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AFP California Condemns Supreme Court Prison Ruling

May 24, 2011 J

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AFP California Condemns Supreme Court Prison Ruling



“This situation was caused by prioritizing special interests above the safety of law-abiding citizens.”

Grassroots taxpayer advocacy organization Americans for Prosperity California condemned the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Plata, which compels California to release some 46,000 inmates from state prisons.

“This is a shocking and blatantly dangerous decision,” explained State Chairman Peter Foy. “Releasing tens of thousands of criminals into our streets will inevitably lead to the victimization of innocent citizens who believed the exorbitant taxes they pay would actually be used to protect them from evildoers.”

Shortly after the ruling was announced, Governor Jerry Brown stated that in order to comply with the ruling, “We must now secure full and constitutionally guaranteed funding,” referring to his plan to increase taxes.

“Governor Brown is making light of this dangerous situation by turning it into a political opportunity to campaign for higher taxes,” stated State Director David Spady. “This is the kind of crass, reckless politicking that angers and disgusts citizens.”

“This isn’t an issue of money,” explained Spady. “This is about the appalling lack of leadership in California. If spending priorities were based on what’s best for our state, building prisons to lock up criminals would be at the top. California already pays $47,000 per inmate—almost three times the $18,000 a state like Texas pays. California has 142,000 inmates, which is below the average per capita rate in other states. In fact, California’s incarceration rate is 17th out of all the states. If state leaders had built prisons, there would be more than enough room to keep these criminals off the streets. ”

Last month Governor Brown agreed to a labor contract with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association that gives prison guards unlimited vacation day payouts upon retirement or leaving their job. Currently, the average guard cashes out 19 weeks of vacation, costing the state $600 million. Under the new agreement, that number could reach billions of dollars.

“Taxpayers should be outraged that Governor Brown has placed a higher value on the benefits and pensions of prison guards than the safety of his constituents,” stated Spady. “Is it a coincidence that the prison guards received such a great deal after they spent $2 million helping elect Jerry Brown? This situation was caused by prioritizing special interests above the safety of law-abiding citizens.”

“Justice Antonin Scalia spoke the truth in his dissent when he warned, ‘terrible things are sure to happen as a consequence of this outrageous order,’” stated Foy. “But the most terrible aspect of all this is that it could have been avoided had California’s elected leaders taken seriously their responsibilities to protect the public, not special interest groups.”

To interview Peter Foy or David Spady, contact Meredith Turney: (805) 229-1117.

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