With an estimated 35 Billion (that's a illion with a "B") budget deficit looming over the state of California, Gov. Gray Davis has been forced to slash just about every conceivable program in existence to meet the stateís constitutionally mandated balanced budget requirement. Every program regardless of merit, from schools, to roads, to agricultural advertising campaigns in Central Africa will share the pain. Every program that is, except the Department of Corrections.
Most states, when faced with a massive deficits, resort to paroling low grade, non-violent felons in order to maintain the most basic level of funding for critical programs, figuring it is better to let out some harmless drug users than let some crippled orphans starve. But not so with Governor Davis, where he actually increased funding in the Department of Corrections in order to build more prisons, while slashing aid everywhere else. That's right, he wants to build more prisons. What kind of leadership is that? The State of California already has the one of the highest incarceration rates in the country with the highest incarceration rate in the "free" world. And one of the worst recidivism rates in all of human history.
So instead of figuring out how to keep people out of prison, which is not only cheaper, but far more humane, Davis is quite happy to just build more prisons.
Which is strange for a liberal. (Not that I think of Davis as a liberal anymore.)
But not so strange if you look at where the money comes to fund his election campaigns. The biggest monetary contributor to Davis is the California Prison Guard Union. So for an investment of some 3 million dollars, the prison guards are the only state employees not worried about a salary cut next year, and they get to staff a new prison.
Which all smacks of corruption and vote buying. As far as Iím concerned, Davis only needs to add enough money to the Department of Corrections to build one new prison cell next year... his.