POV: California's Prison Blues - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

POV: California's Prison Blues

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FOX 11 Vice President & General Manager Kevin Hale asks the question: Is the high cost of California's prison system cheating our kids out of a better education?

You can watch the full video of the editorial in the media player... and share your comments on the topic below the editorial transcript.

Full Editorial Text:

When it comes to our prison system, California is one big spender.

We pay about 50-thousand per prisoner annually, ranking us near the top of all fifty states. In contrast, we spend only eight thousand per student, putting us squarely near the bottom at number forty-three. And a new legal ruling is forcing the state to deal with overcrowded prisons, but little’s being done about our overcrowded schools.

So just how did our priorities get so out of whack?

Why don’t we ask Governor Brown.

Instead of cutting the prison budget, he gave the prison guards a raise and more perks.

Some say it’s payback: The California Correctional Peace Officers Association poured two million dollars into his recent campaign. And despite the fact Brown was also endorsed by the teacher's unions, their contribution didn't translate into more money for teachers.

But here’s something you should know: states such as Texas have had tremendous success with partially privatizing the prison system, saving more than a billion dollars in prison costs. At least Texas has the option to put some of the money it's saving toward education.

If California embraced the Texas model, we could save this kind of money, too. And maybe if we re-routed that money toward education, it could go along way to solving the urgent budget crisis our schools are facing and to ease overcrowding.

The reality is, any attempts to further privatize the prison system here in California have been shot down by the prison guard's union.

But Assemblyman Tim Donnelly is doing something about it. He's planning to introduce legislation to move us toward privatizing California's prison system as quickly as possible, and I say, the sooner the better.

Thanks for listening.

 

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