“We’re asking the department to come up with a game plan – a sound, public policy planned approach to lower the number of people returning to prison and lower the prison population and crime rate.”
Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), February 7, 2011.
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) has become a political money force of tremendous proportions. CCPOA’s political clout has trapped California in a self-perpetuating cycle where locking up more people with longer sentences has become the only solution to crime. For decades, the 30,000-member union has worked tirelessly to see more prisons built, while sabotaging prisoner rehabilitation, education, and treatment programs. According to a PPIC poll, prisons garner less than 15 percent (support for higher taxes) across all parties, regions, and demographic groups in California. However, the state prison budget continues to grow. This relentless draining of General Fund resources away from social services and schools will not stop as long as policymakers continue to cave in to the prison guard lobby.
4 Things Every Californian Should Know About the CCPOA:
1. Fighting to build more cells, walls and towers. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the CCPOA, California has built 43 penal institutions since 1984, making it a global leader in prison construction. Comparatively, between 1852 and 1964, only 12 prisons were built in California. Over the course of the last 20 years the Department of Corrections has become the largest General Fund state agency, reflecting a budget growth of almost $7 billion between 1998 and 2009. 
2. The 3 Strikes Law has crippled our state. In 1994, the CCPOA sponsored Proposition 184, the Three Strikes law, which was only the beginning of their membership growth bonanza. The majority of the 4,000-plus people imprisoned under Three Strikes committed a minor, non-violent third strike. According to the California State Auditor, these non-violent third strikers will cost the state at least $4.8 billion over the next 25 years – almost $200 million per year.
3. Incarceration for profit: politicians kneel to the California Prison Lobby. In the aftermath of the Three Strikes Law, legislators and political office hopefuls alike began taking a highly popular tough-on-crime approach, especially during election season. The CCPOA, its subsidized crime victims groups, lobbyists and its members have contributed nearly $38 million to the California legislative and election process in the last decade, resulting in a prison system that costs the state more than public education does.
4. The CCPOA has opposed nearly every “treatment in lieu of incarceration” program proposed. No one has more to lose from lower recidivism rates and higher rehabilitation turnaround than the CCPOA. The Prison Guards have spent millions to defeat treatment-over-incarceration proposals like Proposition 36, 66 and 5, which have been proven to save taxpayers money while decreasing recidivism rates. The numbers never lie; out of the nearly $11 billion Corrections budget, 70% of it goes to pay salaries, overtime and benefits to the union and staff. Just 5% of the budget goes to education and vocational programs.[7 Many prison guards can make as much as $180,000 each year after overtime, while the average California teacher makes just $67,000 a year.
By Mike Dennis
 Californian’s and Their Government | Public Policy Institute of California | January 2010
 Crime and Punishment—California’s Conundrum/Behind the state’s prison boom | SFgate.com | December 31, 2006
 Corrections: Moving Forward| California Department of Corrections| 2009
 It’s Time to Reform Three Strikes | Calitics | February 23, 2011.
 Campaign Finance: Committee, Parties, Major Donors | California Secretary of State |1999-2010.
 Proposition 36: Five Years Later | Justice Policy | April 2006.
 NPR Radio Laura Sullivan on the CCPOA and Three Strikes | Free Lisa Connelly | 2009
 2400 Prison Guards made over $100,000 | San Diego Union-Tribune | February 28, 2006
 See how well your school district pays its teachers, superintendent | Sacramento Bee | January 31, 2011