U.N.I.O.N.
United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect

California Budget Crisis



Cut Corrections - save billions - save the budget - save the people
 
 

It isn't as though people will really have to choose between having schools or financing public safety. The current criminal justice system has cost us billions and hasn't done one thing to reduce crime. The public will be no worse off if we tossed 70% of it. 

There are no statistics anywhere to prove that prisons, harsh laws such as executing the  mentally ill or anyone else, or Three Strikes have had even a minor impact on crime reduction. If statistics could be believed, crime is up. 

Our 6000 member group, United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect,  (UNION) has been warning that we would have a day of reckoning.  We sentenced thousands people to life for minor crimes ' under the Three Strikes Law. Do the math. The lifetime cost is nearly $1 million per inmate depending on their age when they entered prison. Multiply one million times thousands of inmates  and this adds up to billions of dollars. 

Reading the Gov. Davis' budget requires a wizard. Smoke and mirrors surround itemization for all the costs of our number one product: the human bondage industry. You will never learn the actual costs of City, State, Federal, County and lawsuit pay outs at first glance at the budget. 

Corrections is costing taxpayers far more than what is reflected in the budget. 

Costs are cleverly disguised over several budgets and almost all expenses could have been prevented if only the most basic management were in place. 

We have listed out news articles which detail a few of these cases. They total - $343,743,452 

With millions still pending as conditions in CA. prisons continue to shock the world. The breakdowns and supporting news items can be viewed here. 

 http://www.1union1.com/lawsuit_costs.htm

And many more lawsuits should be filed against a corrupt and unjust system that is broken and doing more harm than good for the people. 

Some other unseen costs of "criminal justice" include running the entire State Personnel Board which supervises tens of thousands of mostly overpaid employees of the CCPOA Guard's Union. This must total millions if not billions in administrative costs. 

Training of the guards at McGee Academy, A few years ago, they sent 24,000 back to training to teach them how not to shoot real bullets at inmates. 

Bullet-proofing  buses  cars of even lower level of state employees, (this must amount to millions) 

We must suspect the inflated prices of every state contract which are almost always higher than the market price. 

Some hospital prison beds cost upwards of $120,000 per day. When we turned the mentally ill out on the streets, they all went to prison and jail and are mishandled there at a staggering expense to taxpayers. 

A smarter solution would be to separate the mentally ill to locked facilities where they can receive healing instead of becoming sicker in harsh prison conditions and  frequently harming themselves and others. 

Release the elderly and medically ill, and those who are addicts needing rehabilitation.  Rehab could be an alternative sentence for at least 16,000 inmates.  Do the math on this one!  It is easy to make a strong case for the actual costs per inmate of nearer to $50,000. 

There are scores of lawyers on Attorney General Bill Lockyer's payroll, all their secretaries, court costs, office space, expenses and high salaries. Why does he need all these lawyers if state business were properly conducted? 

Lockyer had 54 before the electricity sham but he has added dozens since then we think...and all they do harass people and run up the tab. 

And expanding death row in the middle of a budget crunch when the majority of Californians polled in June, 2000 - 73% in fact -  said that they wanted to end death row. Executing the mentally ill is not only a sin, but very expensive and yet another good reason to kick Davis out of the Catholic Church and the human race. 

The California Department of Corrections cannot provide basic facilities or meet human needs in any manner.  Not medical care, sanitary conditions, adequate food, dental care or basic facilities, not even decent water at most facilities. 

People are coming out much sicker than before they were incarcerated both mentally and physically. The Center for Disease control released a report that 39% are being released with Hepatitis C. (this and another alarming report are online) .  Neglect imperils us all and does now lower the crime rate, quite the opposite. 

As the economy plummets and the poor are penalized, crime will certainly rise.  Locking up all our people for fairly minor crimes is costing the taxpayers dearly.  They are now forced to choose between schools and prisons. With the new rape laws coming into effect, the conveyor belt will bring even more costly life convictions. 

Some of the unseen costs, both fiscally and in human terms can be witnessed in these facts: 

Young mothers are forced on welfare when their husbands are incarcerated 

Tens of thousands of children end up in foster homes or the care of elderly grandparents who need state aid to support them.. 

People sell their homes to fight for their loved ones and lose all their life savings in legal battles that don't have a chance of winning. Extreme injustice in the courts and brick walls set in place with a prosecutorial attitude to convict regardless of guilt or innocence. These people end up financially and emotionally broken. 

Older people end up homeless giving all their assets to fight for their  children 

Parolees are sent back to the streets with $200 in their pockets and no hope of finding a job.  Employers usually won't hire someone with a record. The State could hire former inmates in forestry, roads, parks and this would do a great deal of good. Most are mentally or physically broken by the prison experience. They've picked up Hepatitis and other rampant disease in prison they're released disabled. 

The atmosphere of disease and psychological intimidation are so great in prison that any sentence to prison or jail is a potential death sentence. 

There is a $60 million lie in the prisoner food budget unless we're now going to feed the guards.  The budget last year was $141 million I believe, testimony of $2.45 per day was given before the Senate Rules Committee last June.  But the budget item says $200 million.  There has been no raise in the food budget for 15 years. It would be  a very healing, intelligent move to feed these mostly sick men and women well. That might save millions in lawsuits since there is almost no medical care in prisons and they worsen there due to neglect and abuse. 

So if we released 16,000 charged with possession move at least 18,000 mentally ill into unlocked healing facilities. The CCPOA isn't in the hospital business! They're not healers, they're punishers. There is no Hippocratic relationship between punishing and healing. 

Then minus other non violent offenders such as those arrested for stealing FOOD (an outrage), the frail elderly, and those who are terminally ill. 

Next throw out the 3 strikes law which has never worked. 

Cancel death row. The system is too corrupt for us to be killing people, even if God hadn't made a commandment specifically dealing with this matter. 

Close down San Quentin, the prison is old and decrepit, Sell the land it sits on for millions of dollars to offset some of the budget problem. 

Knock out Attorney General Bill Lockyer's staff,  Reducing the number of guards will knock out much of the costs of training at McGee Academy.  Stop bullet proofing cars for nearly every level of state employee and politicians.  Do a better job to avoid $350 million in prison and jail mismanagement, neglect and brutality lawsuits, eliminate most of the State Personnel Board after the guards are fired, closing most of the bloodhouses down after emptying them out  because of their decrepit facilities. 

Reducing the incarcerated total by 70%, which is about the number inside for non violent crimes. 

That would put us back where we were before Wilson decided to run for president on a tough on crime platform.  People forget that less than 30% are imprisoned for a violent crime and many 
of them are severely mentally ill and need hospitals. 

Get CDC out of the mental health business, end death row. 

Provide more human support and after school activities, education for our young people.  This is an investment in our present and our future which greatly contributes to the public safety. 

This totals billions of dollars spread across many budgets. 

The people would all be better off for it. And if you asked informed citizens if they agree with these cuts, you will find those in the helping professions think them wise. 

A good investment in our future and a place where Democrats and Republicans could really come together is to impeach Davis and knock out or at least put in a place where they can't hurt anyone legislative dinosaurs such as Ross Johnson and Pete Knight. 

 The root of crime is poverty.  The poor do not know how to organize and buy off the governor and most of the legislators. We are coming to protest prison conditions and urge the early release of inmates on March 13, 2003, North Side of the Capital in Sacramento from 8 am to 1 pm 

What is needed is an ounce of prevention, an ounce of common sense, and legislators who are smart on crime for a change. 

B. Cayenne Bird, Journalist 
Volunteer UNION Director 
 http://www.1union1.com



Subj:    Budget Update
Date:    1/30/2003 6:08:31 PM Pacific Standard Time 
From:     Don.Perata@SEN.CA.GOV
Sent from the Internet (Details) 
 

Today, the Senate voted on the first phase of the state budget: the governor's proposed current year cuts.  These budget reductions address the drop in state revenue that has occurred since last 
fall. 

The governor proposed to cut the three largest areas of the budget: health, education, and higher education.  I view funding for education, higher education, and programs such as nursing homes, 
children's health care, funding for mental health and the disabled, emergency rooms and cancer 
research as among the highest priorities. These programs comprise more than 81% of the state budget.  K-12 education, alone, accounts for 43% of state spending this year after the governor's proposed cuts. 

In an effort to protect education and health care, the senate decided first to cut other programs and services.  The most obvious choice  and one that the governor chose to ignore was corrections.   We have attempted to make cuts to curb runaway prison spending while not compromising public safety. 

While California ranks 49th in the nation in the number of government employees per capita, the governor has further trimmed staffing in state departments to bare-bones levels, and proposed 
elimination of nearly every outreach and education program funded by the state's general fund. 

The Senate rejected the governor's proposals to limit low-income health care to those at 61% of the federal poverty level and to reduce provider rates under Medi-Cal by another 10% -- a move that would dismantle the low-income health care and nursing home system.  We will reject proposals to eliminate low-income dental care, prosthetic limbs and diabetes tests for the elderly and infirm, and to eliminate cancer research funding.  We will reject the elimination of brown bag lunches for low-income seniors, and cuts in grants to the elderly, blind, and disabled. 

We rejected a proposal to cut grant funding to libraries by 50%, and we worked with teachers and school boards to shield education from nearly all of the governor's proposed cuts.  The latter is one of the most important, but also most difficult undertakings.  Education is the largest section of the budget, and funding is constitutionally tied to the ebbs and flows of state's general fund. 

I will continue to keep you updated on our progress toward finding a solution to the state's budget predicament. 

As always, I value your input. 



February 15, 2003 

Dear editor, 

Most Californians could probably care less about our prison system or the treatment of our 160,000 prisoners. Ok fine, but do you know how much this massive prison system cost us. Each inmate cost about 27,000 dollars each year to incarcerate. Of the over 5  billion dollar cost to the public, almost half goes to pay the guards!. You can see the interest the guards have in keeping as many as they can in prison? What the department of corrections has done to cut the budget is to cut food and medical treatment to the prisoners. You say so what? 

Well unhealthy prisoners wind up with a higher cost to take care of later. The use of inmates with hepatitis working in the kitchens and laundry can help spread disease and it cost even more to treat these inmates. The refusal to look at alternative punishment other than prison is costing you lot's! They will increase your children's class size and lay off teachers but defend hiring more over paid prison guards! 

The Department of corrections even put on a "dog and pony show " for the media at San Quentin to drum up support for spending 220 million more plus staffing for a new death row! Guess they never thought about releasing non violent offenders and moving death row to a more modern prison? We have 33 to choose from. What do voters want prisons or schools? 

Frank Courser Escondido, Ca. 



 http://www2.ocregister.com/ocrweb/ocr/article.do?id=27946

Sunday, March 2, 2003 

Davis budget-cutting proposals to spare prisons 
Governor says state won't shrink from duty to protect residents from crime. 
By ALEXA H. BLUTH 
The Associated Press 

SACRAMENTO As he tries to erase a $34.6 billion budget deficit, Gov. Gray Davis has proposed cutting an average 9 percent from nearly every state department - except from the Department of Corrections. 

The Democratic governor, who built a "tough on crime" reputation and whose largest political contributors include the prison guards union, essentially spared prisons from the pain of helping close the deficit in his $96.4 billion plan for the 2003-04 budget. 

"It's going to be much easier for everyone across the board to tighten their belt if they think it is going to be an equitable tightening," said Assembly Public Safety Chairman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. 

The debate over cutting prisons and public-safety budgets raises charged issues, including post-Sept. 11 security, an early release bill the Legislature has sent Davis and the recent commutation by Illinois Gov. George Ryan of the sentences of all 167 death-row prisoners in his state. 

Davis has received more than $3 million in campaign contributions from the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. The donations emerged as part of continuing controversy over Davis' fund-raising after he approved a contract likely to bring union members a 37 percent raise over five years. 

Defending his decision to spare prisons from massive budget cuts, Davis said it was protecting public safety and "we have a high obligation to protect the citizens against violent offenders." 

Davis said prison guard and corrections employees will be included in his call to cut $470 million from the state payroll. In December, Davis directed the state personnel department to reopen contract negotiations with the unions representing all state workers. 

"Obviously, it takes two to renegotiate, but if they don't renegotiate them, we'll institute layoffs," Davis said. 

Davis, however, has said he opposes a strategy used by other states and recommended by the Legislature to fill budget holes: the early release of some prisoners. 

A bill that would cut the sentences of some "first strike" felons by an average of 10 to 30 days and would save the state about $70 million is sitting on his desk awaiting his signature. Some of the convicts, while not deemed "violent" under the state Penal Code, are nonetheless in prison for attempted carjacking and some forms of assault. There is little indication Davis will budge. 

"I believe prisoners should pay their obligation to society," Davis said last month. 

Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton enraged prosecutors by recently allowing hundreds of low-level felons to leave jails and prisons early as part of a plan to fill a corrections shortfall. And proposals to release some inmates early, pare down parole periods or reject the return of criminals nabbed in other states have emerged in Washington state, Connecticut, Oregon, Nevada and Oklahoma. 

In California, there has been a long-running debate over incarceration of low-level criminals and the "three strikes" law. During the boom times of the 1990s, California passed several anti-crime laws, and the state's prison population since has swelled to more than 160,000. 

Of those prisoners, 61 percent are considered nonviolent offenders, and about 670 prisoners are 65-69 years old, while about 500 are older than 70, prison officials said. 

Davis also stirred criticism by including in his budget $220 million to build a new death row at California's historic San Quentin prison. The facility would hold as many as 1,000 prisoners awaiting execution, allowing for a big expansion from the state's death row of 603, officials said. 

Ten inmates have been executed since California resumed the death penalty in 1977. Six prisoners have been executed since Davis took office in 1999. Twenty-two of the condemned have died of natural causes. 

Aides have said Davis has no intention of following Ryan's lead. 

 


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