A consequence of the increase in incarceration will be an associated growth in the size and influence of the California Correctional Peace Officer's Association (CCPOA), the prison guards union. In 1992, the CCPOA contributed over $1 million to various political candidates and actively promoted the victims movement in California. The CCPOA also lobbied aggressively and successfully to increase the annual salary of prison guards from $14,400 in 1980 to $44,000 in 1994. Since 1984, California has added more correctional employees to the State's role than all other State employees combined. The author concludes that California is increasing its funding for corrections at the expense of other budget items, particularly higher education. 1 figure