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Throwing Money At Prisons

March 25, 2010

GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman appears to be a bit out of step with Californians. Yesterday, she said that California should build more prisons to relieve the overloaded ones that already exist. Also yesterday, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released a poll showing that prisons was one of only two departments that Californians would like to see cut (to be fair, the public wants to have its cake and eat it too). Whitman said that she would pay for the prisons by cutting in other departments. Cutting state parks entirely, the only other department that Californians supported cutting, would save less than $200 million, with cost repercussions such as lost tourism revenue, security at closed parks and potential lawsuits possibly eliminating those savings. The comments will presumably play well with the prison guards union but I’d lean towards sentencing reform as the way to reduce prison costs.

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